I finally convinced my team to evaluate SharePoint as a replacement for our Linux PM Wiki site. I have SharePoint WSS v3 up and running on our DEV box, with a DNS entry to it so that we can get to it via http://sharepoint. Most everything about it worked correctly out of the box, except for the search feature. When I tried to search the Wiki, I got a lovely error about my URL not being enabled for search that said something like "the system administrator may need to add a new request URL mapping to the intended application". Let me just tell you I hate messages that send me to the sysadmin when I am the sysadmin and I have no idea what they're talking about. Foolishly, I turned to Google instead of looking for a more detailed entry in the event log. After a series of breaking and then figuring out how to fix a bunch of things that turned not to be at all related to the problem, I finally made it to the event log and found this:
The description for Event ID ( 8214 ) in Source ( Windows SharePoint Services 3 ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: A request was made for a URL, http://sharepoint, which has not been configured in Alternate Access Mappings. Some links may point to the Alternate Access URL for the default zone, http://dev01. Review the Alternate Access mappings for this Web application at http://dev01:6204/_admin/AlternateUrlCollections.aspx and consider adding http://sharepoint as a Public Alternate Access URL if it will be used frequently. Help on this error: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=114854.
Finally! I followed the directions and searching now works on our WSS wiki... but lesson learned - I take it for granted that Google is my first line of defense. While that's not a bad default, I would have saved myself a bunch of time, effort, frustration, and pain by recognizing sooner that thousands of Google hits on my various searches do not necessarily mean I can find the solution there - unless I had a better error message, Google just wasn't going to be the right tool for this job.
Mainly I'm bogging this in the hopes that someone else out there who makes my mistake will find this in their Google search results and then it won't be a mistake anymore. Adding one more result for the search engine that will someday become Skynet...