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O.T. Is the internet more or less relevant to you as time goes on?

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  • O.T. Is the internet more or less relevant to you as time goes on?

    The more time I spend on the web, the less it seems to be providing. Google, in many categories of information, is getting stuffed like the Thanksgiving turkey with paid search responses first, to the detriment of tons of information that is (or perhaps WAS) out there.

    In particular, when looking for technical and research information, it used to return loads of relevant references. Now, it typically returns one line abstracts and the option to buy the article from one of hundreds of professional sources.

    Don't get me wrong. I spend plenty of money on technical information each year but dealing with this on frequent searches gets old fast.

    Anyone else notice this trend ... I'm usually the last

  • #2
    The whole internet thing kind of blind sided me, I did some computer stuff in the early 1980's then next to nothing with computers until about 2004. I have a 20+ year gap, but I think your observation is the correct one. In the beginning, "everybody" wanted to stake their claim and were willing to do just about anything to make sure they were not left behind the competition. Now, they are trying to find ways to make their "investment" an "asset". I think the flood gates are closing, the internet is become one big "commercial".
    Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

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    • #3
      ...Now, it typically returns one line abstracts and the option to buy the article from one of hundreds of professional sources.
      I mentioned the heavy ad based returns a couple of years ago and everyone thought I was crazy. What I also get is a lot of Ebay links to expired auctions. The ads on the right get hilarious sometimes. If you Google something the ads flip words or extracts terms and makes them nouns.

      "Buy Bodacious here".

      Comment


      • #4
        Google will profile you and try to skew search results to those it thinks will produce a click-through. For serious searches I clear all cookies first. Since I run both Mac OS X and Windows XP at the same time on this Mac I've done comparisons with Firefox, Safari, and IE7 in both OS X and Windows with identical Google searches and it's surprising how the results can change with just those differences. Anyway, based on results from the first search I use aggressively the -pattern -pattern... option in subsequent searches to remove most of what Google thinks I would like to see and it also helps. An example today: I was looking for auto body shop information and google kept returning sex shop links. Using -sex -girls etc., I finally found what I wanted.

        As for Internet blahs, no - I have a lot of interests and the Internet never disappoints. By using a variety of search engines and also searching the Google Usenet Groups area I can usually find information I'm looking for. The trick to avoiding the blahs is to have and maintain a lot of interests. I find I treat the 'net like homework for classes in school (that was a long time ago). I'm most happy I'm educating myself and I get to choose the curriculum, and the Internet is my index and encyclopedia.

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        • #5
          The information and services available are being gradually monetized. Either by direct user pay or by paid advertising, sometimes both. Many sources of information have become subscription services and certain classes of information are generally not available for free.

          I ran into this directly recently while looking online for a copy of the BC Building code. The BC government has been very progressive about providing access online to nearly all departments and the full legal text of the regulations, law and codes they produce and enforce. The building code is a very big exception. No specific information is available, only an offer to sell you a copy for about $600 on a DVD. This can only be a consequence of behind the scenes lobbying by someone or groups(s) that will benefit from the average homeowner not knowing the rules and remaining unable to inform himself.

          While this withholding of public information created and paid for by the public purse is bad enough there is a much more dangerous threat to Internet free exchange of information. The threat revolves around a concept called "NET Neutrality". This concept is embodied in the idea that everyone should have the same degree of service for their data when it travels the worldwide backbones of the Internet. This means that data from my server should be delivered to you with the same priority of service as any other data you request from the Net.

          The threat is in the form of websites being offered the ability to buy special expedited packet transfer by the major Internet backbone providers. What it really means is that if you don't pay these fees your data will be delayed to allow faster delivery of data from those who can afford to pay this sort of extortion.

          We are in danger of the Internet being taken over by those with the most money and suffering the same fate as commercial television, a headlong plunge to the level of the lowest common denominator of demand and entertainment. This is already the case to a great extent. The major driver of the rapid spread of high speed internet service is the porn industry. I don't have any particular objection to adult entertainment but when it becomes the raison d'etre for Internet service then we have a problem.

          If the free delivery of information on the Net is compromised and information delivery monetized we will lose what has been a resource that has had a greater impact on world society than any other development in history. Free and widespread communication was directly responsible for the fall of the USSR. Demonstrations of tens of thousands of people in Red Square could not have been organized without such communication, in that case the fax machine was a major contributor.

          Throughout history the number one priority of tyrants has been to control communications. It is the key to power and the current free and uncontrolled nature of Internet communication is a severe threat to totalitarian regimes around the world. This includes many countries that we usually don't think of such as the various Arab states, non of which are truly democratic and most of which are autocracies or at best oligarchies. Real democracy is still thin on the ground on this planet and the single greatest driver in that direction now is the Internet. By monetizing it the systems and methods of imposing control can be embedded in the Net, something that was not a part of the original concept. Once such controls are in place they can be used for any purpose, including the suppression of the free flow of information and ideas.

          More here:

          Net Neutrality keeps the internet free and open — enabling anyone to share and access information of their choosing without interference.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

          Comment


          • #6
            The Internet is not static but rather more of an arms-race. Somebody comes up with a search system that works (like Google) and people (advertisers) figure out how to game it so they wind up in the top-ten. That hole is patched, and another way is found. So long as there's money involved, it's going to be that way. As such, your search results will ebb and flow with time. In the rough times, as we seem to be getting into (I hate those sites that aggregate search terms to feed profit-only results) you have to get smarter on the searches. Eventually, someone will come up with a search system that defeats them.

