Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lileks on the Internet

I have enjoyed James Lilek's work since I discovered it on the internet back around 2001, I think. This paragraph he wrote in yesterday's bleat describes to me exactly how I use the internet.

"the internet is a giant distributed information storage and retrieval system, and the most powerful tools are the meat-and-water units attached at the end by their fingertips. But some, it seemed, googled it. That’s fine. But it reminded me that there’s a difference between knowing a thing and knowing how it find it. Does the distinction matter? Well, yes. For obvious reasons, it helps to know how to make a fire, as opposed to knowing where you can get pdfs online of the Boy Scout Handbook. But knowing things lets you make connections in your head you can’t get with the web; the intenret leads you from point A to point 85, and while it’s usually an interesting anabasis, all you remember at the end is how one damn thing leads to another, not connects to another. It’s as if we dump out a jigsaw puzzle on the table and compliment ourselves on seeing 500 pieces, instead of the picture they’re supposed to form.

I know, I know - I’m talking about knowing the source of an amusingly dubbed Hong Kong movie that concerns mock outrage over rice. I wonder if it’s on YouTube."

My problem is I never write things down or bookmark them and forget by the next day what I found. The same is true with Amazon and books, and YouTube with music. There is so much out there to find and remember.

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