Friday, August 24, 2007

Thoughts on Completion

I think that was a superb program that was organized and run very well. Ellen and Jim did a great job and should get a lot of praise. As my job involves the use of a lot of these programs, it wasn't as new to me as it might be to others, but I certainly found it useful. It's nice to see what others are doing with programs. It also gave me the idea to create a video about how libraries are using some of these technologies.

An excellent learning opportunity!

YouTube & Me

I've long been familiar with YouTube and I'm torn. On the one hand, I love seeing rare stuff that I can't find elsewhere. On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in copyright law and I hate the massive posting of copyrighted material without permission. My favorite poster on YouTube:
Okay, Hammerman8699 is a friend of mine, but he's posting priceless Marty Feldman material that otherwise would be totally unavailable.

Web-Based Desktop Applications

Negative Carl here for another report on web-based applications. We're told that the biggest benefit is that mutual people can collaborate on a document without worrying about file compatibility. When is the last time that has been a problem for you? I collaborate all the time with people in Australia, South America, and Asia and I have never had a file compatibility issue. I hire people to write and edit scripts and have never run into any issues with compatibility, nor have my collaborators. I guess it's handy for people who don't want to lay out the money for Microsoft Office and so they can use spreadsheets and the like without buying a program. Plus, now I'm supposed to learn another program and another sign-in and another password?

Wikis - Overrated and Unreliable

The main benefit techno-nerds advance for Wikis is also their fundamental flaw that makes them useless. "Anyone can add information" trumpet Wiki supporters, as if that's a good thing. There is no verification process on additions, meaning bad information can remain onsite for days, weeks, and months. Wikipedia, the main offender, claims that's not true and that bad information gets spotted and corrected right away. For the real story, check out how Wikipedia allowed an anonymous user to slander John Siegenthaler for months:
What's worse is once a falsehood gets into Wikipedia, it gets picked up as a "fact" by other websites and their webcrawlers, so even if Wikipedia corrects the falsehood, tracking down other sites and information that repeat the false information is maddening. On a less dangerous level, I have had dozens of people report to me information about Get Smart that is on Wikipedia and is untrue, yet once it's up there everybody believes it. Wikipedia allows urban myths to be stated as fact.

Underlying my issues with Wikipedia is their belief that experts are not valuable in providing information. A real encyclopedia finds reputable, verifiable experts and hires them to provide information. Wikipedia allows anyone to claim anything and a person with no education or scientific background is considered just as useful a source on nuclear fission as someone with a Phd who has worked in the field for thirty years. That's not right.

I'm always amazed at librarians, who for years derided the lack of reliable, accurate information on the Internet, embrace Wikipedia. Librarians used to trumpet their role as "Internet information guides" and stressed how they could tell good information, yet that all disappears because of the ease of finding an answer, whether it's correct or not, on Wikipedia.

Blogs, Tagging, and Exploring

I did a couple of blog searches for tagging and found it amazingly useless. I did a few searches on my hobbies and by the time I narrowed down the tags, the only blogs were poorly-written expositions. I'm really not interested in Jamie from Oklahoma's views on macaroni and cheese and since I don't know him, why would I want his comments on my macaroni and cheese? Let's face it 90% of blogs are pretty dull, poorly written, and a waste of time. I'm including mine in that category too!


It's probably me, but I just don't get social tagging. I mean, what's the point of delicious and could they have a dumber URL? I visit maybe ten websites regularly and I have them in my bookmarks and in my head. I don't need a website to keep track of my bookmarks and I'm not one of those mobile people who need to access their bookmarks anywhere (how many people really are that mobile?). If you're that mobile, wouldn't you have your own laptop? I'm really not interested in finding people who tag things the same way I do either.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I avoided the temptation to create a goofy search site on Rollyo and instead created a search that searches all the Get Smart sites on the web. I guess this would be a useful tool if you did a ton of searching or something, but I have no problem using search engines like Google to find just what I need when I need it. I rarely use "search this site" buttons on websites because I rarely have trouble finding information I need on websites that I use.