Internet 201

Your Internet Questions Answered

A number of attentive readers accepted my offer to entertain questions about finding a specific item of information on the Internet. Here are several queries that I received and where answers using the Internet.

Question: I want to research companies to invest in. Where is the best source of information describing companies, including performance figures (e.g., information you might typically see in Value Line or Standard and Poors)?

Answer: Both free and fee-based services are available on the Internet. In the first category is this URL: http://www.secapl.com/cgibin/qs for Security APL Quote Server which connects to the SEC EDGAR Database. In the second category is Quote.com at http://www.quote.com/

Question: I spend time on the Internet trying to do research on a book about the history of naval weapons. Not just the technology advances, but the bits and pieces of information that relate weapons to events. The problem is that the search engines can search the key words or highlights, but don't get into the text of articles and stories. Is there a search engine or Web site that is available to the Internet user that will aid in comprehensive research? If so, what is the most effective way to use it? If not, can you think of any methods to aid my research?

Answer: Currently, there is no one search engine that covers everything on the Internet, that is, discussion groups, newsgroups, telnet sites, ftp archives, gopher servers and Web servers. You just have to cover your bases as you would doing any research. I would begin looking into discussion groups (http://scwww.ucs.indiana.edu/mlarchive/) and newsgroups (ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/) and using Lycos (http://Lycos.CS.CMU.Edu/) and Open Text (http://www.opentext.com:8080/omw.html), among other search engines. fwiw (Internet-ese for what it's worth), Open Text returned this information:

The Open Text Web Index - Results

Average query time in the last hour: 7.6 seconds; in the last 5 minutes: 9.4 seconds.

Your search: naval weapons

Result: 53 pages containing 96 matches

Question: Do you know of any public access "no fee" Web site to obtain the Commerce Business Daily? My searches have resulted in denied access or a fee required.

Answer: Currently, I am unaware of any "no fee" Web site for the CBD. There was a telnet site in Washington State, but the connection was quite slow and the interface awkward. A fee-based service, Stat-USA (http://www.stat-usa.gov/), costs only $100 for an annual subscription and includes other databases besides the CBD. A sample database is available.

Question: I want to identify all providers of Internet training courses for companies and copies of their course descriptions. A Yahoo search doesn't show your courses.

Answer: In fact, my courses are listed on Yahoo, a database with more than 50,000 home pages. The reader may have taken a wrong turn during his search. Here is the URL to use for listings of Internet trainers: http://www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Internet_Consulting/Training/ You'll notice, btw (Internet-ese for by the way), that Yahoo is sporting a new look and that the address is not ...www.yahoo.com, but ...beta.yahoo.com

John Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him at makulow@clark.net or makulow@cais.com. His home page is http://www.cais.com/makulow/verbwork.html


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