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Generation LinuX, Part 2--Web Research - page 3

Web Research Skills are Important

  • March 30, 2006
  • By Rob Reilly

A child has many nice choices for a browser. The Open Source world has Firefox, Mozilla, and Konqueror. Other are available although less well known.

Firefox is cutting edge, has a nice clean look, and supports a growing plug-in culture. It has advanced pop-up and spam filtering capabilities.

Mozilla is a nearly bulletproof browser, integrating email, an address book, and an HTML editor into the package.

Konqueror is the native browser for the KDE desktop environment. It displays almost any type of page and has specialized features, like the Speak Text option, mentioned earlier.

Lynx is the highly acclaimed text based browser. Although a kid might not take to Lynx, it's another option for them, courtesy of Open Source.

Browsers give kids the ability to see a Web page. Finding pages is easy, too; just use a search engine.

Google is the king of search engines and can return a massive number of query results. Dogpile, Yahoo, Lycos, and AOL create well stocked lists as well.

Google also has a wealth of options, to help pare down the lists of search results.

A couple of search terms that I regularly use are the double quotes (") and the plus sign (+). The double quotes enclose phrases. If you want to search for a phrase like 'the Moon is blue', simply enclose it in double quotes. If you want to force including a word in a search use the plus sign in front of the word. For example, if you only want to find sites with Linux and applications, add a plus sign in front of each word.

Other search terms you can use are daterange (don't forget that it's a Julian date) and allinurl (finds a text string in the URL). Take a look at the Google API.

After Google and the other search engines come the specialty sites. These cater to particular topics. Great examples include NewsForge.com, LinuxToday.com and O'Reilly Network. These sites highlight happenings for the Open Source, Linux, and networking crowd. Others like Slashdot, Robots.net, and Sciencedaily.com cover other high tech topics.

All of these sites are wholesome fare for the budding technologist.

A good exercise is to spend a little time together Web searching for topics of interest to your child. You could even branch out on non-techie related searches. Use the search engines first, then track some of the more specialized sites. Use the bookmark features in their browser to build their own customized lists of frequently visited sites. Be patient though, finding regularly updated content, that your child can use, can be a challenge.

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