Dean Clough

May 31, 2023

Portico Darwin: Never Stop Searching


Before getting rolling, I hope you'll spend 3 minutes watching this post-Memorial Day tribute video I made; it also has some nice music.

Memorial Day Every Day

2 Minute Read
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It was with quite a jolt when I learned recently that my Internet search engine of choice, the subscription-only Neeva, is closing its doors, at least to consumers.  They're being acquired and shifting focus to commercial ventures.

Which is a shame.  If you recall, quite a while ago, I decided to pay for it.  And by that I mean I pay for both the email service I use ( and a search engine, as opposed to using free things like Gmail and Bing, respectively.  The value proposition of both being that, since you pay to use their offerings, they don't screw with your privacy, because you're no longer the product.

I've mentioned recently here my happiness with Hey, and Neeva was the same:  I did not miss Google or Bing or Yahoo or whatever for searching, and I loved not having things I'd looked at online pop up on Amazon.  But that's all gone now.  RIP Neeva and the goofy NFT they issued during peak blockchain hype early in 2022.

So what now?  I considered the following:

  • Acknowledging my privacy left the station many years ago and simply go back to Google
  • Move to Bing and ChatGPT:  but while that offers AI, you're back to being the product, just like with Google
  • Using a VPN (virtual private network - they mask your computer's network identity)

I tossed the former because it felt like going backwards, and the latter because I can't be bothered and I also don't want the performance hit.  But I think I found the answer:

Unlike Neeva, it's free to use.  And also unlike Neeva, Startpage didn't try to re-invent the wheel by crawling the web themselves and building their own search engine.  No, Startpage perhaps offers the best of both worlds:  my searches are executed by Google, but as a middleman, Startpage first strips away my info before sending my query along.  The results - from Google - are blessedly free of the paid crap Google shows now.

How does this work?  Well, Startpage itself sells generic advertising not tied to the individual using the product.  But get this:  if you tighten up your browser's settings, and perhaps add an ad blocker, you won't see them.  I don't.  There is more on how Startpage works here.

For the record, I now have both my phone and notebook computer set to default to Startpage as their search engines and browser start page.  It's very nice and the interface is what Google looked like before it sucked.

Perfect?  Almost, but not quite - I'd say more like approaching Killer.  It's plenty fast, and results have been excellent - as they should be.  No, my biggest gripe is there is not even a beta implementation of an artificial intelligence component.  Heck, even Neeva's had that for months, and it seems a little behind the times to "just" offer plain search.

But not to worry, there are two alternatives.  Check out; it's cool because it addresses the major shortcoming of most AI engines in that their knowledge cuts off around 2022 - anything after is not considered by the AI.  So kind of combines traditional search with AI, in one place.

And then there's what I call The Real Thing:


I'll be sharing soon something that I found and ripped off borrowed from LinkedIn:  a guide to 15 standard prompts that can help literally anyone get things done using ChatGPT (or  To whet your appetite, here is the first item from the guide.

1. Use the 80/20 principle to learn faster:

"I want to learn about [insert topic].  Identify and share the most important 20% of learnings from this topic that will help me understand 80% of it."

I tried this with the topic of classic liberalism.  The result is here for those of you curious to see what ChatGPT can do.  And maybe for those under the mistaken belief liberal is a dirty word - it is not.

The next 14 prompts - at least as good - are coming soon.

But I digress.  If you'd like to cease being a Google product, is certainly worth a look.  And if you really want to go deep, both and ChatGPT are nothing if not a lot of fun.  

At least to this searcher.


Hunter Deuce clearly spent a lot of the long weekend hallucinating.  How else to explain this madness?

Very cool military pics! 

For some reason, I thought of the line from Dr. Strangelove: "Gentlemen! There is no fighting in the War Room!!"

And my favorite Joni Mitchell song would probably be "Both Sides Now" (though admittedly I'm not that familiar with all of her work).

He went on to make derisive comments about the rather sloven Adam Duritz, the lead singer for Counting Crows, and someone linked to a litany of beauties over the years:  babes like Courtney Cox and Christina Applegate, to name two.  But I will not repeat Hunter's hurtful cracks here, as I don't want to anger Professor Howard Blum Esq.   

But agreed he's not exactly a looker nowadays.
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Is seeker the same as searcher?  I hope so, because for whatever reason, I've only played this foundational band twice before on KLUF.  Featuring The Seeker and 36 other Diamond Certified songs, here is my mindblower of a playlist from The Who - on both TIDAL and Spotify, because yes, it's that good.   

Heck, I even took the time to put the songs in the order of their original release.

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