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Great, But You Solved the Wrong Problem

If you've ever had to go to Google to debug a mysterious problem (something that happens to ColdFusion developers fairly often), then undoubtedly you've come upon a website called "Experts Exchange," which makes a page that echoes your search and says "Sign up for 30 days for the answer!" And if you're in a hurry and don't notice the URL before you click in your search results, over the course of your programming career you'll probably waste a lot of time realizing you've just loaded that same damn BS site again and closing the window in a grumpy funk.

Well, since Friday I've been wrangling with a problem in ColdFusion where I have to consume an ASP.NET web service on a CF page, but the only result I get is an error saying that the CF server "could not generate stub objects," whatever the heck that means. So I've been doing a lot of Googling — and although I have trained myself generally to check whether a site is "Experts Exchange" before I click on it [1], I slipped and went there again tonight, and it got me so annoyed that I went to the Google forums looking for "How do I block a domain from ever appearing in my search results?"

Turns out, it's a popular request. A very popular request. According to one user, it comes up on something like a monthly basis and is never implemented — I'll leave it to others to speculate why that might be (although I have some educated guesses). And lo and behold, Experts Exchange is right up there in the top of lists people are requesting the feature for!

Alas, no useful answer from Google. (Google FAIL!) However, the users did provide a workaround which I thought was clever, by way of bookmarks.

Basically, in your browser of choice, set yourself up a bookmark to the following URL:

http://www.google.com/search?q=-site:experts-exchange.com

This will give you a Google search window prepopulated with the search operator you need to block results from the domain in question. You then just type in your search normally at the end. It's not as handy as just typing in a search in your browser window and go, but until Google lets you set up a personal blacklist in your preferences (which is really all that this mess should require), it's a usable workaround. You just have to remember to click on your "Search for debug help!" bookmark, instead of going straight to Google.

So, one problem solved.

...Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to generate stub objects.

-The Gneech

[1] Yes, HEAR ME SEARCH ENGINES: "EXPERTS EXCHANGE" IS USELESS AND AND YOU SHOULD NEVER RETURN IT FOR ANY SEARCH EXCEPT POSSIBLY "WHAT SITE WILL BE A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME IF I GO THERE"?

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
delphinios
May. 18th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
Also. If you use firefox, you can scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN to the bottom and see the "Solution".
mouser
May. 18th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
This.

But I don't think it's JUST FireFox.

mouser
May. 18th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
My bad - it's just Firefox.
carlfoxmarten
May. 18th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, I hate that website too.

I once tweaked an ad-blocking Greasemonkey script to throw a huge "YOU DON'T WANT TO BE HERE!!!" into any pages from that domain.
(it could be tweaked to redirect you back out after alert()ing you to the fact, if you're interested)
makovette
May. 18th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
Just re-direct all experts-exchange.com urls back to Google by adding a single line to the Windows hosts file located here:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Use notepad to open the file and:

# For example:
#
# 102.54.94.97 rhino.acme.com # source server
# 38.25.63.10 x.acme.com # x client host
#CopyPasta the line below:
74.125.19.104 experts-exchange.com # Redirect to google.com



Et Voila! Annoying website just vanished off the interwebz for all users of that PC, permanently.

This will work for all versions of Windows from NT on up through Win7.

Mako


carlfoxmarten
May. 18th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
Heh, that's even simpler than my solution!

And it would even work on Linux boxes if you use /etc/hosts instead.
makovette
May. 18th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC)
Perhaps even easier would be to add it to Adblock Plus's black list, but that's per user.

I don't think the Gneech's are likely to be using and *ix any time soon, but yeah, you're of course correct, black listing the /etc/hosts file always works well too :)

Mako
huskyteer
May. 18th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, I'm always running across those buggers when I'm googling CSS/JavaScript problems.

Once upon a time they had a more amusing URL...
c_eagle
May. 18th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
Google fails a lot. Try IxQuick.com ... :>
stilghar
May. 18th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
I feel your pain. Spent random intervals over the last few days trying to find drivers for an old(!) SoundBlaster CT4740 sound card that'll work with Winderz 7. Lost count of the dead ends I came across. >,<
katayamma
May. 18th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
When you find an experts exchange page link on google, click the cached option and scroll down. You'll see all the answers.
anthony_lion
May. 18th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
you may try this uRL instead of the 'normal' Google one:
http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=-site:experts-exchange.com&hl=no

mouser
May. 18th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
...or on pages like this:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Components/DOM/Q_24634151.html


You can try and scroll all the way to the bottom...
mouser
May. 18th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Sorry - that only works in FireFox...
kylet
May. 18th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
The rest of it makes no sense to me, but I'm surprised nobody made the expertsexchange url joke ;-)
mtext
May. 19th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Au contraire, see above!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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