Microsoft Windows Desktop Search Syntax

Microsoft Windows Desktop Search is a decent tool to index all your files and emails and search them. Unfortunately the user interface is too minimal lacking even a help menu that allows you check on syntax etc. So here below is some info on the advance search syntax that you can use with Microsoft Windows Desktop Search. My explanation is focused on searching email since I use Microsoft Windows Desktop Search primarily in conjunction with Outlook.

You can combine search terms using the keywords “NOT” and “OR” (use in upper-case, default is to “and”). You can’t combine multiple keywords in the same query. Use parentheses to group words that need to be separated by the keyword (NOR, OR).

one thing Look for all sources containing the words “one” and “thing” (case and order insensitive)
one NOT other All sources containing “one”, but not “other” (case-insensitive)
one OR other All sources containing “one”, “other” or both (case-insensitive)
“one thing” All sources containing the exact phrase “one thing” (case-insensitive)
hasattachment:true,hasattachment:false All sources containing (if ‘true’ specified) or not containing (if ‘false’ specified’) attachments. Can be combined with other search terms.
isattachment:true,isattachment:false Sources that are (true) or are not (false) attachments. Use this in conjunction with a search term to only look inside the attachment, but not the source containing the attachment itself.
date:, before:, after: Use to specify dates. You can use the following terms “yesterday”, “today”, “tomorrow”, “thisweek”, “nextweek”, “lastweek”, “thismonth”, “nextmonth”, “pastmonth”, “lastmonth”, “thisyear”, “lastyear”. You can also give names of months and names of days (in which case it refers to the current year or the past week). Also you can give dates in mm/dd/yyyy format. You can specify years by themself too. You can preceed the date with the greater-than (‘>’) or less-than (‘<‘) sign to specify ranges. You can include two dates to when preceeding the date with the greater-than or less-than signs. e.g. date:>1/1/2008<1/31/2008.
subject:, from:, cc:, bcc:, to:, received:, sent: Use to search specific fields of an e-mail. The date type fields can use specifiers as for the “date:” syntax.
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Where is the Mozilla Thunderbird Filter Log File?

For some reason, a new filter that I added to my list of filters in Thunderbird was not getting applied (Thunderbird version 3.0 Beta 2) and I noticed that one of the buttons on the “Message Filters” dialog was a “Filter Log” button. So I went ahead and clicked that hoping I could seem some log of filter activity. Unfortunately this just brings up a dialog that allows you to turn the filter log on or off and to clear it. The default was to not maintain the filter log, so I turned the log on. Then I tried re-running the filters and nothing happened. So I thought I would look in the filter log file — but wait, where the heck is the Mozilla Thunderbird Filter Log File? Note that I am using Thunderbird on Windows XP. Hmm. Searching through all the menu options did not point me to anything that would show me the log file. Then I surmised that this “filter log” must be a dev type feature (either that or they still haven’t gotten round to developing this feature fully yet) and did a Google search — sure enough there were many people talking about the filter log file, but very few actually mention where the Thunderbird Filter Log File is on Windows. Some more digging and going in and out of the various links and I find that…ta-da…the Mozilla Thunderbird Filter Log file is named “filterlog.html”, but still no mention of where the file could be. Rather than visit more web-sites in search of the location, I decided to search all  the folders on my disk for this file and…..didn’t find this file! Hmm. This is getting curiouser. It seems like Thunderbird 3.0 Beta 2 is really beta quality software. The finally I found a page on the Mozillazine web-site that indicated that the filterlog.html file should be in the Profile directory and that the Profile directory would be in the %APPDATA% directory which essentially on XP is “C:\Document and Settings\<Windows user name>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\<Profile name>. I looked there and did not find the “filterlog.html”. Seems like a bug or issue or perhaps it’s late and I am not thinking this through right. I give up…if you know what I am doing wrong, just email me. Thanks.

And why the hell is a log file in HTML format? It makes it hard to process and search for stuff using an editor….

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Reddit Effect Anyone?

Woohoo! My site experienced the Reddit Effect first-hand. Since the visits were to a static-page, there was no trouble at all.

Typically my site, http://grok2.com, receives about 20-30 visits a day. Mostly from organic Google search results.

Then, some time on Saturday 12th, April 2009, someone posted a link to the page “Why is programming fun?” on proggit (http://programming.reddit.com).

grok2.com on reddit.com
grok2.com on reddit.com

And soon the visits started piling up. April 13th saw the full brunt of the Reddit Effect with visits from Reddit alone of about 11,825. The visits were way down on April 14th, but still were pretty decent at about 1400 visits.

Grok2.com Visits
Grok2.com Visits
Grok2.com visits summary
Grok2.com visits summary
Grok2.com dashboard summary
Grok2.com dashboard summary

A couple of things are interesting to me. One is that the average time on the site was in the order of seconds. It is interesting that so many visitors didn’t really read the content on the site, but there were a reasonably large number of comments on Reddit — perhaps most visitors were quick readers of prose :-).

Another thing that was interesting was the side-effect of appearing on Reddit. It seems like Reddit links get referred to by users on places like Delicious and Hacker News resulting in additional visits from these places. I’ve included a pic showing the various other places I got a visit from below. As a result of these additional sources, on April 13th, the total visits peaked at 17,204 according to Google Analytics.

Grok2.com traffic sources
Grok2.com traffic sources

Overall it seems like someone took a fancy to the quote I had from Fred Brooks’ “The Mythical Man-Month” book and posted it on Reddit, but the other content on the site was not attractive enough to the visitors of the site. Need to work on that :-). But I am pleased that a page on the site was featured on Reddit. Thanks Reddit user pbkobold.

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Religion…

Read a thought provoking article questioning why religion still exists…my thought on reading the first part of the quote below from that article was — “yes, that’s true”:

With knowledge of multiple faiths, which would certainly seem to cast doubt on the supremacy, and thus the value, of any particular one, and the encroachment of science in explaining the natural world, religion should have become a quaint anachronism, yet it has not.

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Google Index Algorithm Insight?

I made the blog on my web-site visible to Google’s googlebot crawler a day after there was a news article about a new electric car being introduced in the market called “Detroit Electric”. I found that very quickly Google had indexed all pages of the nascent blog — all except for a blog article on my visit to the San Jose Historic Park where I explained seeing the early 1900’s car called the “Detroit Electric” (apparently the company introducing the new car had bought rights to the old “Detroit Electric” name). This page doesn’t event show up when I do a site specific search on my site (though other pages show up).

It seems like Google was penalizing my page mentioning “Detroit Electric” and I think it is because “Detroit Electric” was a recent term in the news and my blog still isn’t a trusted source! Well, Mr. Google, I was there first and I wasn’t gaming the system.

My Google Index Algorithm Insight: If your just crawled and untrusted (low pagerank?) web-page refers to terms recently in the news, Google will not include that page in search results.

Probably they put the page in the famed “sand-box” for a period of time before they will allow it into the search results. I know, I know, Google claims there is no such thing as a “sand-box”.

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What does Hypo-Allergenic Mean?

Since my son suffers from mild itchiness of the skin when using ordinary body washes, I was researching alternate body washes and found a few products labeled “hypo-allergenic”. I have come across this label before and have not paid much attention to it. But imagine my surprise when I found that Wikipedia defined the term to be a “marketing” term with no medical basis! Wow! And to think that I bought a couple of brands of body washes based on this term thinking it might be suitable for my son. I’ll still try these brands and see if they cause less irritation to my son’s skin. I am also planning to try Tom’s Body Soap — seems like this does not have Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate and has all natural vegetable based ingredients.

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