Search "Engines" vs. Real Experts

Posted On: Tuesday - September 25th 2018 6:16PM MST
In Topics: 
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Spend 15 minutes with this guy....

... or 2 futile hours on the Goolag?

Since I've been on this topic of search "engines"*, and I've been looking for answers to a pernicious problem that's holding me up from doing work on Peak Stupidity's usability, I asked the question above. Can you really find answers quicker on the internet? How about regarding the meaning of life ... no, not a query about the current lives of the actors in the Monty Python movie (there's that IMDB again - good people .... gooood people)? That right there is an example though. Were one really deluded enough to try to find the meaning of life off the internet, he'd end up spending 5 minutes of this search learning about Monty Python, and then the next silly thing, and the next one ....

It's not just the questions with no easy answers that can be hard to get satisfaction from via computer searches of the web. (I'm not particularly picking on Google in this post... uhhh, so far.) Since it's the computer guys that were the early adopters of the www, for obvious reasons, the software and computer hardware questions were always the ones with the most readily available website information available on-line. There have been great sites out there for many years, such as our favorite, Stack Overflow that should have answers for about everything "TECH!"-related. Some are just web pages written to help others or show off, others weren't written particularly to answer questions, but may very well have your answer.

Then there are the forums. As a daily user of some type of software language, environment, plug-ins, or what-have-you, you may be one that comes on every day or week to help out or get help. More power to these people. Other times, you will get to these forums via an on-line search. That brings up something kind of humorous. I've found answers to questions on a forum that nobody has posted/commented on for 10 years! The thing there is, one of them hopefully has your exact answer. There can be no follow-up questions. Sure, I mean, go ahead and sign up, but how much patience do you have? Maybe a geek will come on-line in 2023 and give you an exact answer: "We're on a new version now. Your functions have been deprecated. That's why they're not functional" "Did this answer your question? Rate your answer here - [] Not Helpful, [] Helpful, [] Helpful, but > 1 Decade late, so I am Deceased". It may not be very satisfying to give an answer on a forum as an expert either, as possibly the next reader will come on a few years later when you are on to a new field of endeavor.

Youtube videos are such a great help with various car maintenance tasks. I am very grateful for the guys that take the time to put these up, along with those who help out of the goodness of their hearts (sometimes they hope to make a few bucks) to explain millions other tasks. That's great user-created content, but you won't find all the answers.

Sometimes, spending just 15 minutes or 1/2 an hour with an expert in some small area of endeavor can save many hours of wasted time on the best search sites on-line. This is the case for the software questions I've got. I've spent fruitless hours so far, but if I come across the right guy who "knows his stuff", I can get it all figured out quickly. I may find out how to troubleshoot and fix a part on one of my vehicles. However, the why of the problem and all the experience of a 40-years-running mechanic friend could save me hours or days of sorting through information that is often conflicting.

Therefore, I don't feel the internet search sites, with the Goolag presiding, are the be-all-to-end-all for the acquiring of knowledge. Then, of course, for anything slightly political in nature, one can't be at all sure they aren't purposefully providing disinformation. Take, for example, I dunno, a quick search for "the truth about everything". Per an almost forgotten long-ago post, this is what you're going to come up with:

Note that the Goolag censorship scripts must have been written by cheaply-paid H-1B visa dot-Indian programmers, as they didn't quite do the job. ;-}

*You get so used to these geek-stolen terms that you don't even notice anymore. "Engines"? Really? How does this software convert one form of energy to another? Just asking.

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