portalbasic searching → essays.htm   This is a windrose
~ Searching Essays ~
Updated April 2009

Don't underestimate the importance of this section of searchlores: there is a considerable wealth of searching knowledge inside the following essays. Your time invested in reading them will be paid back in spades (of course with the only value seekers acknowledge: knowledge).    Beware of your own ignorance. The reasons we fail to learn are complacency, misplaced priorities, or the misperception that we already know everything... some people are always "too busy to learn" (or they're watching reruns on TV). Some of the following contributions may be more valuable than others, yet all of them offer real "perls of seeking wisdom" within.

This section of searchlores is extremely instructured: "Diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis". Some older links are still missing. Some essays should be moved to the images section, to the accmail part or to the anonymity part of my site; others should prolly go elsewhere. This is just a "central cauldron" of searching essays. Some may become obsolete, other are perennial. Bear with us :-)

 ! [Recent "golden" essays (2000-2009)]  ! 
[Older "silver" essays & tools ]

[Kane's "How to Host Files on Free Services"]
[A+heist's "How to research, evaluate and collate web material"]
[Mordred's & Jeff's "The importance of persistence: a case study"]
[+Malattia's "Powerbrowsing!"]
[Robin Hood's stratagems] [Surreal5's search tips]
[Cassandra's search engines] [The_Seeker's "Accmail update"]
[Fiat Lux's "Common knowledge tips"]
[Essays about proxying]

The "golden" searching essays
A wealth of knowledge at your disposal!

Older essays, tools and papers
Essays, tools and papers about search- and reversing-related matters

[ultrae2.htm]: An interesting tool: BRW(32-bit reverse engineering)
by fravia+
May 1997

[mammop5.htm]: Customizing Netscape's buttons and menus (Resource editing galore)
by Mammon_
September 1997

[oldiegoo.htm]: Oldies but Goodies A Dos Game CD-check with Sourcer 7
by FootSteps
March 1998

