Why the internet is both good and bad

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Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby martin_proffitt » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:16 pm

Why the internet is good :
It gave us Linux.

I've been using Mandrake/Mandriva for around five years and in all that time I must have gone through every form of problem that exists.

Most of the time I run a stable system, but inevitably from time to time something screws up.
All too often, when something goes wrong, we dive for firefox and google. "Someone has been through this before - they'll have posted somewhere about it" - and this is mostly true. However, in this lies a deeper problem. Sheer laziness.

I don't actually have the internet where I live in huddersfield. I can't afford it. When I get stuck on a problem, whether it is with linux itself, or whether it is a problem relating to PHP or C++ the first place I dive is for the documentation. Everything is covered in the documentation and if its not there, its because the answer is a logical one. Only in a few minor instances have I not been able to find the answer without documentation or logic.

The problem I really find about the internet is it takes away our will to learn. We google an answer, try it, it works, we forget what we did because someone else told us how to do it, so when the problem comes around again, we often can't remember how we fixed it so go back to google.

I have gained virtually all of my knowledge about Linux, programming, networking, etc. from trial and error. Most of the time, I find the solution reasonably quickly, in some cases faster than I ever would have googling for the answer. And when you do learn something by trial and error, you are more inclined to remember it. You type the wrong thing in as root, "oops I just lost the mysql data folder", you better remember so you never type that in again.

Now I am not saying "Don't use the internet" - not in the slightest, I just think that we place too much emphasis on the answers it provides and not enough on our own initiative.

There is a lot to be said for the all too often quoted "rtfm". Man and Info are quite definatly your friends! failing that, '/usr/share/doc' is also a good place to look. If its not there, try running the relative program from the command line with the '-h' or '--help' option. That can sometimes help.

I feel that the internet should only really be used when you have exhausted all other means. Yes, it can be frustrating at times, learning without being guided by someone else, but the end results are more than worth the extra effort you put in.
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RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby Rhakios » Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:03 pm

So remind me, why is the internet bad?
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RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby bigjohn » Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:50 pm

Because it gives geeks the idea that they can write as well as a "top notch" author. :wink:

whereas, said geeks, know one hell of a lot about how IT stuff works, but diddlysquat about how to string sentences together in a logical, readable/understandable manner (however helpful they may be - you should try asking a question at my LUG).

Living proof, being just about any "howto" at tldp. Nice consistant format, just badly written, lacking coherence, targetting articles etc at people with the same levels of technical knowledge as the author

:shock: Oooooo! now theres heresy. Criticism of something as worthy as tldp!
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Re: RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby TheDoctor » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:03 pm

bigjohn wrote:said geeks, know one hell of a lot about how IT stuff works, but diddlysquat about how to string sentences together in a logical, readable/understandable manner


Or where to put commas?

But of course, if you use HTML in your emails, it's possible to send a message across the internet by means of pictures, using no words whatsoever.
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Re: RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby Rhakios » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:45 pm

bigjohn wrote::shock: Oooooo! now theres heresy. Criticism of something as worthy as tldp!


The Cynux author exposed!

:)
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Re: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby Marrea » Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:19 pm

martin_proffitt wrote:The problem I really find about the internet is it takes away our will to learn. We google an answer, try it, it works, we forget what we did because someone else told us how to do it, so when the problem comes around again, we often can't remember how we fixed it so go back to google.


Sorry, but I don't agree at all. I have acquired vast amounts of information from the Internet to help me do what I want to do in Linux. I keep detailed notes of everything I do, every change I make, and whether it was successful or not. This way, if I run into the same problem again, I just refer to my notes. I always go to the Internet first. It's not being lazy. I have a limited amount of leisure time to pursue my computing hobby and I want to find out how to do things quickly.
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Re: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby TheDoctor » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:16 pm

martin_proffitt wrote:The problem I really find about the internet is it takes away our will to learn. We google an answer, try it, it works, we forget what we did because someone else told us how to do it, so when the problem comes around again, we often can't remember how we fixed it so go back to google.


I think you're referring to the World Wide Web here, rather than the internet in general. Unless, that is, you've found some way of using Google on, say, usenet news groups. This was the point I was trying, frivolously, to make above. But never mind. It doesn't alter the main thrust of your argument.

I don't really see, however, what's wrong with the scenario you're describing. Why should the human mind be filled with trivia? It was, as Einstein pointed out. made for better things.

I think your problem is that you confuse learning with memorising information. These are not the same thing. Learning is something much deeper, and the web (and the internet generally) is an important tool for learning. Not least because it gives people greater access than ever to disposable facts.
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Re: RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby bigjohn » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:05 pm

TheDoctor wrote:
bigjohn wrote:said geeks, know one hell of a lot about how IT stuff works, but diddlysquat about how to string sentences together in a logical, readable/understandable manner


Or where to put commas?

But of course, if you use HTML in your emails, it's possible to send a message across the internet by means of pictures, using no words whatsoever.

Ah, but the question/conversation wasn't about the appalling grammar was it! :shock:

Now you just put that pointy hat on, yes, you know, the one with the D on it and go and stand over there, in pedants corner.

You naughty little "Lynne Truss acolyte" you! :twisted: :D

Marrea wrote:Sorry, but I don't agree at all. I have acquired vast amounts of information from the Internet to help me do what I want to do in Linux. I keep detailed notes of everything I do, every change I make, and whether it was successful or not. This way, if I run into the same problem again, I just refer to my notes. I always go to the Internet first. It's not being lazy. I have a limited amount of leisure time to pursue my computing hobby and I want to find out how to do things quickly.

One of the more verbose members of my LUG suggested I do something similar ages ago - though his version of it was to make a small text file which is kept open for reference during "experiments", because it's easily filed if said experiment is successful, or if not, can be read/edited in CLI.

One of those things I mean to keep getting round too.

TheDoctor wrote:I think your problem is that you confuse learning with memorising information. These are not the same thing. Learning is something much deeper, and the web (and the internet generally) is an important tool for learning. Not least because it gives people greater access than ever to disposable facts.

Sort of agree, but isn't learning really just memorising information that you're not familiar with?

Rhakios wrote:The Cynux author exposed!

Erm, no. I speak with the wrong accent. I live in "the centre of the known world" i.e. West of Southampton = Ireland/America, North of Gatwick = Scotland, East of Hastings = Denmark, IOW=France. The middle bit = centre of known world :wink:

Bath ? Texas isn't it ?

Did you ever hear the one about the banana that walked into a pub and asked for a gin and tonic...................
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Re: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby nelz » Wed Aug 23, 2006 2:48 pm

TheDoctor wrote:I think you're referring to the World Wide Web here, rather than the internet in general. Unless, that is, you've found some way of using Google on, say, usenet news groups.


Like http://groups.google.com?
Last edited by nelz on Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: RE: Why the internet is both good and bad

Postby Rhakios » Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:07 pm

bigjohn wrote:Erm, no. I speak with the wrong accent.


I'm afraid my magazine comes in a silent version, so I've not been able to tell the writers accent ;)

I live in "the centre of the known world"


Delphi?
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