Hey, while everybody else is posting articles about how to work from home, I’m giving you links related to slacking off.  Consider me your uncle that tells you about stuff that you know Mom and Dad wouldn’t approve of.  🙂

Passing the time while cooped up in your home because you are self-isolating, quarantined or sheltering in place can be boring once your work from home tasks are done.  Here are some links to our directory resources that might help entertain you and your family.

Coronavirus News – I’m half addicted to reading news about this unfolding story.  I listed 5 links to sites with a broad and breaking news focus about Covid-19.

Role Playing Games – 63 links to all sorts of table top (pen and paper) RPG’s.  Abandon your search for truth and look for good fantasy!  The main thing here is there are a lot of links to free rule sets.  So if you are stuck somewhere without rules or just want to try something different you can find it here.  Also listed are how-to guides, RPG podcasts, publisher sites and paid rule stores.

Internet Radio – Only 11 links but 3 or 4 of them are to directories that specialize in online radio.  Stay informed, listen to music while you work or listen to Old Time Radio shows.  You can find a lot here.  Of course you can always listen to your local NPR station.

Movies –  19 links.  You might get some new ideas if you are running out of films to watch like: “60 Free Film Noir Movies” or in depth reviews of 100 spy movies.

Humor – 41 links.  I’m not going to lie to you, most of these are just amusing time wasters.  Don’t expect a lot of high social value.  A good place to veg out.

Preppers – Various prepper and living off grid websites. 14 in all.  Might be time to study up.

Podcasts –  31 links to various podcasts on all subjects.  Find good stuff for your daily walks.

Surfing the Web – I’m going to recommend two collections by my friends: the dailywebthing and href.cool.

Enjoy.  Be safe.

 

Feel free to forward this to shut-in friends!

 

This was also posted to
/en/coronavirus.

 

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Like:  Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek | LibreTechTips

Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

 

This is a nice detailed review of the search engines named above.  Each undergoes the same tests and the results are analysed.

What this excellent article shows, is we need more search engines that have their own crawlers and indexes.  Most of the search engines tested rely on Bing for their core organic results which usually means: when Bing fails they all fail.  A near global duopoly of just Google and Bing is just ridiculous considering the size of the Internet audience in English alone.

 

I pointed this out in: How Many Bing Using Search Engines Can We Handle?  We have enough Bing retreads, it’s time for some more crawlers and indexes in English.

 

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New Listings

 

Love is Zero – Is a site submitted by the owner just today.  What makes it stand out to me is it’s a really well done fusion of Geocities type sites translated to WordPress.  It just gives out a great ’00’s vibe while also taking advantage of some of the extra features WordPress provides.  Also, there is a lot of original fan fiction and resource listings and a blog, all in a very talented and attractive website.  Recommended.

What’s also cool is this site and it’s peers are intended to be found by surfing with “affiliates” and “elite affiliates” and other meticulous hyperlinking.  This is how we surfed the web back in the old days and it’s great to see webmasters still doing it.

Love is Zero is listed under > Personal Pages.

Moreover, Love is Zero led me to a bunch of non-commercial small directories.

 

All these directories have been added to the directory under Internet > Searching > Specialized.

Some of these have been around for a long time.  They are what the web and hyperlinking are all about: helping people to navigate the web.  In this instance they help non-commercial personal and hobby sites get found.  It’s like there is this semi-covert web surfing network just below to the surface.  Google has abandoned them for Brand Names and commercial sites only care about themselves and money and yet here we have a bunch of good little directories linking us to the fun sites that I call “the street fair of the web”.  These little directories and the sites they list are the true Independent Web, it never went away, it’s still here.

 

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We have a new Linear Ring for Micro.blog Blogs.  It’s open to any blog, hosted of self-hosted that posts into the Micro.blog community.

Micro.bloggers can submit whatever section of their blog that they want, whatever they thing will most engage readers.  So, for example, if you have just a category for long form posts you can submit that category.  Likewise, many Microbloggers have two blogs, one for long form posts and one for micro blogging.  Submit one or both, the choice is yours.

The main idea is to get people from outside the Micro.blog social network exploring our blogs like you  would with a conventional webring.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer.

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I’ve spent the better part of two days setting up a “The Unofficial Micro.blog Webring”, troubleshooting as to why my browsers blocked the ring code on my Hugo blog but let it pass on my WordPress blog, researching and looking for alternatives.  All for nothing.

A webring is pretty worthless if all the browsers are going to block the ring code from loading.  They didn’t block it on WordPress but they did block it on my Hugo based Micro.blog hosted site.  Whatever.

It appears, that the newest browsers do not like ring codes, even HTML ones, that mix http and https links within the code.  Webringo, the only working web ring host left, is http, you know, the way the web originally was.  My site is https because People That Know and Google say it’s important and what Google wants Google gets.  Anyway, you can’t mix these two protocols in the same code because the browsers get all puckered up.

Okay, so Webringo is out.  Webring.org is also http and looks like it’s on life support.  Ringsurf looks like SEO’s took it over.  So what does that leave?

Modern if You are a Coder

There are people coding their own webrings.  Most of these are JavaScript or Ruby on Rails type of things.  Github is full of them, but these are one off’s meaning you fork the code, get it installed somehow, customize it all just to run ONE webring.  That’s all fine and dandy if you are a web developer or a coder, but it’s all Greek to the masses.

