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10 Unique Search Engines That Serve Very Unique Purposes

10 Unique Search Engines That Serve Very Unique Purposes

So your Google searches just return slash-fiction, you find Bing far from beautiful, and Yahoo is, well, Yahoo. Where do you turn to find all that mega-specific information you needed for that witty blog post? Have no fear: we’re here to help. Below is a list of 10 of the most obscure, specific, niche search engines available on the internet:

The Way Back Machine

Do you have an urge to see what The Guardian looked like in 2006? Or yearn to experience Yahoo as it was 16 years ago? Do you have a lot of free time on your hands? Then The Way Back Machine is for you. Essentially a collection of screen grabs since the dawn of time (or at least the internet), you can go back and catch-all those memes you missed the first time round. So nostalgic it hurts.

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Blekko

If you’re all about customization, Blekko is the place to be. On one level, it’s a regular search engine. On another, it’s a user-designed tech-gasm. Add your own sources; make use of their (slightly confusing) slashtag system to create an engine that is all about you. Impressed? We were.

Artcyclopedia

Now take a wild guess as to what this search engine could possibly do. If you said ‘look up all artists and their work’, you’re both right and an idiot for answering a rhetorical question. Basically, the most-comprehensive artist database on the web, a search will return images, articles and – best of all – listings for galleries all over the world housing specific paintings.

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Oh My God LOL!!!

Are you an objectively awful person? Do you still have icanhascheezburger bookmarked in your antique copy of IE 6? Check out ohmygodlol, a search engine devoted to dredging up ‘funny’ pics from all over the internet. Upside down cats, horses pulling faces, badly-spelled slogans, it’s all here and it’s all horrible. For those who cannot let an old meme die.

Wacko Search

A novel twist on the tired ‘search engines finding what you were looking for’ formula; Wacko Search deliberately sets out to supply you with the wrong answers. How delightfully quirky! You might be thinking, if you’re a desiccated, soulless husk of a human being.

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Chilling Effects

Finally, we emerge from the disease-ridden bowels of internet ‘humor’ to find something really useful. Chilling Effects tracks the attempts by angry, uptight people to silence internet free-speech, allowing you to search a particular subject-area and follow links to various resources. Also of interest is their regular ‘weather report’ measuring the barometer of online censorship. Chilling indeed.

Complete Planet

The ‘front door to the deep web’, Complete Planet allows you to search over 70,000 databases not indexed by ordinary search engines. Great for finding absurdly specific topical information you might not otherwise be able to access.

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Horror Find

So it’s Halloween and once again, you’ve failed to prepare anything. Luckily, Horror Find is here to help you find, well, take a wild guess. A not-very-vast database of all things creepy, kooky and spooky; featuring a design that looked cool once, in 1998, Horror Find is the last word in tacky.

Million Short

Now this is an ingenious idea: Million Short removes the first million search engine results, leaving you with the rarely indexed, the neglected, and the downright weird. At least, that’s the idea. When we tried, searching for ‘Red Dwarf’ the first result was the official fan site: whether that’s a testament to Million Short’s uselessness or Red Dwarf’s ever-declining popularity we can only guess.

Wolfram Alpha

An attempt to create a logical search engine dedicated to finding answers, Wolfram Alpha still has a long way to go. While typing in ‘what is the meaning of life the universe and everything’ gets you the single result ‘42’ (good), typing in almost anything else just confuses the hell out of it (bad). Couple this with advertising even our adblocker can’t dispose of and the whole set up begins to seem just a tad less impressive. Nice homepage though.

Featured photo credit:  Finding your way in a challenging environment via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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