Using DuckDuckGo for Search

DuckDuckGo Search Enging Homepage

If you have used an Internet browser (ever) and searched something through google.com you’re not alone, many of us are so accustomed to Google search that the word Google has become a verb. But why stick with something just because it’s habit when there is something way cooler out there?

If you haven’t tried out DuckDuckGo out yet for your searches, start with your web browser. DuckDuckGo has been around since 2008 and has made its name on being “the search engine that doesn’t track you.” That’s what got me interested. It seems, according to this article in Forbes, that others are having a similar feeling; search queries on DDG have grown considerably since 2013.

I am probably medium-weird about privacy – not totally lax but not completely freaked out either. But Google, Facebook, and Amazon are notoriously terrible for tracking and spying on users and using that data for not great stuff. We are now living in a data economy, this stuff isn’t going away, so rather than pretend it doesn’t happen, I think it’s time to figure out what you are and are not willing to give up to big data. Your web search history which is incredibly personal is one great place to start. Go ahead. Try it out.

Not so bad, huh?

If you like it you can read more about their privacy policies here and take a privacy crash course here.

So if you like it and you want to use it all the time, what next?

The next thing to do is to open your browser settings and switch the default search engine.

For those of you on Safari: Go to preferences, then search and select DDG from the pull-down menu.

For those of you on Firefox: Go to preferences, then select search from the sidebar.

If you’re using Chrome you can install DDG as well, but then again, using Chrome means your data is leaking back to Google in other ways. Browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Brave are good places to go if you’re wanting something that has stricter privacy policies.

If you are medium-weird like me you can replicate this process on your smartphone and tablets so that you have DDG everywhere. Here is a good place to start with doing that.

A couple really useful features to try out with DuckDuckGo

Search time in DDG and you can open multiple times for projects you’re working on. I love this!

DuckDuckGo has something called !bangs which are basically shortcuts to bigger searches. So instead of typing in Wikipedia and then going to that webpage and searching for your item you can type !w + your search term and DDG will take you right to that page on Wikipedia. You can do this with Amazon, Twitter, Yelp and tons more.

You can also do math in the search bar or use the calculator. Trust me, I use this one a lot.

It also has a maps feature that uses Apple Maps (which also don’t track) and Yelp built-in.

Finally, if this isn’t enough you can go much deeper with Brett Terpstra’s posts on how to “Learn the syntax of DuckDuckGo” – Link

To me, it may seem a minor thing, but by using DDG for all my searches and using a browser like Firefox or Safari, I’ve already made two steps towards being in better control of my data and privacy. In this day and age, this will be part of what we have to pay attention to. I’m glad for services like DDG for making this as painless as possible.

Update:

A reader pointed out that I didn’t give my opinion about the search results. The short answer is, I am very satisfied with the results. In fact, I unplugged from google search so long ago that I don’t even think about search results at this point, nor do I compare them. Everything seems to work as it should. That’s not to say I shouldn’t check from time to time but I just don’t even think about it anymore.

This runs into another important way that DDG is different from google, as it says on its Wikipedia page, it helps you “avoid the filter bubble of personalized search results.” DDG aims to give everyone the same results, and those results, in their mind are meant to be the best result to the search query. It’s a different philosophy that underlies a different way to develop technology. In this case, I appreciate that approach and I find that it works as intended.

Dress Down Friday for 2019-07-26

Here are some of the things I’ve been enjoying this past week.

Like most everyone, I’m a huge Stranger Things fan. While we were in Atlanta last week for a visit with family we stopped by to see Starcourt Mall. 😉

The Adapt podcast is a new tech podcast from Relay FM that is focused completely on iPadOS and using iPad as your main device. I personally am too wedded to my MacBook Pro to make go iPad only, but I really like the podcast because I learn a lot of iPad tips and tricks. I’ve enjoyed all the episodes but I found this one on creating eBooks on the iPad to be particularly interesting, as was this episode on OCR.

Continue reading Dress Down Friday for 2019-07-26

Dress-Down Friday for June 7, 2019

I’ve got some fun links to share today:

I read Austin Kleon’s book “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad” and really enjoyed it. It came at a good time for me where I feel that my creativity has been languishing and as a friend told me recently, creativity is my oxygen. I like how Kleon gives some very simple and actionable ideas for helping keep these pieces alive. I found it a lot like his other books, which I also enjoyed, full of good quotes, great pictures, and things that make me slow down and think. 

Stephen Colbert’s recent interview about the power of comedy in the face of politics and how faith and morality play into his making sense of the world today.

