Contributed by
Feb 3, 2008

So I had to go to a end-of-the-semester party being held by Mrs. BA's office. The dress code was suit and tie, which always elicits a grimace from me. I'm more of shrts-and-a-t-shirt kinda guy. I hate wearing a tie.

Furthermore, I don't know how to tie a tie. I'm a scientist (and now a stay-at-home writer/blogger/rabble-rouser), and I rarely wear one. I realized my one black tie was hanging in the closet, pathetically untied, Mrs. BA was at work, and I was on my own.

I fretted, then suddenly remembered once upon a time seeing a website with instructions on tie tying. Searching my bookmarks (always think ahead, folks, and bookmark early) I found it. It was

I had first heard of this site through its founder, web guru Jason Calacanis, who appeared at Chris Pirillo's Gnomedex conference, and I keep up (well, I try to keep up) with Pirillo's comings and goings. Anyway, I liked what Jason had to say, and added him to my Twitter friends. That's when I found his stuff about Mahalo.

Mahalo is a human-driven search engine. They actually vet the sites submitted, and then pick the ones they think are best. I initially thought it was the dumbest idea I ever heard of: there are billions of web pages. How would they do it?

Shows what I know. In fact, it's a good search engine. They're responsive, too. They didn't have my humble site listed when I checked their listing for astronomy. So I submitted it, and they added it very quickly; as I recall, in less than a day. Other search terms yield good results too, with no spam, no sites that bought their way to the top, and all arranged into neat categories.

The important thing, of course, was that I was able to tie my tie in just a few minutes, on the first try, by watching the video they supplied with the instructions on their results page. Nice!

So I'm plugging Mahalo. It's a good tool, and they literally saved my neck. Thanks, Jason.

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