Archive for January, 2007

What’s that tune?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

In August last year, matttpotter1-ga asked Google Answers for help identifying a song used in epic movie trailers. He was even brave enough to post a movie and sound file of himself trying to sing the tune.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to help him with that particular tune, but there are some resources that can help in many cases.

Music search site midomi lets you search for music by singing or humming part of a song into your microphone. SongTapper lets you search for music by hitting the spacebar in time with the notes.

MusiPedia, which bills itself as the Open Music Encyclopedia, lets you search by keyboard, note contour, singing, whistling or rhythm. The singing search is a Java application for which my browser didn’t recognise the security certificate, so I didn’t try it, but I was able to get it to find Frere Jacques using keyboard search, and Amarillo using contour search.

Then there’s Themefinder, the one to use if you understand musical notation. You can search by pitch, interval, scale degree (“do re mi”), note contour, key and meter. I got good results with this one, except that its repetoire is limited to a few well-known classical composers and a sprinkling of folk music.

Tunespotting lets you search by creating a rough musical score on the screen, or by playing your keyboard as if it were a piano.

[Thanks to Google Blogoscoped and Bobbie7 for these tips]

What’s that book?

Saturday, January 27th, 2007


Are you trying to identify a book?

Perhaps it’s an almost-forgotten book from your childhood, which you enjoyed greatly but about which you remember only the vaguest details. Perhaps it’s a book you browsed in a bookshop and intended to buy later, but you can’t remember the crucial details. Perhaps it’s a book you glimpsed somewhere, or that someone recommended to you, and you thought you’d like to check it out some time.

A service at aims to identify your book for you. The service is free, funded by advertising and bookstore affiliate links. It’s run by former Google Answers researcher juggler-ga, who answered over 2000 questions for the now-defunct service, including many questions about books.

At, anyone can browse existing questions and answers, but you need to register if you want to ask a question or post a comment on someone else’s question.

Meanwhile, work is continuing apace by other former GARs on a paid question-and-answer style research service. Stay tuned!

The President’s 17,000 Year Mistake

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

As long as we’re highlighting the erudite Mr. Probonopublico, I thought I’d make mention of his witty retelling of a slight mishap at the Washington DC Millennium celebration that I attended:

Air Force One (formely Pafalafa-ga) – our Man in Washington – has previously warned about Time Differences.

As you will recall, Dave (that’s a great title for a movie about a Prez) told us that, in 1999, he spent the New Year’s Eve in The White House trying to teach the Prez how to tell the time so that they could celebrate the New Millennium …

Anyway, the Prez had a kind of cheap-looking lighted panel that counted down the time remaining in smallish numbers, and in large numbers it

The Prez and I counted off the last ten seconds, and when the magic moment came, some software program added one to the ‘1999’, so that the display now read……19991

So, the clock was only off by some 17,000 years or so. But, of course, the Prez never noticed.

Hope that this helps.

Hard to believe that was 7 years ago…er, make than 17,007 years ago…already.


The long tail of Google Answers

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Google Answers may be dead (sorry, “retired”), but some of its questions have taken on a life of their own. Prolific Google Answers customer and commenter probonopublico-ga tells this story in the GA Alumni Association group:

I had an amazing experience this week.

I had asked two questions on Google Answers last Sept/Oct about a man I believed to be an MI5 agent during the Thirties and Forties.

The Researcher (Answerfinder-ga) produced great answer including a name but (understandably) not his date of death which I needed in order to get a Death Certificate – which might have the effect of persuading the Home Office to open his file under the FOI.

His daughter had seen my questions and contacted Google Answers who refused to give her my details.

However, after Google Answers was ‘retired’ at the end of 2006, she found ‘the real me’ through this site and she then contacted me earlier this week via my own website.

Accordingly, I’ve now ordered a Death Certificate and she’s also giving me stacks of information about her Dad who’s a really interesting guy.

More than I could ever have hoped for!

One Link Answer – Former Google Answers Researcher Offers Free Answers Service

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

At the end of 2006, Google retired its Google Answers feature, yet some of its more prolific researchers are continuing to make information easy to locate on the Internet.

One such researcher is Henry Marcos. Known to Google Answers clients as “easterangel-ga” Marcos continues to be known as Easterangel at One Link Answer, a website where he has launched a free Internet research service.

One Link Answer offers a unique spin on Internet research. While free answer sites have proliferated on the internet (EX: Yahoo Answers and Amazon’s Askville), One Link Answer has a slightly different angle as a free service; Marcos provides solid research in the form of a single link.

“I’m offering a professional, free service at One Link Answer based on the best, single source possible on the Internet.” said Marcos. “Too many answer sites may boast that they are free, but the quality of their researchers’ responses are not up to par with solid research.”

Marcos added that he believes there is room for professionalism even in a free service, and that utilizing the skills of a professional researcher is the best choice.

“The Internet is still a difficult place to navigate because of its complexity,” he said, “and the ever-growing number of spam directories will distort search results for most people.”

During his four years of service to Google Answers, Marcos answered more than 1,300 questions on a range of topics including business, history, health, and entertainment.

“I just love the thrill of hunting for information,” Marcos said, “and this is the reason I created One Link Answer.”

For further information, visit

Google Answers is Dead! Long Live Google Answers!

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Want to know what one ex-GA Researcher (me, as a matter of fact) thinks of the decline and fall of Google Answers?

Read the article in the latest issue of FreePint.

If you’re not familiar with Freepint, it’s a great search-and-information-oriented newsletter out of the UK…one of the few I allow past my spam filters. Worth a look…

Happy new year, all.


P.S. Some other links I want to tell you about:

Free newspaper archives in the US, by state

Free newspaper archives, international

Free newspaper archives in the US, by region

Free newspaper archives in the UK

Free newspaper archives in Canada

Free newspaper archives in France

Free newspaper archives in Australia and New Zealand

These are great resources for historical research, and all free!

Lastly, here’s a subscription service for archived newspapers that’s far and away the best available… Well worth a visit.