Sunday, August 28, 2016

FIND IT !!!!!

Computers and Internet are confounding and intimidating, especially to new users, but to all of us at some level.

How do we get to where we want and need to go? How to we find it?

It's easy once you know the secret.

Eventually you will use that secret to create your own bookmarks.

(How do I know that? Simply because my posting on bookmarks a few years ago is the most widely read posting I have ever done.    There is nothing I can write to keep up with it.)

Actually that question, how do we get  where we want to go, was what led to internet as it is today  and the secret to “getting there”.

At CERN in Switzerland, scientists did not know what their contemporaries were doing and often duplicated effort or failed to benefit from what others were doing.   Lack of interconnectedness was stifling and costly.

Tim Berners-Lee was assigned the task of making it easier to access the information needed.   He tried many approaches, including hierarchical menus, before settling on the one which is taking over the world of information, the World Wide Web, which he invented for CERN,  and gave to the world.

So, how do we find things?

In the past it was not easy.     As an example, we have 2400 people of all vocations and avocations that have a presence here in this retirement community but have no index to what they know.  We, and the management cannot use these vast resources.

In the past we had books end tables of contents and indexes.    The table of contents took us through the sequence of the book as the author would have it.  The index singled out certain key phrases.  Crude.

In a well-organized library we had such a system as the Library of Congress subject based system which allowed us to roam  the shelves by subject...and to browse and search.  That helped a lot,

That was pretty much it.     

We did have our subconscious mind, but usually didn't use it very well.  To get all the information we need we needed first to define the problem in the greatest detail, then let our collective minds  work on it for a time.   Instead we force our conscious minds to too quick and easy a solution.

We need better.

Yet even in the early days of computing we chose the wrong tools to find what we needed.   The Microsoft Windows operating system uses cascading menus on a hierarchical basis. That it is hard to use is accepted by everybody.

So what did Tim Berners-Lee invent and how does it work?   And what happened subsequently so that today we can get where we need to go in an instant?

Let's say you are navigating this website or blog and you need to find something. iI would take ages to create a hierarchical directory and then a lot of time using it to know where to go.   We need to get the computer to do that work.

This website was never designed as a database to which we could attach cascaded menus or  a hierarchical menu. It was designed to share the solution of problems drug to me by others. it just happened that over time it has attacked the whole range of problems which are now a resource.

The challenge was so great that I abandoned the idea of creating a book from it.    I planned to put all the postings into a database, organize that database using Scrivener by subject, then use a hierarchical table of contents.      

It came to me then that I would essentially be rewriting all those postings and doing all that work over again by using outmoded methods of connecting and accessing information which ought to be buried in the past.

I need to spend my time where there is no help desk, and extend that help as far as possible. I am a fireman.

We now have browsing, hypertext and search engines which did the job I'm searching such a resource.   We need to use the new tools.

Tim Berners-Lee set up the means to connect everything together in websites. Hypertext was invented to enable you to dig down into marked text for more depth, search engines took more development to work well.

A search engine can go through interconnected computers in an instant to find what you need, but a bit more lodging is needed for them to be effective.

When two students at Stanford wrote a paper specifying what was needed, they formed Google. Although commentators have insisted that Google uses secrets in how they search, all their particulars were related in their initial proposal.

Your challenge now  is to find that proposal, using the new tools of the search engine.

Meanwhile, here is how Google works and how you can use it at your fingertips or in the palm of your hand to find anything, best done with that badly named miracle computer lamely called a cell phone, just by using your voice and a well-formed query.

It is after all, not what you know but whether you know how to find it that defines the extent of your knowledge so use the new tools available to you.   Learn how.

Note: to the right top you will find a keyword based search tool, but also a simple search of this specific website.

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