Tag Archives: searching

Mmmmm….Yummly

Happy 4th of July!…a little early. For the month of July, Learning for Life Online will higlight tools that help with party and travel planning. From holiday BBQs to potlucks to block parties, from a day trip to a two-week vacation, online tools can make organizing people and things easy as pie.

For those last-minute recipes for 4th of July cookouts, let’s start with the best recipe-finder I’ve seen: Yummly.

What Is It?

Yummly logoYummly is a specialized search engine just for recipes. You type in words to search for – “avocado salad” – and then let Yummly deliver you hundreds of recipes that match those terms.

Limits for searching on Yummly.comThat would be useful enough, but Yummly uses limits – called facets – to let you narrow the list of results down to exactly what you’re looking for.

Use the top two fields to find recipes that do or do not have specific ingredients by typing next to the minus or plus signs. Click on and slide the grey dots under Taste to choose the flavors in your recipes. Like salty food? Slide the Salty facet over to the right. Hate Spicy food? Slide the Spicy facet all the way to the left. Leave any that you don’t care as much about in the middle at No Preference.

Blow these facets, click on the boxes next to Allergies and Diets to find recipes that are good for people with those needs, and use the sliders under Nutrition to find healthier options. Other limit options include specific budgets, courses, time you to prepare, holidays and more.

For all of these facets, click on the box or pull the slider to change the option, then click again or pull the slider another way to change them back. You don’t need to redo your search or use the Back button to get back to where you were.

The search results down the middle of the screen list the ingredients for easy choosing, and each recipe has a star rating for quality. Click on a dish to see the whole recipe with instructions and nutritional information. Email yourself the recipe for later use, or print it out.

Each recipe has a suggested number of servings, but if you need more or fewer, just change the number in the box and click on Change. The recipe quantities [should] change to make the new number of servings. [Note: as of post time, this feature wasn’t working quite right. We hope it comes back soon!]

You can do all of this without signing in or creating an account, but if you set up a Yummly account, you can also Favorite and Save recipes, add ratings, and do many other things.

How Is It Useful?

Just imagine: you’re cooking dinner for 6 friends, one of whom is a vegetarian and another who has a gluten allergy. You are allergic to tomatoes. You’re serving roast chicken, but you need help with the side dishes and an entree for your vegetarian friend. Search on the word “pasta” or “salad,” then use the facets to find vegetarian gluten-free recipes to complete your menu. Add any ingredients you have already, and exclude anything with tomatoes in them. What would have taken many searches using different recipe sources online (like Epicurious or Food Network) happens in minutes using Yummly.

Try It Out

Cooking for the 4th? Or just looking for some new ideas? Search for your favorite kind of food and use the facets to quickly limit the results down to exactly what you’re looking for. If you find a great recipe, share the link in the comments below! If you really want to use Yummly as an online kitchen helper, sign up for an account.

Help & Resources

Try One New Thing – Our 1st Anniversary Post

As we finish out June, we are also finishing up the first year of Learning for Life Online. For anyone who’s been reading along since the beginning: thank you. I’m going to work hard to make the second year of LLO as fun and fascinating as the first.

For our 50th post, I’d like to challenge you to choose one of the tools or services we’ve looked this past year and sign up for it or try it out. Pick something that intrigued you but you never got around to it, or something that looked ridiculous and you want to see if you were just missing something. Doesn’t matter how big or small a thing it is – just do it. Review the basics of playing with a new online tool or playing with a new gadget and remember to have fun!

Try One New Thing and play around with it for the month of July. As you try it, comment on this post with your experience or thoughts, and any suggestions you have for using it.

Rather than make you go back through the past year to look for your one new thing, here’s a quick reference list:

It takes time to make a social tool a part of your life, including your life online. Whatever you choose to do, give it to the end of July and then see what you think of it. Let us know here if your opinion has changed, and how.

Thank you all again for following along, and enjoy your One New Thing! See you in July…

Five Search Engines You Haven’t Heard of…Yet

With all our coverage of privacy, security, and account settings, April was a pretty heavy month here at Learning for Life Online. Let’s celebrate spring by lightening things up a little bit in May. We’ll start by showcasing five search engines (similar to Google or Bing) that you might not have heard about.
 

Duck Duck Go logoDuck Duck Go is a nifty alternative to Google, Bing and the rest. To use this all-purpose, general search engine, just type in whatever you’re looking for into the search box and click. For tips, tricks and shortcuts to get very specific information quickly, check out their special “goodies” searches page.
 

Million Short logoWhat if you’re not looking for the most popular results? What if you want something obscure, or want to find the small stuff without having to skip past all the answers you already know? Try Million Short, a search engine that will let you cut off the top million, hundred thousand, thousand, or hundred results and get to websites and pages you may have never seen before. This isn’t a search engine you’d use all the time, but if you want to really research a topic online, it would help get to the weird stuff more quickly.
 

Spezify logoSpezify is an entirely different kind of search engine – rather than a list of results, you get a visual collection of images, video and text spread out in front of you. No, it’s not in a particular order, but you can quickly see whether something is useful to you by just looking. Lots of fun, especially if you’re looking for photos or images.
 

