July 3, 2004 22:26 | Bits / Culture / Social / WebBlogging

An example

Here is an example of information hunting and establishing connections between bits of data online. This story will remain intentionally vague and short on specific URLs for two reasons: to protect the individual's privacy and to keep my Google rank low for a specific bit of technical wizardry involving a certain mp3 player and a certain make of automobile. Unlike others, I am not interested in becoming the support desk for this little bit of information.

This story begins because of an entry a few days ago where I mention in passing the aforementioned setup. This evening I received an email from someone asking me kindly how I had done it, as his brand new car doesn't allow him to use the (to remain nameless) radio frequency interface solution.

Now the name of the person sounded very familiar, as it is a common name in these parts. To boot, buddy had his own domain, named after himself. Nevermind that I'll sometimes Google people whom I come across, but give me a vanity domain name and for sure I am going to whois you.

I now know where Monsieur lives and even got a map pin-pointing his address specifically. Not that I needed to since I know the neighborhood quite well, it being only a few blocks up from me... small world...

So okay, I hit reply and start writing some of the basics. However my car and my mp3 player are 2-3 years old and surely stuff's been updated. A quick trip to the web forums on the most popular, and useful website dedicated to owners of this particular make of car and I see that indeed, things have evolved. Copy and paste a few URLs and "good luck mon ami!"

This all took about 5-10 minutes. Slow compared to if I had had all this information in my head and/or we were all connected pseudo-telepathically but hey... it used to take weeks to ship cargo across the Atlantic, today it take days, if not hours... and that's atoms, not bits...

It is all about technology. If I were a faster typist... or if my interface to my computer and by extension to the Net wasn't through a clunky keyboard and primitive pointing device...


May I sum this up to "STFW"? :)

when i first heard of the solution i believe you're talking about, it was because i read the very same forums looking to solve an unrelated problem. the full-circle moment for me was when you said you'd actually done it, whereas from the forums i've simply seen HOW to do it. different!

STFW is very good btw patrick. there are no manuals anymore, so S-ing TFW is the only option in many cases.

Sorry that i am a bit of topic here.
I am looking for technical writer who is compute savvy.
I like how you put your words together. If you are interested could you email me your rates.