From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 05 Feb 02 - Google Whacking


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Greetings, fellow riders. It's February... that means it's time to start putting "2002" on your checks. And if it's cold outside where you live, I've got a new indoor sport for keyboard jockeys. Read on to learn about GoogleWhacking, Buffer Overflows and what's new in the world of search engines.

Note: The free computer training products are for Windows PCs. Have you seen the Video Professor guy on TV? This is the one!


If the Internet has succeeded at nothing else, it has been a boon for those who truly have too much time on their hands. And the latest time-wasting cybersport to fall under my radar is GoogleWhacking.

To GoogleWhack is to attempt to find a set of words for which the Google search engine will return a single result. Put another way, it is the quest to find a web page which is the ONLY one to contain a group of words such as "cosmological tollbooth".

You get extra points for interesting variations on the theme, such as "triplewhack with words all the same length" and "multiwhack beginning with sequential letters". You can also score a GoogleWhack by searching Google for each word individually, then multiplying the result tallies for each word. For example, "malodorous(15200) mosquito(585000) residuum(21200)" scores about 188.5 trillion.

Gary Stock, who claims to have invented the word "googlewhack" has a rather interesting and amusing writeup of the phenomenon here:


If you are using an older version of the ICQ chat software, you may be at risk for a "buffer overflow exploit". When I first heard that phrase, I imagined nefarious teenagers causing people's toilets to back up and then offering to clean up the mess for a hefty fee. But buffer overflows occur when poorly-designed software is flooded with very long input strings and can result in malicious code being executed on the target computer.

The buffer overflow problem affects Windows versions of the popular ICQ instant messaging software PRIOR to version 2001b, which was released last October. If your ICQ predates that time, you should download the latest version. Here's a page with more information:,,117,00.html


Danny Sullivan, Editor of The Search Engine Report, had a few items in this week's edition that I thought I'd pass along.

Firstly, Ask Jeeves (the ask a stupid question, get an irrelevant answer website) has begun using results from Teoma instead of Direct Hit. Teoma is a search engine that appeared about a year ago, and has gotten high marks for relevancy. Ask Jeeves acquired Teoma last September and has been upgrading it. Read more or try Teoma here:

So Long Direct Hit, Hello Teoma

Try Teoma -

NEWS FLASH: Search engines are not replacements for librarians. Together, the two can make a powerful combination.

School librarians get Web-savvy

That's all for now. I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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