EcoFreek logoEcoFreek is a search engine that specifically looks for items that other people are giving away, willing to swap for, selling at a garage sale, or are otherwise free or really cheap. Type whatever you’re looking for into the search box, choose what part of the world you’re in, then click Search. You’ll get a list of results with a short description; if one of them sounds like what you want, click through to the original listing to see if it’s still available.
 

BookFinder logoTired of searching Amazon first to find books to buy? Try BookFinder, a search engine just for books. It’s great for out of print or hard-to-find items, and has an international focus for better non-English language materials.
 

I Like Using Google – Why Change?

If you were shopping for just the right shirt, you wouldn’t look in one store and then stop when you didn’t find it, would you? Same thing with search engines – the same one will tend to give you the same sorts of answers. To really know what’s out there, you need to try your search in different places, and compare the results you get from each one.

There are hundreds of search engines available, some more general and some for very specific topics. Don’t just trust results from the big three – take one step further and see what else is out there.

Help & Resources

I’ll Tumblr For Ya…

This week, we’ll finish this month’s ‘social finding and sharing’ theme with a look at Tumblr, a social sharing site that mixes blogging and image linking with great results.

What Is It?

Tumblr‘s tagline is Follow the world’s creators, and this visual feast lets you do just that. Tumblr is somewhere between a blog and a microblog (like Twitter): each tumblr site lets you share text, photos, videos, links, or whatever else you’d like smoothly and easily. It’s not meant for long, thoughtful posts (though there are some of those); it’s to help you quickly and easily share neat ideas and the inspirations you find online.

Each Tumblr has a different theme or subject, and all of the posts are about that theme. One stunning example is Things Organized Neatly, full of images of items and parts of things organized into groups or rows. There’s no “point” except to show off some beautiful photography and look at very ordinary things in a whole new way. Check out Dark Silence in Suburbia for an showcase of new and exciting artists, or Revolt Factory – “a collection of ideas that inspire change in culture, commerce and community.” The New York Times is even using Tumblr to repost older images from their archives.

Tumblr also has a simple “reblog” button that lets users quickly share things they find on other people’s tumblrs on their own. “The average Tumblr user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3.” says Tumblr’s About page.

How Is It Useful?

For people creating Tumblr blogs, it’s a simple way to share your own ideas or reblog other people’s posts. Artists can show new work, race car enthusiasts can share photos, photographers showcase their images, fashionistas offer makeup tips and reviews, and restaurant management students can show off the simple ingredients and meals they prepare. Anything you can imagine, you can put together a Tumblr about.

For groups, Tumblr has an easy submission feature to let the audience submit links for future posts. The submission page for the blog Eat Sleep Draw shows how easy it is. If you’ve got artwork made by you, you just upload the file, give it a caption, enter your contact information and click Submit. Now, you get more visibility for your art and images, and they get content for their site. Check out Designers of Tumblr for another gorgeous example.

If you don’t have an account, you can still search Tumblr for interesting ideas and beautiful images. Just visit Tumblr.com, type a word or phrase into the search box on the right and see what happens. You might find posts about libraries, recipes, football (or soccer in the US), trees, interior design or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Help & Resources

Finding Jobs & Careers Online

While we’re on the topic of finding things online, let’s look at some of the better job and career resources out there. From mechanic to teacher to nurse’s aid to architect, there are employment resources and job finding sites for every career.

What Are They?

Job listing/career sites tend to fall into three categories:

  • Job ads sites just have job listings – an online classifieds section.
  • Career resources may have some job listings, but they’re mostly there to help you with the skills of finding a job: writing resumes & cover letters, interviewing, networking and more.
  • Combination sites have lots of job listings and some skill-building resources, especially resume and cover letter tips.

Each type of site is useful, depending on where you are in your career and what your needs are right now.

Job Ads Sites

These online classifieds will give you tons of possible opportunities…and that’s it.

  • Craigslist.org – one of the most well-known places to find local job listings. There’s a special Craigslist for cities around the world, such as boston.craigslist.org. You can also find volunteer opportunities, internships and other non-primary employment listings.
  • Online newspapers – Most major newspapers have an online version and they still have their job classifieds.
  • Simply Hired – a new database of job listings, they also have average salary and job trend information.
  • Indeed.com looks and works like Google search, extremely simple to use and to save search alerts to be sent to your email.
  • USAJobs.gov is the official US government site for Federal jobs and employment information.
  • You can also look for job listings from organizations and associations. LISjobs is a national library job listing site; HCareers (Hospitality Works) covers any hotel or hospitality field, including cruise ships and resorts.
  • Different kinds of careers and fields have their own sites, like CoolWorks.com (“Jobs in Great Places”). Use a search engine to find sites for the jobs you’re looking for.

Combination Sites

Each of these sites has job listings, but they also have many articles on writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing dos and don’ts,

Career Resources

  • LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It’s one way you can develop the connections you need to get recommendations and find jobs using those personal links.
  • About.com Job Search offers articles and resources for every part of the job search, from listings to acceptance letters.
  • Your local public library has many books, DVDs and online resources available to help you in your job search, and they may offer resume writing and interviewing workshops.
  • One of those resources may be Career Transitions, a career resources database that uses Indeed.com to find job listings as well. If your library has Career Transitions, definitely check out the Interview Simulator, where you answer questions and get feedback about your answers.

