Two Steps to Better Search Results

As I mentioned in a previous article, people are often confused as to what is and is not “searching”. But even when they know they’re searching, they often give up in frustration when they don’t find what they want.

Searching effectively is the key to unlocking the vast amount of information available to us on the internet. Unfortunately, searching well is a bit of mystical art.

While advanced stuff you can do with most search engines (like Google or Bing or others) is pretty impressive, you don’t need to be a “search engine jockey” to get better search results.

I want to share the two mistakes I see people making most often. I’ll also share a two-step approach to getting better search results that I’m convinced will get you what you’re looking for well over 80% of the time (assuming what you’re looking for exists, of course 🙂 ).

Read moreTwo Steps to Better Search Results

Where Do Downloads Go?

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When I download files like ebooks off the internet, I can never find them. Where do they go on my computer?

It depends on how you download. Typically they go into your “Downloads” or  “My Documents” folder, so we’ll look at how best to check that.

But it’s also possible that they went into the same folder as the last download. We’ll look at why, and how to fix it as well.

There’s another place that downloads often end up that’s kind of dangerous, as it gets “cleaned up” every so often – meaning you could eventually lose your download. We’ll learn how to avoid that.

And we’ll look at how to find your file, regardless of where it landed.

Read moreWhere Do Downloads Go?

Searching precisely

In a previous article I discussed my two-step approach to search: start broad, and then narrow your results.

In this article I’m going to talk about a different approach, and remind you of an important search operator, to help you find sometimes the most precise and yet most obscure stuff on the internet.

And it all starts with my wife and me watching TV.

Read moreSearching precisely

The Most Searched-for Term on the Internet

What’s the most searched-for term or word on the internet?

I want you to think about that, because it’s not what you think, and it shows that many people have a fundamental misunderstanding of how search engines, and the internet itself, work.

I want to make search work better for you, and that means finding what you’re looking for.

But before we get to that we need to understand what is, and is not a search engine. Based on what people are actually searching for, there’s a lot of confusion.

Read moreThe Most Searched-for Term on the Internet

“Right to be Forgotten”: Misguided and Misleading

The European Union’s highest court recently ruled that search engines, namely Google and maybe Bing, need to honor requests from individuals to be removed from their search indexes in support of a concept known as “the right to be forgotten”.

There are many ethical, political and moral discussions that are happening around the topic right now. While I certainly have opinions in those realms, I want to take a look at it from a purely practical point of view.

That view?

It just can’t work.

Read more“Right to be Forgotten”: Misguided and Misleading

Pulling Fence Posts Using the Internet

What do fence posts have to do with tech? Well, this is the first entry in what I’m going to be referring to as my blog. It’s new for 2014 and will cover a slightly wider range of topics than the traditional Q&A that drives the rest of Ask Leo! I’ll have more to say about it in a future update, but don’t worry! It’s still mostly about tech, the internet, and the like. I’m just giving myself a little more latitude on topics. Besides, as you’ll see, technology did help me pull some fence posts. 🙂

So what does the internet really have to do with fence posts?

It’s a great example that, among the twerking celebrities and cat memes, we have an incredible wealth of information right at our finger tips.

I had a problem, and the internet helped me solve it.

Read morePulling Fence Posts Using the Internet

Where is my Outlook “PST” file located?

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I need to backup or make a copy of my mail folders in Outlook, which as you know are stored in something called a “PST” file. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. Where does Outlook hide my email? Where does Outlook keep my PST file? 

PST stands for “Personal STore” – as in your personal mail storage. PST files are actually fairly complex databases that contain your mail, your calendar, your contacts, and even more when you use Microsoft Office’s Outlook mail program. (Not to be confused with Outlook.com, the online mail service from Microsoft, which is completely unrelated.)

The default location has changed a time or two over the years. Of course, there’s always a chance that your PST is stored in some other, non-default location.

Rather than telling you where the default location is, let’s use Outlook itself to tell you the exact path of your PST file and then use Windows itself to do the same.

Read moreWhere is my Outlook “PST” file located?

Why Do Search Results Not Have Dates?

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Why don’t search results display the date created, date posted, or date updated?  Not the date that I include in my search, but rather one that I can see in a regular search? Automatically listed, perhaps, newest to oldest? I don’t think that the results from 2004 or before are relevant.

I’m not sure that everybody would agree that simply picking an arbitrary date in the past makes something not relevant.

Miscommunication, misunderstanding, and a lack of information abound when it comes to the dates that appear on internet content. I’ll clarify.

Read moreWhy Do Search Results Not Have Dates?

Where is Windows Explorer?

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I am running Windows XP Pro, and for some reason I cannot find Windows Explorer. I can’t find it in the Start Menu … could you point me in the right
direction?

Windows Explorer is both the hardest to find, and the easiest to find program there is. There are several ways to get it, and all of them are really, really easy.

It’s just that none of them are obvious.

Read moreWhere is Windows Explorer?