From the Technology Access Team
The first several paragraphs will deal with a search engine issue, but if you are not a computer user but have an Amazon Echo device, be sure to read the last paragraph.
The Search Engine Blues
Lately, I have been experiencing some Google Search frustrations. I have found that after entering a search term or phrase, the results page presented to me has seemed to have grown more cluttered with ads and sub-categories over the last several years. It also seems to me that videos are now everyone’s preferred way to communicate anything; meaning that videos float to the top of search returns. I don’t know about you, but I have very mixed feelings when it comes to “how to” videos. I have absolutely had it with presenters who say, “Just click here, then go down to there, and click again.” Here? Where? What are you talking about? Though I have done some fiddling around with Google search settings, those videos keep creeping up to the top. Oh, and speaking of creep, I am getting a little creeped out knowing how much Google tracks my searches.
Is there a solution to get more accessible search results and a way to get Big Brother from looking over my shoulder to feed me more ads? Well, I have found one, DuckDuckGo. Now, I bet you are thinking of the kid’s game “Duck-Duck-Goose.” But with DuckDuckGo, no one will be tagging or chasing you.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine which doesn’t try to skew results to your past searches, won’t lead you to ads, and won’t store a history of your searches. To some people, that’s important; to others, not so much. What I most appreciate is the results page, uncluttered, and so easy to navigate.
Travel from result to result by searching for the next heading at level 2. For screen reader users just keep pressing H or the number 2 from the number row to find the next search result. At the bottom of the page, there is a “More results” link to move to the next page of search results.
I know, you have always relied on Google as your search engine and despite the tracking issue and its growing accessibility clunkiness, it’s been around so long. Well, DuckDuckGo is no new kid on the block. It was founded in 2008, and it’s had more than a decade of steady growth and reliance.
To get to the DuckDuckGo search page, in your preferred browser type the web address, duckduckgo.com into the address bar, and there you will be on the uncluttered DuckDuckGo search page. Move to the search field, type in your search, and press enter. It’s as simple as that. One word of warning, however, if you travel to the DuckDuckGo search from a Google search, Google will remember that and insert itself into the process, meaning it will track your DuckDuckGo searches. You have just got to admire Google’s persistence.
Perhaps you may even want to do what I did, which is to send my DuckDuckGo search page to my desktop and assign it a keyboard shortcut. Since the instructions for creating a desktop shortcut for websites are different for each browser and beyond the scope of this article, here’s a website which provides instructions for several browsers: easytechguides.com/website-shortcut.html.
Once you have gotten DuckDuckGo on your desktop:
1: Press Alt Enter to open the properties page. You will land in the shortcut tab.
2: Press tab twice to move to the “Shortcut key” field.
3: Enter a combination of an alphanumeric key plus one or more modifier keys such as alt + control + S.
4: tab over to the “OK” field and press enter.
Now, you are all set. So the next time you want to bring up the DuckDuckGo page you can just press Alt + Control + S, and the DuckDuckGo page will open for you.
Listening to ACB Radio on Your Amazon Echo
Lastly, for Amazon Echo users, how can you get your Echo to play ACB radio? To listen to ACB Radio Mainstream, say “Alexa, play ACB Radio Mainstream from Tune In.” You can reach all ACB Radio’s streams in the same way: “Alexa, play ACB Radio Live Event from Tune In,” or “Alexa, play ACB Radio Cafe from Tune In.” Now, you have the information you will need to listen to this year’s virtual ACB Conference and Convention.