Can’t Find It? Help me! Need answers? No problem.

You’ve tried every possible Boolean combination of four simple friggin’ keywords. You’ve scanned 176 Web pages. It’s CRAZY!
Don’t despair! It’s not your fault. It’s my fault and I haven’t given up on you yet. Note: If you’re having a help emergency please jump to the end of this post, call 911, or visit

We’ve all been where you are right now: bleary eyed, hair tousled, hands shaking, blood pressure through the roof. Some of us got so mad that we dedicated our lives to getting a job at, Gotdotnet, MSDN, TechNet, MSN Search, Yahoo!, Clusty, Google, or Ask Jeeves. Believe me, we feel your pain. We’re working on it.

Bad News: you can’t find the answser.
Good News: you will find the answer if you’re patient.
Good News: you do not have to keep looking for the answer today!

So why can’t you find the answer today?

  1. You’re unique. I’m not kidding. The reason you can’t find the information you’re looking for could very well be that you’re one of the first people to ask for it using the keywords you’re using. If this is the case, you’re in luck! Keep reading.

  2. The information is not yet online. While rare, this does occur. Only a small fraction of the information in the world is actually online. Think about the information on your computer, the photos on your desk, and the documents in your file cabinet. Little of this information, which somebody, somewhere is looking for, is on the Internet. Again, don’t despair! If you’re anything like me, some of the information that you own will be online sometime soon. In my case, I maintain a blog queue: a word document where I paste notes, photos, code snippets, random thoughts, URLs to cool sites like, and news that is no longer news. My blog queue is like a jar of nuts, bolts, screws, watch batteries, wires, thumb tacks, Chinese coins, and wrist watch innards that I know I’ll someday use. If you were to assemble all of the blog queues in the world and dump them online, your question would probably be answered. 

  3. We suck. Much of the information that is available on the Internet is not indexed by search engines like MSN Search. For example, the site that my colleagues Betsy Aoki, Jim Newkirk, Sandy Khaund and I work on,, contains thousands of files in User Samples that contain valuable information that nobody indexes, not even us! For example, if you search for "iFilter" on Gotdotnet or MSN Search, there are 26 instances of that keyword in User Samples files that are not returned. Why? I’ll leave that for another post. However, you can rest assured that we’re working on correcting the problem. I stress that our inadequacy is not unique.

If you are not yet an MSDN Universal subscriber, you are but you’ve already consumed your four free Microsoft support calls for the year, or you can’t afford to call Microsoft support services, AND you can wait for a few hours or days, I recommend trying out a "Future Search".

A Future Search is an online search engine that scans millions of Web sites a day looking for user-entered search strings, just like yours. When it finds a match, it notifies you by either RSS or email. Future Search engines are the wave of the future, pun intended. My favorite future search engines are:

PubSub and Feedster

If you are a normal netizen like my mom, use PubSub. If you are a blog geek like me and you have an aggregator like SharpReader or RSSBandit installed and running 24x7, go to, perform your search, and then click "Subscribe to Search" or "Get Search by Email". Good luck.

My favorite future search is what I call the EgoSearch. Omniscience is at your fingertips...

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