            As for your regular adds - Firefox with the Adblock Plus extension gets rid of most of the annoying ones. I particularly like that I can selectively eliminate those annoying FLASHING swf adverts that don't stop with the ESC key, like animated GIFs do. With Adblock, a couple of clicks and they are GONE. Very satisfying actually.

            This is one advantage of open source projects. No commercial product is going to provide a way to block advertising. There is no Adblock plugin for IE.


            David...
            http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree completely, searches used to turn up completely relevant material, but most of it is commercial now.

              For the longest time it seemed that any search for anything at all led you to some kind of porn site, now most searches end up with link pages, have gotten to realy dislike searching with google, just about every search leads to an order page.

              Ken

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              • #8
                Maybe so.

                Deleted/edited-out
                Last edited by oldtiffie; 08-18-2007, 10:01 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan
                  I ran into this directly recently while looking online for a copy of the BC Building code. The BC government has been very progressive about providing access online to nearly all departments and the full legal text of the regulations, law and codes they produce and enforce. The building code is a very big exception. No specific information is available, only an offer to sell you a copy for about $600 on a DVD. This can only be a consequence of behind the scenes lobbying by someone or groups(s) that will benefit from the average homeowner not knowing the rules and remaining unable to inform himself.
                  I agree with Evan on this charging for public information.
                  If you want to see a British Standard you either have to buy it or view it on screen at a local library but you can't take a copy.

                  Now these standards have been devised by a British public body with public funds and you are forced to adhere to them but you have no free access to them.

                  This applies to information of standards that have been in the public domain for ages.
                  Want to see the Standards on Whitworth threads what were invented around 1850 and have been published in every engineering book since ?
                  Sorry pay for them, about $220 a shot.

                  Now with the older stuff it's OK as you can get access to them anywhere.
                  But what about newer information like T&G tolerancing.
                  You are given a print but haven't a clue what the icons mean and you have to pay another $220 to find out ?

                  Most of these standards run to about 20 pages but only about 8 to 10 are relevant to the standard. The rest state who was on the committee, what they had for dinner, and other bull****.

                  At the end of the day the public has paid for these.

                  .
                  .

                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OT- the internet?

                    I think that Tiffie and I agree about 'the warts and all' Internet.
                    Being an ancient, there was a time when seeking knowledge was nigh impossible. The library book was out and by the time it came back, it was another month. Buying was simply out of the question, I and I believe thousands of others could not afford more than a few books.
                    Today, I can Google or whatever and have a sort of answer within minutes.
                    It is not a question of engineering content but in all sorts of spheres.

                    There is, however, the sinister side of the Internet. There always was a sinister side to information. It is not new- it is only the speed which is staggering.

                    Today, we have the choice of how we want to use our new found knowledge.
                    Of course, we are all using the information to our advantage. I'm a bit deaf- shout up, please.

                    Norm

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                    • #11
                      i find it is being taken over by the money people. i tried to get info. on a small tractor. the frist 3 pages of hits were for owner manuals most from the same place.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John Stevenson
                        ....
                        If you want to see a British Standard you either have to buy it or view it on screen at a local library but you can't take a copy.
                        ......

                        You are given a print but haven't a clue what the icons mean and you have to pay another $220 to find out ?

                        Most of these standards run to about 20 pages but only about 8 to 10 are relevant to the standard. The rest state who was on the committee, what they had for dinner, and other bull****.

                        .
                        The cutest thing about all these standards is the "unique source" system... incorporating other documents by reference.

                        In any such standards system, there must be ONLY ONE DOCUMENT where any given piece of information exists.

                        So you buy the standard you need. In turn it references a second document. If you look at THAT document, you find that IT in turn references yet ANOTHER document.

                        With only ONE document, which is the standard you need, you get NO real information, just the "shell" of the standard, because the key portion references something you don't have.

                        And it seems not to matter what document you have, it ALWAYS references a different one for a definition, a tolerance table, the specifics of the test procedure, whatever. Without that other document, you cannot actually use what you have.

                        Now, this is very logical, because if the test, or the tolerance table, etc, is revised, it is not necessary to revise all the documents where it would have been shown. Makes great sense administratively.

                        However, it ensures that you don't buy just ONE $220 document, but a whole series of them.

                        In effect, it is information control, ensuring that only well-heeled organizations have access to the information.
                        Last edited by J Tiers; 07-01-2007, 09:55 AM.
                        CNC machines only go through the motions.

                        Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                        Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                        Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                        I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                        Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A bold new world

                          Deleted/edited-out
                          Last edited by oldtiffie; 08-18-2007, 10:02 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OT- the internet?

                            In one of my lunatic moments i wanted to know just how many of the family had been hung for sheep stealing and went into my local library where the records are- I think- kept.

                            Being a genea- illogical freak, I was after help.
                            Can you use a digital camera, was the question.

                            And there, folks, is one way of skinning a - sheep!

                            Norm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Governments and their derivatives of all ilks are well into "fee for service" and "full cost recovery" - ie "user pays" (whatever that means).
                              The issue I have is that the user has already paid. The information was developed with funds from the public purse, it has been placed in digital format and the web presence already exists. The only thing missing is the downloadable document even though it exists in downloadable form. There is no further attendant cost of publication or distribution. There is no logic that makes it reasonable to charge the taxpayer for access to information they have paid to create. No additional time or service by any public servant is required to provide the documents.

                              The only logic that seems to apply in this instance is that it would further enable a homeowner to engage in home improvement activities without the need to consult (and pay) a professional.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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