Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

The Hive

2006-08-26 00:00:00
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[this is a repost of a blog I put on Myspace back in 2006]

There's this great article in this month's Atlantic Monthly about Wikipedia.

I bring it up here because a big part of my being on MySpace is exploring how the Internet is changing the way humans think. Or at least how we learn.

For example, before Google, you needed tons of books to do the kind of work I do. You'd get the book on progamming language "A", the "Tips and Tricks" book for some quick examples, the 500 page book you got because there was this one section, maybe two pages long, that explained EXACTLY how to do something you wanted to do.

But now you just Google it. And, if you're any good at putting your keywords together, you get an answer almost intantly.

Wiki is more abstract, but still amazing. I was out in Redmond, Oregon, a couple weeks back for a wedding. At the little resort community, in the middle of nowhere, there was a mini-auto show for Pierce-Arrow autos. Well, I'm looking at this 1904 bicycle that the company made, and there's a schrader valve sticking out of the rim.

"Schrader valve?" I ask the guy. "Weren't those introduced later?"

He didn't know. So, I pull out my Palm Treo, pop online (I had digital signal in the desert), look up "schrader valve" on Wiki, get the page for Shreader Valve, follow the link for the whole background August Schrader and find that the valve was invented in 1891 and in wide use by the time the bike I was looking at was around.

The fact that I can get that level of information in the middle of butt-nowhere, and give an accurate, relevant detail to someone who, in theory, is an expert, is absolutely amazing to me.

So, this MySpace thing... within a couple days of setting up a MySpace page, a friend finds me out of the blue. BAM, she was bored, and she set up a page and then started searching for all her friends. Within days of me... No corrolation, just the way it worked out.

Where Wiki is for the collection of interesting information, MySpace is the random gut of the Internet. We'll see what happens with it next...

On the Rails

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