[new_0101.htm]: How to search: The phf exploit
by +Thor
April 1998

[boyd1.htm]: Fravia's copy of G.E.Boyd's E-Mail Servers Listing
by G.E.Boyd
June 1998, updated July 1999
unvaluable list, if you know or learn how to use these beasts. Boyd is a (the :-) famous master accmailer.
Added in July 1999:
The importance of Accmail, by fravia+
[kmart_s1.htm]: More searching tips (Advanced searching)
by Kmart
December 1998
Advanced tips for advanced searchers, if you use these search techniques you can find yourself getting quite a bit of class A, quality info
[magicfi.htm] : The Art of Guessing
by .Sozni
October 1999
"I can't believe how many hidden sites I have explored just by guessing stuff "
[snooz.htm]: Snooz metasearch
by Craig Carey
January 2000
Look at the source, luke!
[bonedi1.htm]: Uncommon sense will increase your privacy; common sense will just make you common.
by Bone Digger
February 2000
Fundamental reading for anonymity concerned.
[crackzs1.htm]: Searching for a (very important) program: Softice
by Crackz
February 2000
Fundamental reading for software reversers.
[spiderja.htm]: A Tale of the Spider in a Jar
by Servo
February 2000
Fundamental reading for searchers, seekers and spider experts.
[rumstea1.htm]: GetRight lores
by Rumsteack
February 2000
Avoid "pandora boxes" and gather hidden links the GetRight way...
[tsecoper.htm]: Copernic 4.1 reversing ~  "If Unregistered then ads"
by +Tsehp
February 2000
A small nice step against ugly "Eyeball grasping"...
[learmp31.htm]: Getting da mp3 beef
by TheLearner_
February 2000
Could indeed be of some use for all kind of searches - not only in order to find mp3 files
[evillin.htm]: Evil nicks that people use on the net
by eidan yoson
March 2000
There are some stalking lessons to be drawn from this essay... part reality cracking, part anonymity lore: a strange little essay between all the various "lores"
[realicra/virtualga.htm]: Truth Searching: the Chechnya example
by -IPFreely
March 2000
A good reality cracking ~ propaganda countering ~ seeking lores essay
[lucksea1.htm]: How luck works with searching
by event=horizon
April 2000
"With time there comes a "feeling" for seeing minor details. And then there comes the intuition behind it"
[scan_php.htm]: a php network security scanner
by Devergranne
May 2000
"While you can forget about cgi's for security reasons, many trust php to be a more secure language. In fact it is not."
[son_33_1.htm]: Javascript obscure conversion
by sonofsamiam
May 2000
"various ip-obfuscation functions by sonofsamiam"
[teport_2.htm]: Teleport Pro 1.29, malware galore
by Faulpelz
May 2000
"The importance of this essay does not lie in the detail I discovered, but in the typical problem you have nowadays, everytime you conntect to the internet: You'll never know what happens in the background... (and this applies to each Software/Process that is running on your windoze System)"
[badlywri.htm]: What search engines don't index and why
by Rumsteack
May 2000 "useful for people who don't know the problems the search engines encounter when indexing web sites"
You'll quickly understand how useful the robots.txt file can be :-)
[c_fourth.htm]: Spelunking altavista's acronyms
by ~S~ Humphrey P., Gregor Samsa & Iefaf
June 2000
A fundamental 'search engines reversing' classroom. (For advanced seekers).
[hump_man.htm]: Getting a list of ALL the IPs that are hosted at the -say- Isle of Man
by ~S~ Humphrey P.
June 2000 "I thought there would be less government with little places"
there's more than one DNS lookup :-)
(For advanced seekers).
[bg_weird.htm]: The weird ways of searching and the weird findings
by ~S~ Svd.
June 2000 "those that do speak another language do not only say "differently" the same things they see in a different way the world and the time around them as well."
(For advanced seekers).
[rums_01.htm]: Getting the SIZE of the search engines
by Rumsteack
July 2000 "Each search engine can be "reversed" differently. It's up to you to find the "magic queries"!!"
(path opening).
[sonof_01.htm]: Feed the search engines with synonyms
by sonofsamiam
July 2000 "broaden your search results by using synonyms for words you are unsure about"
(For advanced seekers).
[scrbug.htm]: Looking behind the curtains of server side scripts
by DQ, August 2000
"ways to retrieve sources of ASP & PHP scripts"
(For advanced seekers).
[scan_reb.htm]: A simple REBOL scanner
by -Sp!ke, September 2000
"ways to retrieve hidden files, pages, zips, images"
(For curious seekers).
[impo_web.htm]: The importance of Webrings for combing purposes
by Lorenzo Gatti, October 2000
"This leaves webrings to motivated people, likely to offer good contents (if not, they wouldn't put themselves on display) and likely to cluster sites in the appropriate rings for their topics (often there are mailing lists etc. behind a webring)"

Fravia's own lessons
[Quite old stuff, now obsolete, see my recent workshops (2000-2001) or my 're-ranking' trilogy (in fieri - 2002) instead]

redlesson_5 ~ General use of agora, http:// retrieving ~ July 1996
redlesson_6 ~ Ftping files, agora queries and emailing altavista ~ December 1996
redlesson_7 ~ W3gate, search spiders, error messages and evaluation of results ~ March 1997
redlesson_8 ~ Advanced searching techniques (combing and klebing) ~ November 1997
redlesson_9 ~ Searching effectively ~ Site monitoring ~ January 1998
redlesson_10 ~ Let the bots search for you ~ and build your own search-bots :-) ~ June 1998

Robin Hood's lessons
Well, from the dark webwoods of Sherwood, all of a sudden, Robin Hood has sent me three 'promising' how to search lessons that you should by all means read (and head). I'm very happy that good searchers start to contribute to this section, and hope that many other searchers and stalkers will add their own findings. In fact effectively web searching means to master techniques that are far from obvious and that anyone seriously intentioned in reversing should master. So I'm very happy to host here these "how to search" redlessons and stratagems by Robin hood.
In fact, believe it or not, on the Web ther are some 'rangers' like in Tollkien's books, people that are neither proper hackers nor crackers, but that know how to fetch what they want, if needs be. Robin Hood seems to be one of them and I'm glad that he decided to start helping us.