Continue reading Dress-Down Friday for June 7, 2019

New Book on Revelation “Resisting Empire” Coming Soon

Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation, my new book on Revelation, is coming soon from Barclay Press.

I’ve been working on a book about Revelation that offers a different perspective then the “Revelation as End-of-the-World” interpretation.

This book, Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation, published by Barclay Press, is coming out very soon and I wanted to give you a heads up to start watching out for it. It is in e-book form and will be available as an e-pub through Barclay Press, on Amazon, and, as I understand it, through the Our Bible App.

The general premise of the book is that Revelation, drawing on a number of other scholars, doesn’t have anything to do with predicting the end of the world, but rather is about how small, marginalized faith communities resisted and survived empire. The book lays out four practices that the author of Revelation points out are necessary for doing this.

You can read more about the book over on this guest column I wrote for Guilford College Gazette.

Stay tuned, I’ll announce when the book is officially out.

Enneagram Journaling Exercises

I am a big a big fan of the Enneagram and have been using it more and more lately in my work for my own personal growth and self-awareness, as with my work with students, and staff. As I was taking some time for reflection at the end of the semester I took some notes on exercises and practices from David Daniels’ great introduction called “The Essential Enneagram.” I highly recommend the book and I wanted to share the 5 principles he writes about in terms of working at personal growth within the context of the Enneagram. This summary is completely lifted from his book (73-82).

Principle 1: Three Laws of Universal Behavior

• Wherever your pattern of attention and energy go, your behavior follows. To change your behavior requires self-observation of your pattern and energy. Self observation is an ongoing practice.

  1. How did I do today at staying aware of my pattern of attention and energy?
  2. When I reacted automatically to someone or something, was I able to bring back my awareness and redirect my attention and energy?
  3. How can I better manage my pattern of attention and energy tomorrow?
Continue reading Enneagram Journaling Exercises

On Learning How to Lose

It occurred to me recently how hard it is for people to lose, to give up, let go, or just admit that maybe they had it wrong. Why do we fight tooth and nail to get our own way? While this may not seem all that new, the part of this that really had an edge for me was when I realized that the people who seem to have the hardest time with losing are those who identify as Christians!

But surely this is all wrong!

People of faith, certainly within the Christian tradition, should be great examples of how to lose well. Shouldn’t we be known for people who don’t throw tantrums when we don’t get our own way, rather than being willing to – in some cases quite literally – go to all-out war over something? In Christian theology there is a larger perspective than one’s own – so if I consider myself a Christian I become a part of something much bigger. I learn that I can let go because I trust that there are greater forces at work in the world. Everything really is not all up to me. There may be other needs, perspectives, or desires at work.

But beyond this, losing is built into the Christian narrative.

Continue reading On Learning How to Lose

Rebuilding Faith Community

W hen we think about renewal and “rebuilding” our faith communities, practices, and programs we are a part of, it is important that we focus on the strengths and places of life so that we are building on that which is most alive, rather than spending so much time or focus on the pathologies and weaknesses of the places we find ourselves. I have found that these weaknesses and pathologies persist whether you give them energy or not, but containing them within a framework of strengths helps the community not become overwhelmed by the issues.

One of the tools I have found extremely valuable for doing this is the social model of Appreciative Inquiry, a model of renewal that I have had the privilege of walking a number of communities through. Appreciative inquiry is a participatory change process that helps a community focus on the life that is already within the community. While there is a whole process to Appreciative Inquiry, it all starts with the kinds of questions you ask. A.I. puts a lot of care into the designing of questions that are meant to stimulate passion and gratefulness for the community, in order to draw out the kinds of insights that might help us to build upon the strengths. 

For instance, A.I. asks questions such as:

  • What brought you to this community and what keeps you here?
  • What are three dreams you have for this community?
  • In your opinion, what is the best part of this community? What is the core?
  • What do you bring to the community – this could be something that is common knowledge or things that people may not know about?

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask these questions as a part of a series of Sunday morning sessions I led on the topic of renewing faith traditions at a Quaker meeting. The class was a combination of some of my work and Brent Bill’s great pamphlet: A Modest Proposal for The Revitalization of the Quaker Message. There were about 20-25 of us who worked through this reading and topic over the course of about 5 weeks. 

I think the conversation was worthwhile and would highly recommend Friends wanting to have a discussion around renewal of their meetings to reading through Bill’s pamphlet. As a part of the discussion series, I also put together an eBook with some of my thinking on the subject that can be found here. I think both resources work well together.

Continue reading Rebuilding Faith Community