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Life Without a Net Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 7:28 AM
Old Hand

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Face it, in the days before the internet systems were far less complex, it was *possible* to know just about everything there was to know about a system.

Today? Not so much.

Take SQL server. Thousands of developers over tens of years. No documentation worth having. (What ever happened to the art of clarity in documentation?) Of *course* you're going to need the net, with all its deeming masses squirreling away tidbits of knowledge gleaned through serendipity. It isn't a matter of *our* laziness, it's the vendors cutting corners and trying to beat everyone else to market with the latest whiz-bang.

Simplicity is *hard*. Elegance is *extremely* hard. So the vendors slather the new goodness on top of the old, till you have the monstrosities we have today.

*Undocumented* monstrosities, I might add...because clarity is also hard and takes time.

Given that, I'll take the net. I'd rather have a system that was well thought out and does most of the grunt work for me, but failing that (and given vendor realities) I'll take what I can get.
Post #1014461
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 7:56 AM


Old Hand

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I have to admit, I found today's editorial kind of funny...

Steve, please don't forget us "old men" who spent (in my case) over 20 years in this business WITHOUT any internet. We survived and many of us flourished. In fact, long before any internet existed one of our favorite acronyms was going on various BBS's...

So, when you want to know a veteran techie, just ask "Whats a BBS?" I wonder how many SQL Central devotees can answer that question!


There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #1014492
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 7:57 AM


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I love it Rodney. Very true. I personally couldn't imagine life without it. And that's not because I'm so young that I grew up with it, because if you know me, that is far from true. I couldn't imagine that email getting sent to my iphone alerting me that my wife just spent a ton of money and my bank account has less than $500. :) I couldn't imagine not being able to query the rest of the virtual world for all of its wisdom (and craziness sometimes too). Who can remember it all right? I'd like to see Einstein in todays' world and see how much he could retain. For me, it is about knowing what and where to find the answer. Sort of like an index in my brain with different sites and queries. I quickly seek the index in my brain housing group. Tiny little electrical impulses are then sent throughout my body, bridging the synaptic gaps and firing my fat fingers to hit the keys on my keyboard in the sequence in which are stored in my permanent memory based on what the index tells me to look up.

At any rate...I loved your editorial and look forward to the next one. Tell your wife that I said hello and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Take care,

Brian


Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant
Jacksonville, Florida
Post #1014496
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:00 AM


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"Whats a BBS?" = Bulletin Board System. I remember that from wayyyyyyy back in the days... does that actually mean that we are "old timers"?

Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant
Jacksonville, Florida
Post #1014502
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:01 AM


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I was interested in reading this, so I went to Borders (since I have a 40% off coupon right now) to pick up. Ironically, it's only available as a digital download.



The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success.
Post #1014504
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:20 AM


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The Internet has spawned a whole generation of lazy techs that inadvertently follow this flowchart:

http://xkcd.com/627/

(BTW, a regularly brilliant and funny comic)

I wonder what they'd do with the "orange wall" of VAX/VMS v4 manuals...

Rich
Post #1014532
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:37 AM
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I think that the Internet is just one more step along the 'just in time' path. So much of what we've done over the last several thousand years has been to reduce the need for individual stockpiling of anything. There was a time when each family needed to stockpile pretty much all of their own supplies. The Internet is making it possible for society to do with information what society has done for food--centralized storage to which people contribute as they are able and from which each person draws when and as necessary.

In the context of this discussion, it might be useful think of the Internet like a 'grocery chain' for information. I don't have to buy (or grow!) a whole cow to put meat on the table and now with the Internet, I don't have to buy (or write) the whole book (or multi-volume set!) to get the job done. As with produce, I can be reasonably sure that 'the system' will keep me supplied with fresh (i.e. new) information as it becomes available, no matter where that information was produced or who produced it. As with meat, I can select from the finest cuts, the most cost-effective cuts, and the easiest to prepare. I can get exactly what I want or need exactly when I want or need it.

Are there risks? Certainly. Are we losing something? Probably. There are risks associated with not keeping our own gardens and livestock and we lose a specific kind of self-sufficiency, but overall our food delivery system provides a massive net benefit to both society and the individual. There are risks associated with becoming dependent on the Internet and there too we lose a specific kind of self-sufficiency, but I'd argue that it provides a massive net benefit to both society and the individual.
Post #1014556
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:41 AM
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I rarely (and I mean RARELY) use bookmarks/favorites. Not using bookmarks forces me to keep a sharp "search" ability. I've always felt my memory was bad and leaning on the Internet to look up everything has made my memory even worse. My memory is so bad, I routinely find myself looking up definitions for certain words that I've already looked up (sometimes more than three or four times!) Back when it was a pain to go get the dictiionary and leaf through the pages, I made an effort to actually remember that word but today I feel I just don't have the time or resources to mess with it...besides, it's just a couple of keystrokes away, right? For me, I feel like the day I start using bookmarks is the day I'll lose my ability to search and then I'll be completely lost if my drive fails and my backups are bad.

Post #1014561
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:55 AM


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Prior to the internet, I spent a lot of time browsing programming books, reading science fiction paperbacks, but mostly working in the garage or riding my bike. Actually, I still still do a lot of that even with the internet, because, with the exception of NetFlix and personal browsing on weekend mornings, I prefer to take a break from interfacing with computer when I'm away from work. I yearn for the day when computers are invisible, just dutifully performing their jobs like servants in the backgorund without demanding our attention, spamming us, or requireing us to stay "plugged in".
When it comes to computers, we're still in the stone ages. Just like in that movie "Quest For Fire", where one designated member of the tribe was tasked with carrying around a lit torch in order to keep the fire burning. For them, fire was something magical and state or the art that required specialized skills to maintain, but today we take it for granted.
Post #1014580
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 9:06 AM
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What I truly do not understand is the need to be connected constantly in one's life. I view it as a kind of mass societal mental disease. There are few places to go where one is not surrounded by people on devices. People would rather text than talk. That is sad.
Post #1014593
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