Surreal5's lessons
Well, Surreal5's lessons (and his introduction) that you'll find [here], are IMO very important for their "approaches" and because of the techniques they deal with. Their specific subjects - basically how to find warez - are not so important. Nevertheless, since warez ARE on the web (much too much, IMO) why shouldn't you learn how to find them?

This is what Surreal5 wrote t me:

I've tried to organise this (provisorial) essay so, that both beginners and advanced users can get something out of each lesson, and can almost directly use it. Even if you are already an expert on how to find the example types i used, you may get something out of it, a different perspective, something you hadn't thought of. I like Robin Hoods tutorial, he has a broader experience than i do, but i feel my lessons give faster results, with less effort spent on learning boolean ,and other tool specifics. Consider this a crash course if you will. Consider it a preliminary to Robin Hoods tutorial. Consider it an alternative view from a lazy guy who wants results fast ;)

Methodolgically ('Nethodologically'? :-) Surreal5's documents are very important essays. I have tried myself some of his tips... for instance, if you need to navigate and find goodies inside huge 'messy' sites (like mine :-) you just add/update the relevant starting urls to a couple of quick (and reliable) search engines and let their robots do all the work for you!
Alternatively, I may add, I found these lessons, re-reading them in the new Millennium, of significant "general" importance, as I write (in February 2000) re-introducing them [here].

Cassandra's search engines
No good 'how to search' section would make any sense without some good 'homemade' search engines... of course you can always learn how to use better the main ones, for instance on my own redsearch redengines pages, yet there is another interesting solution by Cassandra, here it is:

Here you have Cassandra's redstalker
and here you have Cassandra's redfetcher

They are still in a experimental phase, so bear with us and let's hope that cassandra will send some updates

This is what Cassandra wrote to me:
I have divided my work in two parts : the Fetcher and the Stalker.
The Fetcher provides an easy-to-use access to various search engines:
  Altavista, Yahoo, HotBot, Lycos, Infoseek, webcrawler, Dogpile, FTP
search, ASK SINA (an ftpsearch-like with a database containing records of
germany sites, mostly), Northern Light Search (recommanded by US army,
although it's not supposed to mean anything), Goto (formerly WWW Worm).

The stalker provides gateways to finger and whois, along with the 'dejanews
search filter' without all the ugly grafix. It's not really developped, for
stalking matter is related to the country your prey lives in.

btw, Fetcher uses frames (yes, frames!), but in a clever way : you'r never
jailed in a small portion of your browser window. If used sparingly, frames
can be useful.

Of couse, each one might grow with engines or stalking services. But i'll
develop it only if you or someone else you could give it to is interested
and find it worth growing.
Well, I hope that this 'search engines' form approach will be developed too. I'm sure my readers will immediately understand the practicality and the convenience of having some single, well tuned, search engine forms, without having to use the awful commercial entrances, delayed by all the crap advertisement they put on (as if they would not gather enough money and power just LOOKING at what people search :-(

The_Seeker's "Accmail update"

[Available lessons]

You'll find quite a treasure [here]

Fiat Lux "Common knowledge tips"

[Secure surfing info]

You'll find a wealth of knowledge [here]


The web grows, the main search engines, while indexing only a small part of Internet, do indeed add to their indexes more and more stuff... and we are submerged with waves of commercial crap everytime we use them. Thus the need of 're-ranking' the results we get. There are various approaches, as you will see. I have worked on this, while preparing a new cycle of conferences: "Advanced searching: how to find webdiamonds among the commercial Sargassos"
If your university is located in a nice gastronomical habitat, by all means invite me
  • [yoyo1.htm]: The yo-yo approach by fravia+ (Tackling the 'down yonder' problem: a discussion about search engines' "depth"), part one of the re-ranking trilogy

  • [synecdoc.htm]: The synecdochical searching method by fravia+ (substituting a part for the whole when searching), part two of the re-ranking trilogy

  • [epanalep.htm]: The epanaleptical approach (and other fuzzy searching tricks), by fravia+, part three of the re-ranking trilogy

This stuff is in fieri, duh

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