Is searching losing relevance to ITpros?

One of the (and still) annoying things in installing updates is the cryptic error codes you get.  And then you begin the process of the “google”.  It used to be that Google searching was the premier way to find on point tech support help.  Now days with the overload of blogs, web forums and what not, it’s not quite as good as it used to be.


I agrued with someone the other day that blogs are “single voices” and that I’m not convinced that blogs are the greatest tech support resource.  In this blog alone, I am not reflecting the “voice” of one, but of many as I’m diving into the Microsoft NNTP newsgroups (both public and partner) and pulling out nuggets and blogging them. If I just looked to my own resources, you wouldn’t have as much tech stuff up here.  This is my technical filing cabinet as well as my rant box.  If you found some technical nugget here, while sometimes I personally hit the issue, there’s other times I’m just documenting stuff I’ve found from all the various support resources. 


Now in fairness, when asking for help, sometimes a blog gives a unique venue unlike a newsgroup that frowns on html.  One of the advantages of a more lenient blog or web forum is the use of images so that others can see exactly what you are seeing.  Of course that does mean you need to provide legible images.  Like …the other day I saw a blog post asking for help on an error code and the image was so fuzzy that you could barely make it out that it was a  a 0x80070643 which googles up to the KB of How to troubleshoot Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and Windows Server Update Services installation issues: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906602.  If you’ll notice around the newsgroup we ask for a lot of “what’s the exact error” and “scan the log files” or “send me the log files”.


So while here’s the “how to post something to a newsgroup” http://www.sbslinks.com/BeforePosting.htm, I’m still googling by going to the Google groups, then to advanced search and THEN to the public newsgroup of microsoft.public.windows.server.sbs.  But these days unless you are doing a targeted search I’m finding that even when I do the trick of “only search on the domain of microsoft.com” you get a ton load of web forum posts that may or may not be on point. 


I feel like searching is getting a bit too “noisy” these days.  I want a search engine that will give me ‘just’ technical web site posts and not comments in blogs or web forums.  Because while Web 2.0 is driving user generated content…there’s alot of stuff out here that just isn’t relevant.  Even in my own blog…there’s some posts that are just not technical enough to be hitting google like it does.  We’ve turned on this search engine monster and now we can’t turn it off or target it well enough right now.


I do a lot of searching and it’s beginning to slide down a bit on the relevance meter and I find that I’m having to come up with ways around the slide.  Kevin Beares came up with one with a Search Macro and I think we need more of those “targeted searches for ITPros” ideas.  Some folks look to search as a revenue generator but I use it for destinations.  I never buy anything from the targeted ads.  Maybe there’s a bit of a subliminal blip that’s stuck in my head, but otherwise I don’t think for me those ads work.


(And this post reminds me I still need to post up the community links for all the newsgroups, yahoogroups, websites, blogs and what not… I even had someone join the SmallbizIT group saying that they were tired of googling and wanted to ask the questions directly.)


So are you in search overload like me?  Or is it just me?

One Thought on “Is searching losing relevance to ITpros?

  1. This is interesting – there is some potential that 2007 MOSS may offer some features to help with targeted searches. I was experimenting with it a couple of days ago and created a content source that was made up of some of the SBS blogs, like yours and David Overton’s. The idea has promise but the MOSS content crawler just killed the performance of my (virtual) server and I had to turn it off again. But someone with a bigger box could do this, then publish a search page that just searched technical SBS-related material by crawling blogs by category (instead of just indexing all the content). Sort of like a mini-Google just for SBSers.

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