Dig-Duggin’ [From the Archives]

My “Day I Left Pennsylvania” led me to some archived website posts (before blogs were invented) I had written many years ago. I’m re-posting them now. Bear in mind that most of the content in this series is over 5 years old. I have left the content more or less intact. I have removed some links and added some others — but that’s it. Enjoy!

Being able to find information effectively has become a lot easier since Google has improved their search engines, but there was once a time when you had to use crazy pedantics to find stuff you wanted. Some of the techniques still apply.


The power of identity

digdug

Names are very powerful things. Names identify us, can label friend or foe, provide clues to origin, announce familial history, and much much more! And all for the low low price of 19.95!
When you’re starting your quest to locate some obscure little tidbit of information, a photograph, a song, CD, or 12″ vinyl that you’ve been hunting for months or years, it helps a lot to know the name. Sometimes simply finding the name can lead you right to it! Common knowledge says the majority of solving any problem is identifying it. Continue reading

Barney Google [From the Archives]

My “Day I Left Pennsylvania” led me to some archived website posts (before blogs were invented) I had written many years ago. I’m re-posting them now. Bear in mind that most of the content in this series is over 5 years old. I have left the content more or less intact. I have removed some links and added some others — but that’s it. Enjoy!

Being able to find information effectively has become a lot easier since Google has improved their search engines, but there was once a time when you had to use crazy pedantics to find stuff you wanted. Some of the techniques still apply.


Syntax

Syntax is not what you pay when you buy cigarettes, alcohol, or pornography. Syntax is, in layman’s terms, the grammar you use to communicate with the google search engine (in this instance.) This will look a little complicated, but I’ll explain it all, bit by bit.

<modifiers><term 1> <modifiers><term 2>…

Modifiers

What are modifiers? Modifiers, or “qualifiers” are represented by punctuation symbols, but they tell the Google search engine to interpret the following term in a certain way.
For example the quotation marks [" "] are used to tell google that you want the enclosed term to be verbatim. Entering dog pile would find pages that matched ‘dog’ OR ‘pile’. Entering “dog pile” would result in pages that only matched ‘dog pile’. It basically forces the search engine to treat multiple words as one solid term. Continue reading

Microsoft, O Microsoft…

What has happened to you, oh software goliath?

You used to be so on-top of things, but sitting on your billions has made you lethargic and lax, and now you’re desperately nipping at the heels of your competitors, trying to keep up — but you’re two steps behind!

First there was the iPod — you TOTALLY missed that train. The “zum” or whatever you call it is going to have a hard time breaking up the stalwart stance of Apple’s uber-successful mp3 player / video player / photo viewer / dishwasher.

Then there’s Google. I don’t necessarily blame you here, who would have thought an internet search firm headed by Novell’s former leader (whom your own Steve Ballmer “f*cking buried” years ago) would be so successful today? They certainly crept up very sneakily — but now you do your “Windows Live” search tool, expecting everyone to jump on board when “google” has already entered the popular usage vernacular as a verb? (ex. “When George couldn’t find the right sized underpants for his chihuahua, he googled it.”) Sorry Bill, they’ve got their feet dug in already, and people love em.

About 10 minutes ago I saw an advertisement for “Windows Live Spaces – ‘Stay in touch with old friends and meet new ones with Windows Live Spaces’”. LIVE SPACES?? Talk about a gross-reference to a certain other social networking site. Come on, MS… you’ve REALLY missed the train on this one. In fact, you’re so behind on this, you’re waiting at the train station and people are flying airplanes now. Even YAHOO beat you to the punch here (with “Yahoo! 360″), but yet you expect to compete with the likes of Myspace, Facebook, Tagworld, and the whole mess of em? Please. What’s next? A photo sharing site?

But what’s the real issue with all of this… why so sluggish? There was a time when you promised there would never be more than a 5 year gap between OS releases…but the clock is rapidly ticking on that, and Windows Vista doesn’t quite sound like it’s done! Will it be full of bugs and unnecessary flashy CPU/memory consuming features? Is it really worth upgrading?
Nay, mighty Microsoft, I think the undertow of the drain has taken hold of you, and you’re picking up speed. You’ve diversified and de-focused so much, and screwed so many people over in Europe that your candle is burning down, and quickly!

It won’t happen today or even next month, but soon, soon enough, you’ll be gone. The death knell will be when you finally release you’re coveted source code that you guard so closely. Europe has been demanding you do it for a while, but then again, they’ve openly embraced the Open Source movement, as has South America (hell, they’ve MANDATED it!). When are you going to learn that computers and Internet access are so commonplace that you really can’t gouge them anymore! (Compare it to Television price history)

Wake up, Microsoft.