Walking around the Campus is an interesting experience. It's located at the far end of the San Francisco bay with lots of trails for hiking and jogging. On one of the beautifully clear days, many folks keep thinking that it might be fun to go out and enjoy being outside.
Of course, we don't. I mean sure the sun is bright and shiny and all, but one of us got this really bad sun burn and...well, never mind, let's just say there's another reason that our various significant others have considered getting us vitamin A booster shots: we love what we're doing.
No doubt about it, search is pretty darn cool.
Despite what you may have read in some news sources, Yahoo! Search does indeed offer dictionary definitions and a search line calculator. Granted, we had the calculator tool for a while if you count the one that's in AllTheWeb, but it took a while to move it to the main search box. More than likely it was stuck in a moving box next to one of those carved coconut monkeys we bought on vacation in Orlando, but I digress.
To be honest, it's easy to miss because we never really blow a big horn about a lot of the things we have. Take, for instance, some of the hidden search tricks we can do. Most folks probably know about the stuff like you can search for content in specific file types (including Microsoft Powerpoint, and XML), and you probably know most of the shortcuts we're constantly adding to, but there are a few others that, well, we've been sorta keeping to ourselves.
One is the "s:" shortcut in Yahoo! Messenger. Let's say you're on line with your Dad who is planning on doing some shop work. He's got an old desk of yours that he wants to redo but, since you were a messy child, it's currently coated in stain resistant, latex paint. He's worried that sanding might be a problem. After a bit of discussion you decide to do some research, and enter in "s:latex remover" into the conversation window and you both get to see a number of results that might be helpful.
Another semi-hidden treasure we offer is the inurl: prefix. This is particularly useful if you want to search for something which happens to be on a shared server. A good example is ibiblio.org (previously known as sunsite). This is a fantastic resource loaded with all sorts of different goodies, one of which is a herbal reference site (so we can find a nice anti-rickets supplement). By specifying a search like: site:ibiblio.org inurl:herbmed rickets we get a bunch of articles detailing what we're looking for. And a mental note to stop by the cafe and pick up a few oranges.
No, none of these are perfect. Mostly because "perfect" depends entirely on the perception of the user. And for us, we're never really satisfied. There's always one new cool thing we'll try and add in because it's something we found pretty useful, and we'll keep plugging away until we think it's better.
Sure, we may be inside more often than we should, but it's mighty satisfying to walk out at the end of the day and take a deep breath knowing that we're doing something pretty cool, and give someone another tool to get to the info they want.