Friday, December 01, 2006

This Internet thing could be big.

So the post preceding this one was an attempt by me to help the Internet work. I had a problem with my iPod, and spent many hours trying to resolve it before finally finding the (simple) solution.
Why did it take so long? Basically, because the way I was describing the symptoms was different from the way that Jeff Bryan over at the 5G iPod forums at Apple described the underlying problem. I was looking for something having to do with ipodservice.exe taking up 100% of CPU, while he was describing a problem with drive letters. Fortunately for me, I found his post and guessed the issue he was talking about might be related to the one I was experiencing.

Then I figured that I'd try to make the internet better by putting the information I had gathered in someplace where it could be found, so that others might benefit. Thus far, 3 people have left comments indicating that this was a good idea. I'm pretty happy with that.

This kind of highlights the problem with the web, though. Almost all of the information you want is somewhere out there in the long tail, but finding it, weeding out the useful thing from all the other crap, is a nigh-insurmountable task. Without a deliberate attempt by humans to wrest order from chaos, the internet isn't going to live up to its potential as a transformative mechanism for humanity.

Most attempts to create order from internet chaos have been top-down. Yahoo was my first exposure to someone attempting to categorize all the stuff on the 'net, and even early on, it was pretty obvious that the amount and variety of stuff was growing faster than the ability of people to come up with categories. I think the future of order-from-chaos lies in tagging and folksonomies. Yes, they introduce a lot of crap data, and have the potential for abuse, but I believe the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Especially because we can build mechanisms for determining who to trust based on behavior, as Google has done with their ranking mechanisms for sites.

1 comment:

nihilix said...

nice on the comments! that's more than i've had - and if you weren't the one to check me out, I got a hit off it!