Saturday, July 30, 2005

using book contents to learn

I wanted to learn about working with long documents in Microsoft Word.
I went to , looked for the keywords Microsoft Word, and found a book by the name:

Microsoft Word 2002 Plain & Simple (Paperback) by Jerry Joyce, Marianne Moon.

Hovering over the book cover I saw a link to the table of contents and on the third page I found what I wanted: page 73 Creating a long document.

I tried to copy it but I couldn't.
I tried to printscreen it but I couldn't.

So I opened my IBM ViaVoice and dictated the list of the chapters:

  • Organizing with styles 74
  • Finding topics in a document 76
  • Numbering headings 77
  • Reorganizing the document 78
  • Browsing through your document 80
  • Numbering pages and creating running heads 81
  • Creating variable running heads 82
  • finding text 84
  • Replacing text 86
  • Copying information from multiple locations 87
  • Creating chapters 88
  • Changing page orientation within a document 89
  • Changing margins within a document 90
  • Creating the table of contents 91
  • Creating an index 92
  • Printing on both sides of the paper 94

This exercise gave me an overview of my field of interest . Now I had a work plan.

I started with the first name on the list "Organizing with styles" and entered the keywords Organizing styles Microsoft Word into QTSaver.

The first result gave me all the information I needed . For exampke:

Why Styles Are So Valuable?

Styles are one of Word's most powerful
timesavers, for five important reasons.
First, styles can dramatically reduce
the time it takes to format a document--oftenby 90% or more. Second, styles can
also help you make sure all your documents look consistent, with very little
effort on your part. Third, if you export your Word document to a desktop
publishing program (page 833), most programs can use Word styles to help
automate their work. Fourth, if you need to change the way yourstyled document
looks, you need to change only a few styles, not hundreds of manualformats.

Finding a needle in a haystack

Dr. Matthew Koll's brilliant illustration of a search on
may serve as the beginning of mapping all sorts of searches.

He says that:

Searching is like finding a needle in a haystack, but not all searches are the
same. "Finding a needle in a haystack" can mean:

  • A known needle in a known haystack
  • A known needle in an unknown haystack
  • An unknown needle in an unknown haystack
  • Any needle in a haystack
  • The sharpest needle in a haystack
  • Most of the sharpest needles in a haystack
  • All the needles in a haystack
  • Affirmation of no needles in the haystack
  • Things like needles in any haystack
  • Let me know whenever a new needle shows up
  • Where are the haystacks?
  • Needles, haystacks – whatever

I tried to find an example for each sort of search and decided that:

  • Looking for Parents home in Herzliya is a known needle in the Yellow pages which are a known haystack.
  • Looking for a banana that has an apple flavor is a known needle in the WWW which is a known haystack.
  • Looking for Air pollution in the Haifa bay area in Israel is an example for all the needles in a haystack since it is for an academic research and you can't submit your paper unless you know all the publications in your field of research.
  • Looking for a similar patent to Qtsaver patent is an unknown needle in an unknown haystack and I'll know it for sure only when we get the patent (Now it's pending).
  • "Let me know whenever a new needle shows up" is what Google Alert and RSS feeds do.

    Martin Lessard adds on

Wrong query for a needle in a haystack, and finding something anyway - That's
what is called serendipity.

Friday, July 29, 2005


  • Each morning when people take their dog to a walk - I take QTSaver to a learning adventure.

    This morning I decided to follow Matthew Koll - I was sure that a guy who can have such an insight about haystacks and needles can teach me new things about search engines.

    The first result I got was a conversation between Gary Price and Matthew Koll on
    And on the first paragraph I found interesting stuff about Matthew Koll:

  • He is a pioneer in the web search industry.
  • He was the founder and CEO of Personal Library Software, acquired by America Online in
  • He's currently the founder and CEO of Wondir
  • Wondir is a search engine Chris (Gary Price's partner) wrote about in 2002.

In the body of the article I found that

  • In terms of returning answers instead of just documents... in spite of what my new company does (plug here for I don't think returning documents is all bad.

    Now I followed the link: "Chris wrote about in 2002"
    And found out that:

  • Koll is also acknowledged as the first to write and speak about the Invisible Web, the vast portion of cyberspace that is unindexed by most search engines.
  • Attempting to organize the hundreds of online "AskA" virtual reference services provided by libraries around the world under a single umbrella, to provide human assistance when search fails to satisfy a user's information need.
  • In addition to organizing library AskA services, Wondir also hopes to tap into the expertise of other volunteer online help programs, including government or social service organizations, civic groups, professional associations, university alumni associations and similar groups.

