you can find just about anything you want on the internet, seriously. certain programs exist that allow you to search specifically for files and/or software, and those are usually pretty straightforward. what isn't so straightforward is searching the web for specific information or generic applications. one of the best search engines in existence at the time of writing is www.google.com.
why do you sometimes get erroneous results from a search engine? people program robots to do everything: send instant messages, sit in chat rooms, post messages on websites, send e-mails, and even fool search engines into listing their web pages when the site's content has nothing to do with what you were looking for. this is what they call internet commercials, or "spam." the word spam has been around since world war ii, but the relation between spam and your e-mail box was inspired by a monty python television series in the mid '70s. anyway…
the most critical part of searching is to know what words/terms to use. google has a lot of really neat search features to help narrow down what you're looking for, and a lot of search engines follow these same conventions. if you want to search for one word, you simply type that word. if you want to search for two or more words together, you place them within "double quotes." if you want your search to not include a particular word, you can precede it with a minus sign "-aol." you can use "wildcards" in google, like typing "i * viruses" where the asterisk could be anything; in other words the search will only return results that begin with "i" and end with "viruses" with any word in between. if you want to search only a specific website on google, you can follow your search words with "site:www.icodeviruses.com".
you can actually use google to search a specific site for files that you're not supposed to know are there; a case of the lazy developer strikes again. sometimes if a website you're trying to access is blocked you can simply click the "cached" link provided by google to access the page without any problems. woot!
you can search a range of numbers by typing 1000..1999, a common trick used to find people's credit card information. if you click the "preferences" link on google, you can change the interface language to "hacker," which will return all of your results in 1337! google allows you to search for images only, as well as text. check out the "more" link at the top of google's page for additional features. hell, you can even do generic background checks w/ googleit finds everything.
an easy way to find directories full of content (such as music files) is to simply run a search for "index of mp3" or "index of mp3s" (which is the default title for directories without an index file) or anything similar to that.
these few conventions are simple, easy to remember, but most of all, powerful. keep in mind that this book isn't for the helpless. every topic that i avoid going into depth on is intentional because you can easily find more details about them with little searching effort; there is no point in reprinting an existing manual.