Archive for category Tips

Just How Relevant is Google

We have all come to expect good things from Google. In fact, many of us have come to believe that Google is the best at everything they do. This is especially true with their original application, their search. For the past few years Google has ruled the search market. It got there by making the most relevant search results appear every time a user executed a search.

Those days may be over. Recently, I've noticed a trend that Google isn't giving very relevant content. I don't think I'm alone, and I have a pretty good idea why we are getting such bad results. It's not entirely Google's fault. There are many "white hat" and "black hat" search engine optimizations that are being used to manipulate the results. Marketers are trying to draw content to their sites. That's how they make money after all. SEO has been used ever since the first search engine. Google just seems to be lagging behind in making their algorithms detect unwanted SEO.

This isn't to say that those marketers are doing something wrong exactly. It's just that most of them are concentrating on Google. Google is, after all, the most popular search engine. They know what works to get ranked on Google, so they do it. They do a lot of it. This skews Google's search results, but doesn't necessarily effect Yahoo search results because Yahoo uses different algorithms to determine where a result ranks.

Google also is notorious for de-indexing RELEVANT sites by mistake. For instance, this site seems to have been de-indexed, and I've not been attempting to SEO this site much at all. It could be due to my use of a WordPress plugin called All-in-one SEO pack, though that really shouldn't have anything to do with it either.

Here is my single example that has been perplexing me for a month or so:
Once upon a time, there was a script for the XChat IRC client, called "XLack". This script is my favorite system information script for XChat. I've used it for probably 4 or 5 years. The home site for the script used to be xlack.tk. This was where everyone would go to download it. That site is now a parked domain. It has been that way for close to a year. If you search google for "Xlack", xlack.tk is still the number one site. It is no longer relevant at all. It's a parked domain. In fact, if one tries to find a site from which to download the xlack script, one finds that there are none listed on Google.com.

Now take that same search over to yahoo.com. A simple search for "xlack download" gives you this site, which has the relevant download link of the actual script. Yahoo.com provides more relevant results. Try it on any of your search and see if you don't get better results from Yahoo or even Live.com. I guarantee you'll have more success from them these days than you do Google.

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CHM file not working

I have quite a few ebooks in various formats, mostly PDF and CHM. Some time ago I noticed that an update from Microsoft limited the ability to open CHM files. I had previously researched how to fix this but after a recent reinstall of Windows I've found myself with the same issue as before. I had forgotten how to fix it. I also noticed that the fix isn't very easy to find. So, I thought I'd post it here for anyone who may run into the same issue.

Here is what the error will look like:

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You will see an error like "Navigation to the webpage was canceled."

This was actually a security feature Microsoft added. Intranet and internet downloaded CHM files are blocked by default. There are a few ways to fix this, we'll start with the least preferred.

This registry hack will enable CHM files to open remotely or locally. This is quick and painless but could lead to security risks, though I've never heard of anyone getting hacked or acquiring a virus from a CHM file. At any rate, use that registry hack at your own risk. To install it, simply download the .reg file, right-click it, and choose install.

The next way is probably the easiest but it requires that all CHM files be downloaded to the local machine. This, to me, is not a problem. This will unblock all local CHM files and it's an obvious fix that just elluded me for some reason. When the CHM file is clicked a dialog box appears with a checkbox that says "Always ask before opening this file type". According to Microsoft, unchecking this box will unblock all the CHM files that are on the local machine. I've not tried this method, however.

The final method was the one I used. It is simply to unblock the files individually. I was unaware that there was and "unblock" button inside the properties menu for the file. Simply right-click the file, choose properties, and in the "General" tab there should be an Unblock button at the bottom. Simply click this button and the CHM file should open and display correctly.

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