    The word "Volunteers" is super interesting for me because I want to promote teaching of illiterates by Volunteering retirees. So my intuition led me to a hit – now I'll try to contact Matthew Koll and see if we can cooperate…

    So I followed the Wondir link
    In the ABOUT section and found out that

Wondir's vision is very close to ours:

  • To connect people who have information needs with the people and information that can help them.

Our vision is more specific: to reduce illiteracy

Eventually I looked in the CONTACT details and found Wondir's email:

This was a nice morning walk with my QTSaver…now I'll have my breakfast.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

reducing illiteracy

I read on that on 07.06.2002 in the Africa Economic Summit 2002 Catherine Odora Hoppers, Professor of Education, Pretoria University, South Africa, observed that innovation and intellectual property are at the heart of the challenges the African continent is now facing. Massive increments in knowledge production have widened the disparity between developed and developing nations. Intellectual property and its generation can no longer be seen as a discrete domain, but one that is central to the attack on poverty and its related discontents.

So I found Catherine Odora Hoppers' E-mail and sent her this letter:

Dear Catherine,

Two years ago I retired and lately I joined a forum for "retirees & computers".
I think that there will be many retirees who will gladly "adopt" a pupil (kid or adult) and take care of his/her intellectual needs through computer connection. There are thousands of forums for "retirees & computers" around the world and if we can tell them about the needs and the opportunities some of them might join this new initiative.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Indirect hit

My friend Udi sent me the following e-mail:

Here is an unsuccessful search in Q.T.:

Tomorrow I'm going to visit a relative who lives in a parent's
home in Herzliya, Israel. I started with Google and searched for the
keywords Herzliya elderly. I got 940 results and after scanning 30 of them
I added the word English since this is a parents' home for English
speakers. I got 502 results which didn't lead me to a hit. So I did
the same in Yahoo and got 1640 results. After adding the third word,
English, I got 666 results and the ninth was the right one: Beth Portea. Now I
tried the same search on Q.T. and got no results. How do you explain

Well, I replied, I searched on the yellow pages for parents home Herzliya and got the answer in two minutes.
Sometimes we have to look for the container in which a hit is hiding:
  • Look for a glossary to find a term.
  • Look for a special search engine that specializes in blogs in order to find a blog.
  • Look for a University staff list in order to find a certain professor.
QTSaver is not a search engine, but if you want to prepare a paper about the situation in parents' home in Herzliya in the shortest possible time and without a word of your own - you'd better use QTSaver.

פעם אחת הייתי מהלך בדרך וראיתי תינוק יושב על פרשת דרכים ואמרתי לו באיזה דרך
נלך לעיר אמר לי זו קצרה וארוכה וזו ארוכה וקצרה והלכתי בקצרה וארוכה כיון שהגעתי
לעיר מצאתי שמקיפין אותה גנות ופרדיסין חזרתי לאחורי אמרתי לו בני הלא אמרת לי קצרה
אמר לי ולא אמרתי לך ארוכה נשקתיו על ראשו ואמרתי לו אשריכם ישראל שכולכם חכמים
גדולים אתם מגדולכם ועד קטנכם: מסכת עירובין פרק ה
דף נג

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Questions I frequently ask myself

- Who really needs QTSaver?
- School pupils and retirees.
- Where in the world would QTSaver help the most?
- In Africa. QTSaver can help to reduce illiteracy in Africa.
- Who is currently working on this problem?
- The U.N.

So I entered the following keywords in QTSaver
illiteracy Africa united nations

The global launch of the United Nations Literacy Decade took place in New York
in February 2003. The aim of the Decade is to give new impetus to efforts
worldwide to reduce persistently high rates of illiteracy. According to UNESCO
statistics, some 861 million people, or 20 percent of the world’s adults, cannot
read or write or participate fully in the organization and activities of their

Seventy percent of illiterate adults in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern and Western Asia, Arab countries and North

banana that has an apple flavor

An old friend wrote to me:

It looks like someone else is thinking along the lines that you were. I was
looking for a type of banana that has an apple flavor and somehow came upon
company called "find articles".

and here is my answer:

I checked it out and it doesn't seem to be similar at all:

Results for "banana apple flavor" in
Bananas split: the banana might soon become an endangered species and slip away - Life - according to scientists from International Network for the Improvement
Do you like banana cream pie? How about banana bread or banana split sundaes? Better enjoy them while you can! Scientists from the International Network ...