For Employers

If you’re not looking to find a new job, but to hire folks into your jobs, nearly every single one of these resources has something for you. Check out the listings sites for tips on getting good applicants using their site, and the career resources sites for thoughts on retaining good employees.

Help & Resources

Online Audio – Podcasts

Unlike online video and photos, online audio comes in a few different forms. We’ll look at each of them in the next few weeks of Learning for Life Online.

What Is It?

Podcasts are audio broadcasts used to spread the word across the social web. Podcasts are created by professionals, amateurs or anyone with access to a computer and a microphone, and can be on any topic under the sun.

What makes podcasts different is that new podcasts usually come out daily or weekly, with a changing topic or guest speaker. You can subscribe to podcasts through a service like iTunes or through your RSS feed reader, or listen to the cast directly at its site.

As a note, podcasts are different than streaming audio or internet radio. Podcasts have distinct starting and ending points, while streaming audio flows like a river of sound. Our next post will discuss streaming audio online.

How Is It Useful?

Podcasts are a great way to get news updates, to listen to a weekly show, and keep your music updated and fresh. Most importantly, once you’ve subscribed to a podcast, it comes to you automatically as it comes out – you don’t need to keep going and getting the latest episode yourself.

One of the most natural podcast sources is radio. NPR’s podcast directory is a testament to the continuing appeal of well-created audio-only news and entertainment. Find other sources of radio podcasts at PublicRadioFan.com or using your favorite search engine.

Speaking of radio, have you ever heard of live radio dramas? Before television, these terrifying or hysterically funny shows were audio-only entertainment on radio stations around the world, full of special sound effects and live music. Thanks to the internet, they’ve made a comeback in the form of podcasts. Local to Boston, the Post Meridian Radio Players bring live radio drama to the air with its science fiction series The Mask of Inanna and its stage and studio horror performances of Tomes of Terror and p.m..

Other podcasts from traditional media include Nature magazine, the New York Times, PodMed (the Johns Hopkins Medicine News Roundup), C-Span, BusinessWeek and Sesame Street!

If you enjoy running for exercise or for fun, check out the Podrunner podcats from DJ Steve Boyett. These weekly podcasts feature free music mixes for an hour of workout time, either for running or interval training. You can subscribe to Podrunner directly through iTunes or another service, or use the new iPhone/iTouch app to get to the music directly.

Try It Out

How do you find all of these podcasts?

  • Ask friends, family or coworkers to recommend podcasts about topics you have in common.
  • See if your favorite news/entertainment/educational station has podcasts available on its website.
  • If you use iTunes, just click on the Podcasts tab in the iTunes Store to find thousands of possibilities.
  • Search a podcast directory site such as Podcast Alley, Podcast Bunker or Podcast.com to look for podcasts on particular subjects.
  • If all that fails, use your favorite search engine to look for “a subject of your choice” AND “podcast” and you’ll turn up more results than you’d thought possible. For instance, check out a podcast on hockey, knitting or travel.

Help & Resources

Search and Maps

Now that we’ve covered the main tools used by the Learning for Life Online program, let’s get to some of the other basic tools of the web.

What Is It?

Search: A search engine is any site that helps you search for other websites based on words you choose. Google, Bing and Yahoo! are the three most popular search engines (right now), but there are many others.

Maps & Directions: One of the most useful resources online, searchable maps provide current information and step-by-step directions from wherever you are to wherever you’d like to get to. They’ll even help you get from the Boston Public Library to Tokyo, Japan, provided you can “kayak across the Pacific Ocean” (steps #26 and #42). Google Maps, Mapquest, Bing Maps, Yahoo! Maps and others are part of the major search engines. Rand McNally and National Geographic are two print publishers who also provide searchable online maps.

How Is It Useful?

Search engines are the only way to find anything on the internet. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s mostly true. There are millions upon millions of websites out there, and there is no comprehensive “directory to the internet.” What’s interesting is that each search engine uses a slightly different way to find sites and show results, so if you want to make sure you’ve found everything about a subject that’s online, use as many search engines as you can to go looking.

A paper map is great, but online maps have a few advantages. First, they can be updated much more quickly than published paper maps or even map software on your computer. Second, they can provide street maps, aerial views of buildings and landmarks and street-level views for the same location, to help make finding a place in real life extremely easy. Better still, type in the address (or general location) you’re coming from and where you want to go and you can get turn-by-turn directions on how to get there. You can add multiple locations and create a personalized road trip itinerary.

Try It Out

Using a search engine or a map is as easy as typing into the search bar and clicking Search. Try any of the ones below, and remember to click on buttons to see what happens next, especially on the maps. Search for different combinations of words about the same topic or location and see how the results change. We’ll cover some advanced and specific search techniques in a future Learning for Life Online post.

Google | Google Maps
Bing | Bing Maps
Yahoo! | Yahoo! Maps
AOL | Mapquest