Some people have made webrings on Glitch.  Whatever the f–k Glitch is.

The best of these newfangled webrings or at least the one that caught my eye a few weeks is A Webring Kit by Max Bock.  Max was nice enough to produce something, forkable, that others could use to set up a ring of their own.  And indeed, I think he made it easier to duplicate than others.  But frankly, it still sounds too complicated for me to attempt. But others with more skill than I have might want to look into it.

Old School but Risky

Another way is via a WordPress plugin: Draupnir Ringmanager.  It works.  I’ve seen it working because Greg McVerry got it to work.  The problem is the plugin has not been updated in 5 years and has not been tested with the last 3 major updates of WordPress.  Here at Indieseek.xyz Ive got an expensive directory script attached to WordPress so I just can’t justify the risk to this installation for the sake of one webring.

So here we sit.

  1. There is some demand for web rings among bloggers, retro ’90’s webmasters, independent web types and some coders.
  2. There are no truly usable web ring hosts left.
  3. What is being built are mostly one off type code suitable for only running one ring if you know how to install the code to run it.

So the webring revival for the masses is stalled because of lack of infrastructure.  The train ain’t coming and here we sit.  Sorry Micro.blog members, I tried.

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There is a whole raft of new search engine startups plus many established players that all share one thing: their primary search source is Bing.   Which leads me to the question of: how many Bing powered search engines can the market absorb?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing search engine projects for using Bing nor am I criticizing Bing for selling access to it’s search feed.  Many of these search engines have been able to differentiate themselves from the others and from Bing in innovative ways and what appeals to one person might repel another so having a large choice of Bing powered engines is not bad.  But in the end they are all retreads of Bing all dressed in different clothes.

Bing Powered Search Engines

 

MetaSearch Engines that Use Bing

The above lists are partially sourced from: https://www.searchenginemap.com/  along with other sources.

So What Does this Mean?

The good thing, is that all of the Bing powered search engines together, help to erode Google’s near monopoly of search.  I like to think of it as Bing’s, guerrilla war on Google, fought with surrogates.  “Death by a thousand cuts.”  And, all these Bing powered engines provide users with a variety of UI’s and features that they may prefer over just being stuck using Bing itself.  Good so far as it goes.

The bad thing is, we the users, are still stuck with a duopoly.  At the end of the day the entire global English language searchverse is still stuck with only two major search engines: Google and Bing.  That’s it, you only get two opinions for finding things on the web – no third, forth or fifth opinions.  No matter how you dress it up it’s still a duoculture.  There is nobody else to turn to.

The second list of meta-search engines are stuck in the same boat, they are stuck in the duopoly too, being forced to rely on Google and Bing (plus Bing powered engines.)  Some are able to bring in smaller, independent engines that have their own crawler and indexes like Mojeek, and Yandex but those are not deep enough.

Do They Realize It’s Bing?

Based on the comments I read across the web and on social networks, I’m pretty sure the average Joe or Jane user is unaware that the search results on their alternative search engine of choice are derived from Bing.  In fact, I’ve seen many users swear that, say DuckDuckGo results are so much better, deeper more relevant than Bing.  The problem is, that sooner or later the public is going to catch on.  And we can’t just keep adding more Bing retreads to the mix.

The DuckDuckGo Question

Nobody has woven together a variety of different search sources around Bing with more skill than DuckDuckGo.  Yet the backbone of DDG’s results remains Bing, to the extent that they are totally dependent on Bing to function as a search engine.  As more Bing clones launch their task of making themselves different becomes harder.  Yet, I do not see any evidence of DDG trying to crawl and create their own index.  To me, that would be a long term strategy.  DDG has a crawler but they seem to use it for their Answers feature.  Other search engines like SwissCows and Qwant are building their own indexes in other languages so we know it can be done.  But only Mojeek seems to be trying in English.  Again we are up against the barrier of the duopoly which suppresses all other attempts at competition.

How long can we keep cloning Bing for variety in search?  Ultimately the market, and regulation from the EU and/or US will decide.  What the Bing clones do show is that demand is out there for something different – something not Google.  But how long will we be happy with just cloning Bing?

Related:

EU, Android and Search Engines

9 Best Private Search Engines for 2020

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Bookmark: 9 Best Private Search Engines for 2020 | Restore Privacy

This new and improved guide aims to be the most in-depth resource available on private search engines. We’ll examine the best private search engines for 2020, how to keep your data safe when searching, and also some search engines to avoid.

This is in-depth, more so than all the other like guides I’ve read.  This is not the usual list of search engine names either.  And for 2020 there are some important changes to the usual list of private search engines that you should be aware of.  So I highly recommend you read it.

 

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Today, this site joined Hotline Webring.

Hotline is a new style webring so you don’t have to do a lot of registration to join.  In fact, this is one of the easiest webrings to join – you only have to do 2.5 simple steps and it just works.  The webring code is straight HTML which you create, just follow the instructions.  This is nice because the ring code does not take up much space.  I have no idea how it’s coded but that hardly matters because it just works.

There is no subject theme for the webring but it mostly appears to be made up of personal blogs, websites and some cool retro Web 1.0 type sites.  You will find a list of all sites in the ring at the link above, so you get an idea of who you are hanging out with.

It’s young, it’s fresh, it’s got a pink background.  Why wouldn’t you check it out?

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