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Finding is better than searching

By Claudette

I live humbly on the technology food chain.

5 years ago a good friend spun my simple world around with a relentless avalanche of new technology: Text messaging, instant messaging, iPod, iTunes, GPS, HID dive lights, multiple email accounts, wifi… it was one new thing after another and he laughed as this luddite stepped up and up and up.

It was glorious.  It was not always smooth.

Step forward half a decade and the laptop I bought for grad school is no longer the marvel it was.  Problems had accumulated faster than I could knock them down until I found myself cornered by a nasty gang: I could no longer send emails after two software updates, the CD-drive broke, and memory issues abounded.

What I know about computer systems would fit in a TB syringe with room to spare.

I do know a new computer is not in this year’s budget.

I was stuck, having burned hours of fruitless effort, denied at every turn.  Eyes glazed and patience exhausted by ineffective antipodal tech support,  I couldn’t even figure out how much memory my computer had or what I needed.

Then my friend said, “Try asking Google.  Type in “How much memory does my computer have.” I laughed.

Was he pulling my leg?  Suggesting I use my computer like a Magic-8 Ball? “Result hazy. Ask again later.”

Grad school had beaten plain-word searches out of me, insisting on boolean searches and hierarchical keywords… none of which had helped me solve my laptop issues.

So I laughed and tried it.  “How much memory…..”   (…this is so stupid….) and I hit SEARCH.

32 minutes later I had:

  • identified the exact memory DDR SDRAM units in my laptop (I hadn’t even known what these were 20 minutes earlier),
  • ordered the exact ones I needed from some memory ranch in Stockton (“add the max, in matched pairs”),

    "Watch closely as I...."

  • located an 8-min instructional video for replacing them,
  • ordered a refurbished CD-Drive (warrantied and cheap) from Texas,
  • and identified the replacement (bigger) hard drive I’ll be ordering next.

Now this is my kind of Magic-8 Ball!

I’d been trapped by trying to search correctly.
What I needed was to Search effectively.

What I really needed was to Find.

Finding beats the snot out of searching any day.

Of course I still can’t send emails.


Categories : Life, oh life.

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