Desktop: Searching for fame

The Hollywood "Walk of Fame." Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The Post Office's "Most Wanted" wall poster. And now, the Rollyo "High Roller" searchlist. What do all these have in common?

By DAVID SHAMAH
May 10, 2006 10:50
4 minute read.
walk of fame 88

walk of fame 88. (photo credit: )

 
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The Hollywood "Walk of Fame." Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The Post Office's "Most Wanted" wall poster. And now, the Rollyo "High Roller" searchlist. What do all these have in common? Well, getting into one of the above venerable institutions means that you've made it - you're a star! Only one problem, though: They don't just put anyone on the Walk of Fame or in the Wax Museum. You have to actually do something fameworthy in order to get into these big deal institutions. The same goes for the Post Office wall - you've got to pull off a real fancy caper in order to get on the top 10 bad guy list. They won't include just any old crook in that most exclusive club (believe me, I've tried!). But that Rollyo thing - that might be the "in" simple folk like us need in order to become part of the wonderful world of celebrities. Rollyo, for those who may not know, is a Web service that allows you to create your own personalized search engine on any subject under the sun - and at the same time, associate with the likes of big shots like fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg, political commentator Ariana Huffington and media digerati Jeff Jarvis, to name just a few - and become a high roller, just like them! With its billions of sites, the Web has become the natural place to turn for information about nearly any subject. Large search engines like Google and Yahoo have their little search bots running 24/7, gathering data on sites and reporting back to the database, which you tap into when you conduct your search. Unfortunately, though, finding what you need isn't always so easy. The data you need are definitely out there - the problem is getting to the right site, ferreting out the useful Web pages from the ones that might mention the term you searched for, but in a totally useless, completely irrelevant context. Because of the large number and near-instant results you get when you do a Google or Yahoo search, it's easy to give more credit to the search engine than it deserves. The truth is, computers are dumb, and so are Web site indexing databases - and as a result, the result you get is only as good as the inquiry you make. There are dozens of sites like the one at http://tinyurl.com/dnhc3 which will teach you special terms (called operators) that will return more accurate results from Google; and http://tinyurl.com/rtgr will take you to the Yahoo advanced search page, where, if you fill out all the boxes, you might have an easier time of finding what you want. Using these tricks isn't so easy, though, and most users won't - and don't - avail themselves of such techniques, which means they end up slogging their way through pages and pages of irrelevant results in order to get to the information "gold mine at the end of the tunnel." There is another way around this dilemma - and that is to get your search engine to check only the most relevant sites. For example, if you were checking up on a news story about the mayor of Jerusalem's stand on the local education budget, it's most likely you'd find that information on a few choice sites, like http://www.jpost.com. There's no need to waste time and energy checking The Sacramento Bee. But if you use Google or Yahoo to search for the story, there's no simple way to tell those search engines "check only in the most relevant Web sites and ignore the ones that would be unlikely to carry local Israeli news." That's where Rollyo comes in; Rollyo allows you to "roll your own" search engine, ensuring that only the most relevant sites are searched - and the most relevant information returned. When you sign up for this service at the Rollyo site (http://rollyo.com), you are invited to create your own "searchroll," the site's term for a mini-search engine that will let you check up to 25 sites within the search. For example, if you wanted to search for news about Israel, you'd include the local newspapers like The Jerusalem Post, a page like Topix.net's Israel search (http://www.topix.net/world/israel), PRNewsire (http://www.prnewswire.com/), maybe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa), etc. Save your new "engine" in your free Rollyo account, and the next time you need to search for news, don't log onto Google or Yahoo; log onto Rollyo, and you'll find that your mini search will return far more relevant and useful information than the "brand name" search engines ever did! Besides creating search engines, you can also check out those created by other users and add them to your account. And don't forget that fame thing; if you put together a really cool search engine used by many other Rollyo folk, you, too, can join the ranks of other high rollers like actresses Rosario Dawson (Rent) and Debra Messing (Will and Grace), astronaut Russell Schweikart (Apollo 9), and author Brian Greene (The Fabric of the Cosmos), among others. Forget Hollywood - with Rollyo, you have a much better chance of getting into the celebrity pages. And even if you don't, you'll save yourselves gobs of time using your new, slim and trim customized search engine! Questions? write Ds@newzgeek.com. Also check out http://www.newzgeek.com.

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