A9watch, etc.

News, reviews, and commentary about A9.com, other new search technologies, and related topics. Send news, inquiries, and rants to randalldotnewton atgmaildotcom. Subscribe at http://feeds.feedburner.com/A9watchEtc.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Going Dormant

I've decided to let A9watch, etc. go dormant. I will occasionally publish search-related items to my personal blog, LoomisBoy. And, I cover search as relevant to AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) as part of my day job at AECnews.com. Both have XML feeds.

I'll leave this blog up for an indefinite period, as part of the historical record. Plus, I might get the occasional ad hit (worth a few cents). I think the story of my being the very first person to list a Gmail invitation for sale on eBay is worth saving. There was quite a frenzy for a time, as people rushed to get Gmail addresses. Now I have 50 invitations to share (write me at randall dot newton atsign gmail dot com if you want an invite).

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Google Answers My Query on Desktop Search

Wow, that was fast! Barely an hour ago I wrote (see previous entry) about Google Desktop Search, and said I was asking Google for advice. The answer is here already:

Thank you for your note. Once Google Desktop Search is installed, it updates your personal search index whenever you open, save, or view a file, email, or other searchable item. You'll be able to search for that new content within seconds.

For items you've moved or renamed, Desktop Search should pick up the changes the next time you open or save the item. However, when you delete an item or move it without opening it, Desktop Search may not detect the change. Items you've deleted or moved without opening will appear in your results at their old locations.

To remove these outdated items, click the 'Remove items' link near the top of the results page. Check the boxes next to the items you'd like to remove and click the 'Remove checked results' button. This will remove the items you checked and return you to your results page.

If you've made extensive changes to your hard drive setup or email folder structure, you may wish to start over with a new index. For more information about doing this, please visit

The Google Team

Good answer; I have no complaints. PS: I installed Microsoft's new desktop search tool today, the first day it was available.

Google Desktop Search is Just Too Efficient

I downloaded Google Desktop Search (GDS) the first day it was available, and I use it almost every day. But I find it is a bit too efficient. More than once my search results have included spam email messages that only spent a few minutes on my computer before being whisked into the ether. Having spam in my search results is only a mild annoyance, to be honest. But I see no need for the Google search database to have to store and process such bogus information.

Today I took a few minutes to read through the online help for GDS, and I didn't see anything related to how the database might update itself. So I wrote them, using the onscreen submission form, asking if there is anyway to have the GDS database update without uninstalling/reinstalling the software. I'll post the answer, if any, here and in my personal blog LoomisBoy, where this item is cross-posted.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Clever Hack Unites Google Deskbar with Google Desktop Search

I often use the Google Deskbar, a clever little tool that sits in the Windows (2000/XP) Taskbar. And I am absolutely hooked on Google's new Desktop Search capabilities. As soon as I started using it, I realized how great it would be if the two applications were combined in one interface.

Google publishes an Application Programming Interface (API), so if you can dream of a Google hack (I'm using "hack" in its original, good meaning of "clever programming tweak"), there's usually a way to make it a reality.

Usually Google leaves the writing and dissemination of "clever hacks" to others, but this time the company issued instructions on how to unite the two. It's rather simple, and if you use both Google Deskbar and Google Desktop, you'll love this tweak. (Thanks to http://oksoft.antville.org/stories/952320/ for the pointer).

To unite Google Deskbar and Google Desktop:

  1. Go to Google (http://www.google.com) and click on the Desktop tab.
  2. Copy the URL that displays, which should look like this:
  3. Go to Google Deskbar and click Options.
  4. Go to Customized Searches, click Add, paste the URL you just copied into the URL box shown, but add {1}
    (it'll look like:{1}) and name it Google Desktop Search.
  5. That's it, unless you want add the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut to this new option.

So, now I can search my desktop from the taskbar. Awesome!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A9 Adds Mozilla Support to Toolbar

LinuxInsider has the details.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Would You Like to Take Over This Blog?

When I started A9watch, etc. a few months ago, I was unemployed and underutilized by my various contracting clients. The exact opposite is now true. Also, the kind of writing I need to do for this blog is too much like my existing work to make it fun anymore.

So, if there's somebody out there who would like to take over "http://a9watch.blogspot.com" drop me a line at randall dot newton at gmail dot com. Otherwise, I'm going to let this blog go dormant. Despite the fact that this is a great time to be covering search and related technologies. There are so many new search engines out there, so many new related services.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Gmail Inspires Clever Hacks

New Scientist magazine offers a good round-up of how programmers are finding ways to add functionality to Gmail. The clever hacks include Linux-based file storage, a community blog, and tools for automatically checking Gmail from the desktop.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A9 Adds New Search Categories

A9 unveiled an update this morning, adding the ability to search three new categories in their side-by-side approach. Users now have the option to search “Images,” “Movies,” and “Reference.

A9 has also changed the color scheme and the layout of features. I’ll prepare a more detailed report soon.

UPDATE: Gmail Invitations Become Fussy

There was a message from the Gmail Team waiting for me this morning, regarding my inability to access the Invites popup. They made two suggestions (the entire letter is at the end of this post). The first was to login to my Gmail account using the secure (https://) address, the second was to twiddle with both my browser and my spam blocking software.

I have always been using the secure server, but I didn't do the other suggestions because the Invites link is working again. Gmail Team might have tweaked a setting (they didn't say), or it could just be one of those things. Hey, this IS beta ware.

Here's the letter they sent.



Thank you for your report. We apologize for any inconvenience this may
have caused.

To fix this problem, please try logging in to your account through our
secured interface. Secure HTTPS access is available via
https://gmail.google.com. Simply paste this URL in your browser and then
log in to Gmail. Please be sure to use this exact URL, with no characters
after '.com.'

It may also be necessary to disable third-party firewall, anti-virus, or
ad-blocking software (for example, Norton Firewall or Anti-Virus). Please
close all open browser windows and disable such software. Open up a new
browser window, and adjust your privacy and security preferences. To
adjust these preferences in Internet Explorer, please follow the steps

1. Click the 'Tools' menu at the top of your browser, and select 'Internet
2. Click the 'Privacy' tab at the top of the dialog box, and select 'Low.'
3. Click the 'Edit' button, and enter 'google.com' into the 'Address of
Web site' field.
4. Select 'Allow' to override the handling of particular cookies.
5. Click the 'Security' tab at the top of the dialog box, and change the
'Security level for this zone' to 'Low.'
6. Click 'OK.'

Next, please clear your browser's cache. To clear your browser's cache in
Internet Explorer, please follow the steps below:

1. Click the 'Tools' menu at the top of your browser, and select 'Internet
2. Click the 'General' tab at the top of the dialog box.
3. Click 'Delete Files' under 'Temporary Internet files.'
4. Select 'Delete all offline content' by checking the box.
5. Click 'OK.'

Finally, open a new browser window and log back in to Gmail. Please try
accessing your Contacts list again.

If you continue to encounter difficulties, please respond to this message,
and we will be happy to investigate the issue further.

We hope you enjoy Google's approach to email.


The Gmail Team