Current Science, 5/2/03 by Kirsten Weir · 1 page · More from publication
The new apple abundance: has flavor returned to the
Apples arrive in a big way in autumn. This month, with the apple
harvest in full swing, market bins tumble forth their greatest bounty of the
year. The number of choices may astound you. In respons

10/1/90 · 1 page · More from publication
The variegate show - R&D
Applications - Degussa Fruit and Flavor Systems - Brief Article
The variegate
show. (R&D Applications).(Degussa Fruit and Flavor Systems)

Prepared Foods, 7/1/03 by Fran LaBell · 1 page · More from
Jones-Hamilton Co.: pHase-acid sensory enhancement—creating
opportunities for flavor.
Products: pHase[R]--Sodium Acid Sulfate (Acidulant)
* Description: Low pH is necessary for preservation and stability in acidified
foods and beverages, ...

Prepared Foods, 9/1/04 · 1 page · More
from publication
Exotic fruit; tired of the apple-a-day routine? An
overlooked crop of health-promoting fantastic fruit awaits your discovery -
Nutrition - Brief Article
Packed with vitamins, antioxidant and other
nutrients, fruits are a great way to promote health without sacrificing taste.
But there are only so many ...

Men's Fitness, 5/1/02 · 1 page ·
More from publication
McCormick Flavor - Ingredients, R&D - Brief
McCormick Flavor now offers six certified organic flavors: Apple,
banana, blueberry, peach, raspberry and strawberry. These flavors can be used in
organic ...

Dairy Foods, 1/1/03 · 1 page · More from publication
Pouring on flavor in beverages: beverage creation involves balancing the
effects of sweeteners, acidifiers and other ingredients to maximize flavor
Beverage formulation would be a cinch if all it took was adding a few
drops of flavor to water and then adding a little sweetness. But with processing

Prepared Foods, 10/1/02 by Laura A. Brandt · 1 page · More from

While in my QTSaver I got:
It is not produced commercially on large scale but it is usually grown in backyards
for family consumption. Its sub-acid flavor is reminiscent of a cross between an
apple and a very sweet banana, which make a pleasing combination. It must be
allowed to ripen fully before eating.
The plant grows 12 to 14 feet tall and
is mostly green colored with just a light margin of red around the leaf. See our
Yahoo Store for Great prices on Banana Plants and Banana Trees. Ice Cream Banana
trees have a hint of Vanilla taste in its bananas, Dwarf Red Banana trees that
have a hint of Peach, the Apple Banana tree has a taste of a Sweet Apple, Rose
Banana trees have a Lemony flavor. We have all the banana fruit flavors, grow
them inside or outside.
Apple banana tree - banana plant Dessert type banana
tree, pleasant apple flavor when fully ripe. Fruit: 4 to 6 inches.

I hope now you'll appreciate QTSaver even more…

Air pollution in the haifa bay area in Israel

Today I searched in QTSaver for the keywords AIR POLLUTION HAIFA BAY
I Refined the search after following the Leads and added the word QUALITY to the search, and
refined it again after following the new Leads and added the word PROBLEMS to the search.

I entered each site and copied the HITS to a MS WORD document.
It took me 40 minutes.
Then I spent more 20 minutes on counting the words (2000), Highlighting Key words,
and building the content.

natural gas 1
Israel Electric Corporation 1
schoolchildren 3
M. Shechter 3
main sources of air pollution 4
vehicular traffic 4
sulfur dioxide emissions 4
power plant and oil refineries 4
health damages 5
Technion 5
water pollution 5

Monday, July 25, 2005

My old blog was stolen

Did something like this ever happened to you?

I had a blog on Bloxter for a few days and suddenly it disappeared.
So I sent this E-mail to

Dear Sir,
I can't log in - what shall I do?

and That's their answer:

I see that somebody logged in and removed your blog !
I will see if I
can restore a backup!

My hall of frustration

Why QTSaver?
- In order to reduce search engine frustration.

Why frustration?
- Because we want to find information and we can not find it. In our imagination we translate our failure in survival terms:
I will not finish my term paper
so they will kick me out of school
so I will never find a decent job
so I will never find a spouse
so I will never have kids…

That's why we get so emotional about not finding…

So I started collecting paragraphs that describe search engine frustration. If you stumble on an interesting paragraph please send it to me as a comment and I'll add it to my hall of frustration.

1. I read on that

A survey for Realnames reports that 44% of users are frustrated by navigation
and search engine use… The completeness of the index is not the only factor in
the quality of search results. "Junk results" often wash out any results that a
user is interested in.

If you're searching for something that can be sold online, Google's top
results skew very heavily toward stores, and away from general information. Search for flowers," and more than 90 percent of the top results are online florists. If you're
doing research on tulips, or want to learn gardening tips, or basically want to know anything about flowers that doesn't involve purchasing them online, you
have to wade through a sea of florists to find what you're looking for. The same goes for searching for specific products: Type in the make and model of a new
DVD player, and you'll get dozens of online electronic stores in the top results, all of them eager to sell you the item. But you have to burrow through the results to
find an impartial product review that doesn't appear in an online catalog.

