From online news in Millom to E-types…

By | June 1, 2013
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A real mix this time – from finding out the news in Millom to finding E-types on the internet, via a bit of a rare thing: praise for Microsoft!

Searching a website when there’s no website search… or it just doesn’t work very well…

One of the things that makes the internet so useful is being able to search for whatever you’re after – typing words describing it into Google (or whatever search engine you prefer) and having it give you a list of possible websites.

It means you don’t have to know the website you want to look at in advance.

You can also often search a particular website – say there’s a news site and you want news about the latest events in Millom – you can type in Millom and see what it gives you.  You need to look for a search box that’s in the website itself, not the one in your web browser program.  Often it’s towards the top right of the page and usually says something like “type here to search the site” in it.  Click there, type what you’re after and press enter.

But not all websites have search boxes built in – and some of the ones that do are frankly not very good.  But there’s a trick you can use.

If, say, you want to search the North-West Evening Mail for news about Millom and you don’t want to use their built in search because it isn’t giving you what you’re after (or if they didn’t have one), here’s what you do:  go to (or wherever you normally do general web searches from – often it’ll just be a bar at the top of the browser window) and type in North West Evening Mail Millom.  It’ll search the whole web for pages that incldue the thing you’re after (Millom) but also the words “North West Evening Mail”.  And guess where those words are most likely to be?  Got it – on the North West Evening Mail webpage.  So you’ll get lots of results about Millom on the NW Evening Mail website – exactly what you were after.

A rare bit of praise for Microsoft

I’ve talked before about the recent crop of touchscreen tablets, mentioning some of the pros and cons of each.  But there’s one in particular I wanted to mention.  An old problem with almost all computer equipment is that when it’s plugged into the mains, there’s a cable dangled between it and the socket. And if it’s something like a tablet, that you don’t just use in one place, you might find it’s easy to catch the cable, maybe with your foot.

Then the tablet could get pulled off the desk or wherever it is – and if it falls hard might break.  (Or land painfully on your other foot!)

Microsoft’s Surface tablet gets around this.  Instead of the power cable plugging in, it’s held in place by a magnet.  If you pull the cable, it comes away from the tablet really easily, so the cable falls to the ground but the tablet stays safe.

A little thing, but a really good idea.

Ebay is not just for what most people think

Ebay is becoming more and more popular.  It’s an easy way to buy things online – either from other people like you who are having a clearout of their attic or from proper businesses.  Generally you bid on something in an auction and only pay enough to just outbid the next highest bidder.  Then the seller posts whatever it is to you.

But not everyone realises there’s another way to use it.  You can also buy things that are too big to post.  They’re marked as “pickup only” and you simply go and get them (or if it’s something really big, send a friend who has a big car!)  Obviously you probably don’t want to buy something like this from too far away, but it’ll tell you how many miles away the seller is when you’re deciding whether to place a bid.

There are two advantages to this way of doing things.  First you can get all sorts of things that wouldn’t be convenient to post.  Kitchen units, cookers, even cars.  And since you can contact the buyer by email before you bid, you can arrange to go and see whatever it is before you bid.  If it’s a car, for example, I wouldn’t recommend actually placing a bid until you’ve had a look.

The second advantage is since only people local to the area are likely to bid on whatever it is, there’ll probably be fewer people bidding.  Which might well mean you get a lower price.

It’s one of those little bits about ebay that most people don’t realise – but could make things easier and cheaper for you.

I’ve been working on something to do with ebay recently (more on that soon) and I’ve realised just how many little tricks and tips there are that can help you find exactly what you’re after and often find it cheaper than you normally would!

Oh, and if you’re wondering (like I did) “but what sort of car would actually be sold on ebay”, I’ve seen everything from tatty old bangers for a couple of hundred pounds to this one that Julie has wisely told me I’m not allowed to go and see…

As I said, more about ebay soon!