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S-L-O-W? Then Ditch the Anchors

  • Turn off all stuff in your browser except text, until you need more. You can always turn images and sound back on when you need them, and then just refresh the screen. Or you can click on the little icon where an image goes, and that one image will then be displayed. Especially on less powerful computers/modems, you will greatly speed up your surfing by skipping unnecessary images, sound, and video. You also get to avoid a lot of on-screen advertising, which sometimes can really slow your surfing a lot.
Practice Safe Surfing
  • Your browser WILL crash and lock-up your computer - it's just a question of how often. Close your other programs before starting to surf - or at least make sure you've saved the latest version of your spiffy Powerpoint briefing or potentially best-selling novel.
  • Delete your Internet temp files once in awhile. When the browser crashes it has no chance to do the automatic cleaning. And everything you see on the Web is copied temporarily to your hard drive. I had 800 Mb pile up from one day of searching.
  • Virus scan downloaded stuff before running. You don't know where it has been.
  • Use personal firewalls, such as ZoneAlarm. Keep others from accessing your computer. Especially needed if you use a cable modem.
Keep your eyes peeled
  • Look on newsstands/library periodical rack for blurbs (on the covers of computer magazines) about the latest search engines and tips to use search engines or newer search tools (such as search bots). copy 'em and save in a handy file near the computer.
Grab What You Just Gotta Have
  • You cannot depend on it being there one week from now. I had over a hundred DoD URLs change on me in one week -- without forwarding addresses. So, if it is critical (and copyright-free, such as a lot of government site stuff) make a local copy.
  • In Google the cache will often give you material since removed or moved.

  • To save browser text to view later as a browser page, use the "Save as" HTML option, under the File menu
  • To save browser text as a text file, to reuse in another document, use "Save as" TEXT option
  • To save any graphic you see, to your local drive, put the mouse on it and click the right mouse button, and then use the "Save picture as" function
  • To save background, put mouse on background away from any text or picture, then click the right mouse button and use the "Save background as" function
  • OR use one of the software packages out there that can save a whole site for you, and set it to do so at night
Take advantage of what is offered
  • "Advanced search" is there for a reason.
  • So is "Help."
Invest some time to learn the tools
  • Find two or three search engines that give good results, and spend some time learning their ins and outs
Use the shark method of thinking about info on the Net
  • Circle in on items you're hunting, trying the fastest/easiest search methods/engines first.
  • When you find a search tool that seems to be getting closer, refine your search on that tool.
    • Add terms or exclude terms to your search.
    • On AltaVista try restricting your search to a particular domain, such as .mil
    • Look for clues in the responses as to how you might improve your search
    • Try out the search engine offerings such as "More sites like this one?"
  • If you don't seem to get anything close or you get 12,000 hits, try a link-listing site specialized for that topic -- such as an aviation-links site -- and go from there.
Keep serendipity in mind
  • Keep your eyes open for targets of opportunity as you search. These unplanned stops can sometimes lead to some of the best results.
Take advantage of browser features
  • Use the "Options" menu (under "View" on Internet Explorer) to adjust the default home page, default search engine, etc
  • Use the "Options" menu to set the default background to white instead of grey - makes for easier reading.
  • By turning off the top and bottom button and status bars (under "View" on Internet Explorer), you can see more of the screen without scrolling. However, when you turn off the button bar, you lose the "Back" button and will have to use the "Go" menu at the top of the browser to get back out of some screens. On the latest version of Internet Explorer the "Full Screen" button gives you maximum room and also keeps the Back button available in the upper left.
  • You don't have to type HTTP:// in front of URLs.
  • You can lop off pieces of URL at the end and go to higher areas sometimes - for instance if the site looks like it should have what you're looking for, but in a different folder/subdirectory than the one you found. This is also a possible solution when the URL isn't quite right -- start erasing from the right and try again at the next slash mark.
Don't fence me in
  • Sometimes "frames" (usually navigation stuff on side/top that stays put when you scroll) double up on you and only a small part of the screen is available for the stuff you really want to look at.
  • To get stuff out of a "frame" - either to get "save as" to work, or for getting a link straight to it (without the frame) or just to see more of the screen - put the mouse on some text inside the framed area, click on the right mouse button, select "properties," highlight the URL seen there, press Ctrl-C, highlight the Address/URL space near the top of the browser screen, press Ctrl-V to paste the new address in, then press Enter. You'll now have the entire browser area for the screen you really want.
Plan your search
  • Have alternatives ready to help searching
    • key/famous people in the unit
    • component units
    • previous bases/locations
    • types of aircraft assigned (especially good if a limited number were in use)
    • larger units over this one
    • key operations/battles unit was involved in
  • Use search engines that lend themselves to your searching
    • For instance, the entry below in AltaVista's search box would report back air wing, bomber wing, and other wing histories on .mil sites:
    • +"wing history" domain:mil

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page updated 8 Jun 07

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