What happened? The early search services understood what web search was about.
They offered plain functionality and the visitors apparently liked it. How else
could the first generation search engines evolve to become the most popular
sites on the web? But at a certain moment somebody decided to turn these fine
services into jungle-portals with a declining search box surrounded by numerous
links, advertisements, banners and - most of times - useless information… at the
end of the day their visitors got frustrated, left and stayed away. People
realized that simply clicking through to all sorts of sites - with information
they were not looking for - was a waste of time. New gadgets are nice for a
while, but at the time you start wondering why they tend to end up in the
garbage bucket… The demanding market needs simplicity because it is still not
used to selecting relevant information from an overwhelming source no one could
have dreamed of ten years ago… If you for example use Google to find "golf
courses in Turkey" you will be amazed to find this opinion page in the first 5
results. Ok, this page contains the words you were looking for, but the content
is entirely useless for golfers. Try Alltheweb and you get similar results.
These simple examples show that high-end search engines are still not able to
distinguish between relevant and irrelevant webpages. Therefore we believe that
additional algorithms and services like the one offered by Vivisimo are highly
required to work on a more friendly and better accessible medium.

The typical search results therefore leave a lot of work to be done by the
searcher, who must wend their way through the results, clicking on and exploring
a number of documents before finding exactly what they seek.

If you send email, you expect email to get there, and there's no mystery," he
said. search is much more difficult, but you still expect things to happen, and
we're not there yet. Obviously search is not the same as email -- it's much much
more difficult. We're still far from satisfying most users most of the time. We
want to remove the frustration. We want to make it more intuitive...

A search engine is often the first method used to find a
page, and yet, most users suffer frustration and failure. More still are put off
by the complexity of the search engine, and the confusing manner in which the
results are displayed".

Looking for accurate information online is like searching library
stacks without a card catalog. The Net has become such a barrage of useless
information that unless you've got a pretty solid idea of where you want to go,
you might as well stick to using your library card. Major search engines spit
out thousands of replies to every request, often with no relation to the topic

Searching for airline rates for a trip to Ireland proves the futility of online
transactions. An initial search through Alta Vista, one of several commercial
search engines available, yields an avalanche of nothing. Using the keywords
"airline," "fares" and "Ireland," Alta Vista provides 47,930 sites from which to
choose. The first 20 hits displayed are a scrambled mess of discount airline
ticket brokers whose fares are either outdated or inaccessible. One site is
listed five times within the first 20 hits — and the information is still
unhelpful. The amount of fruitless data has many would-be Netheads giving up.
Though a recent study by FIND/SVP, a New York-based research and consulting
firm, indicated that over 20 million Americans now view the Internet as
"indispensable," it also found that another 9.3 million have tried the Net and
abandoned it in frustration. Last year the number of computers purchased finally
topped the number of televisions sold. But despite the boost, only 40 percent of
American homes have personal computers, while 98 percent have televisions. Is it
any wonder? If television programs swapped stations every time they were turned
on, you'd ditch your Magnavox, too".

Despite the millions of dollars invested in search engine technology by
companies all over the world, web searching is still a largely frustrating,
imprecise process".

A survey published by FIND/SVP in June 2004 found that search engines
frustrate 71% of business executives. It also found that staff time wasted due
to poor results from search engines cost American businesses US$31 billion a

Search engines stink. These databases that are supposed to help us
find what we want on the Web are failing to do the job. If you've ever tried to
find information using Altavista or one of the other dozen or so big search
engines you've no doubt felt the frustration. Your search results swamp you with
a tide of irrelevant results and don't give you what you want. Search engines
claim their results are better than ever. They've developed defenses against Web
sites that attempt to "spam" the index by loading a Web page with irrelevant
terms. Furthermore, they say many irrelevant results can be eliminated if you
adopt advanced search techniques that use Boolean logic to fine-tune your search
request. For example, "blue chip" might return information on poker chips. But a
search for "blue chip and stocks" would be more likely to return information
about investments. But that solves just part of the problem. There are other
reasons search engines don't work… The current state of search engines can be
compared to a phone book which is updated irregularly, is biased toward listing
more popular information, and has most of the pages ripped out… At the heart of
the problem is that search engines don't make money from searches. The user of
the service pays nothing, so the engine attempts to make money by selling
advertising on the site… Offering you a good search service could reduce
stickiness. If you find what you seek on the first attempt, you'll be off to
visit the new site.

Users can only get very small proportions of the information they want.
Moreover, the poor interface design in many search engines hinders the full use of their advanced functions. And the search results are often very inaccurate and irrelevant.