I didn’t think I’d get much done with Search Gizmos in December, but the opposite was true: I got some quality thinking time and came up with some really good puzzles, which translated into five Gizmos.
I also installed a new WordPress theme so the Gizmos should be easier to use. I’m a terrible, terrible Web designer and I’m sorry to make you suffer through my lack of visual acuity.
And now, what’s new.
I do a lot of fact-checking, and that often means pulling up the “official” sites for people and organizations. I got tired of having to constantly Google that stuff so I made MegaGladys.
MegaGladys works for anything that has a Wikipedia article. It pulls up to 22 data points from Wikidata and presents them in a nice list so you have instant access to official social media sites as well as authoritative compilations like WorldCat and LOC data. As a bonus you also get recent Google News about the topic.
I can’t show everything MegaGladys provides in a reasonably-sized screenshot but the one here shows a partial list of the information provided on a search for Dolly Parton.
Clumpy Bounce Topic Search: https://searchgizmos.com/clumpy/
This Gizmo is the result of my continuing pondering over how to search for what you don’t know about, and how you could guide a topical search without relying on an opaque algorithm. Clumpy Bounce lets you search for a category on Wikipedia and extract the most popular pages in that category. You can then “clump” up to three of those pages together and “bounce” them into a Google search.
If you’ve read my books Information Trapping or Web Search Garage, you know that I’m a big believer in searching for groups of the same type of thing to create “weight” in your search and tilt it toward a certain type of result. That’s what Clumpy Bounce is for, and I find it works rather well. The screenshot in this case shows a search for space solar, which led to an exploration of the pages in the Photovoltaics category.
Marion’s Monocle: https://searchgizmos.com/monocle/
Oh, how I despair at the state of local news search on the Internet. Marion’s Monocle is my attempt at a solution and I’m sure it won’t be my last one.
This Gizmo uses the FCC license database to show you a list of TV stations in the state you specify, then lets you select up to ten of them to add to a Google search. Some states (Florida and California spring to mind) have an amazing number of stations available.
The screenshot shows a search for TV stations in Rhode Island with a few of them ticked for the Google search.
PD Prompt Machine: https://searchgizmos.com/prompt/
– I love messing around with those AI-powered image generators, but I don’t love using someone else’s creativity without their permission. So I went looking for a way to avoid that and came up with PD Prompt Machine.
This Gizmo takes a random book title from the Internet Archive’s Open Library, and pairs it with a random artist in the public domain from the Art Institute of Chicago to create a prompt which you can copy and paste to your favorite image generator.
Sometimes the prompts are banal, some of them are sweet, and some of them may make you shriek with horror and scare the cat. A screenshot for this one isn’t particularly useful so may I present Insects in the style of Claude Monet?
Mastodon Web Space Search: https://searchgizmos.com/mwss/
Everybody’s been talking about Mastodon in the last month. Some of the talk has been about how much more difficult it’s going to be to search a decentralized social platform than a central one like Google.
That sounded like a fun search challenge so I made Mastodon Web Space Search. It uses the Instances.social API to find Mastodon instances with at least 200 active users and lets you search them in Google via the site: syntax. You can find instances either by language or keyword. The screenshot shows an instance search for the keyword humanities.
Bonus: Improving No Shop Sherlock: https://searchgizmos.com/no-shop-sherlock/ – I’ve been going back and looking at some of the old Gizmos I posted early, and decided on a quick upgrade for No Shop Sherlock. You can now filter by four different kinds of search clutter: general search cruft, bookstore sites, social media sites, and video sites.
Categories: RB Search Gizmos