What I’ve Learned

What I’ve learned is….there is a lot of shit on the internet. There’s a lot of shit I never suspected existed, and there’s a lot of shit I wish didn’t exist. What I’ve learned is that I’m getting better at locating and accessing information I need and want, but I’ve learned that I have to keep learning how to find it better.

I am not particularly good with computers and the internet, because I am not a child of technology. That’s because I am not a child! If you want a program installed, or uninstalled, or your Kobo unbricked, give it to a 14 year-old. If you want your computer defragged or debugged, let the 14 year-old do it. His/her 16 year-old brother/sister is already a bit behind the curve, and the 18 year-old neighbor is as puzzled as I am.

I can usually find what I’m looking for on the internet through trial and error, lots of trials, and many errors. Tenacious sounds better than stupid stubborn. I used to complain that search engines were too literal and precise. If each and every word wasn’t spelled just right, and the punctuation wasn’t exactly correct, they had no idea what you were looking for.

The programmers have changed all that, but not always for the better. Now the search engines make guesses, sometimes wild guesses. “Did you mean Popsicle sticks?” No! I was looking for a recipe for apple cobbler. “Well, it did say to pop it in the oven.”

I was looking for a place called Cheney, ON the other day, and gave it to MapQuest, which shrugged its shoulders, but listed places like Cheney Plumbing in Chatham, ON. My little hometown has a Wikipedia page, which I just emailed the Promotions Committee to make a correction/change to, so I handed Cheney, ON to Google. The first page of results were all Dick Cheney, on Bush, Dick Cheney on defense spending, Dick Cheney on shotgunning a friend. Did you notice that the O and the N in my request were both capitalized, indicating a location, and yours weren’t. ??!

I gotta remember to put quotation marks around my search terms, although I’m not sure that would have helped, above. If I ask for Angelina Jolie, so that I can get information about her knife collection, the first responses are always about Angelina Jolie. I asked Google about a young English actor by the name of Lee Ingleby, and the first response I got was from some New York State blogger who took a road trip, and met a guy named Lee, in Ingleby, PA.

Ingleby’s been working for about fifteen years, and he’s been busy! He has to be. Unlike American actors, English actors are paid shit, which is somewhat odd, because the pool of English actors is so small. We often see the same actor in two different British shows, broadcast the same night. An English actress stated that she had played every female role, from ingénue to witch – in one movie, two different female characters, and in another, a society doyenne – and the butler.

British shooting schedules are not as long, or as tight, as American.   Lee has done both movies and television, as well as BBC radio. In a couple of cases, while he was doing a series, he also did a movie or an episode or two of another show. He had a minor part in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but that’s inevitable. Daniel Radcliff said that the pool of actors was so small, and the crowd scenes were so huge, that every British actor, not actually filming, was dragooned onto the lot. Guys from the caterers, or just delivering bottled water, wound up waving a magic wand.

I searched the name Ingleby at surnamedb.com, and it claimed it was a locational name, the “ingle” meaning English, and “by” meaning a small town, therefore, “a person from an English village.” I believed that, for the second it took me to realise that a name site is not a dictionary site. They’re all English villages.

I went to dictionary.com, which told me that an ingle is a fireplace, or the fire in it. An inglenook is a small bench built into the corner of a fireplace where one could sit to do chores and keep warm. The place-name Ingleby then, means a small town, prosperous enough that there are a number of homes with stone fireplaces.

When you ask the dictionary site for a word meaning, you get not only the meaning, but a display similar to a set of Google responses. There are several words ahead of, and behind, the one you just typed in, and there is a list of related search topics. Of course, there are always a couple of commercial listings at the top. They have to pay the bills somehow.

The top listing on “ingle” was for dryers-loaders-blenders.com, a company which sells plastic-handling equipment, similar to what the son’s employer uses. They sell a number of manufacturers’ machines, but concentrate on stuff from the Inglis Corporation. Ingle to Inglis is a bit of a stretch, but, that’s business!

The second listing was for “Clases de Ingles online”, with a link to openenglish.com. English as a second language for Spanish-speaking immigrants, this Ingles means English. Below that was a reference to a character in the classic movie, Casablanca. Other than Rick, Ilsa, and Sam the piano-man, I don’t remember anyone else’s name. Then came a listing for a Supreme Court case of Ingle vs. Schmoe. That one I got.

The final four entries still baffle me. They were for Kroger, Publix, Food Lion, and cappuccino toppings. I read page after page, on each of these links, and never saw the word “ingle.” The only guess I can make is that there is a company named Ingle, which manufactures cappuccino toppings, and these three supermarket chains carry them. Any of you guys want to make a guess??! They’re three for a buck.



16 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned

  1. It’s definitely interesting, and frustrating, what comes up on these search engines. Asking for information on saskatoons gets a lot of info on Saskatoon, Sask. but you have to search through it for anything about saskatoon berries. Phoning official offices is no better. By the time I get to speak to a real human being I’ve forgotten the question.
    Keep on chugging.


    • Archon's Den says:

      We learned about saskatoons about ten years ago, and still have a couple of half-pint jars of jam left. I learned that, to find more locally I had to enter “Saskatoon berries” in the search term, or I got nothing back except about God’s answer to sleeping pills for the western prairies.
      I also hate the “Push Five for…” game. Even when you reach what claims to be a human, they have to ask the computer, and can’t do any better a search than you could.
      I think I can. I think I can. Chuff, chuff! 🙂


  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Well, Archon, when you have reached a point in technology at which you can complain that your computer doesn’t properly understand you, you have reached a milestone! 🙂

    The problem is that, despite decades of effort, artificial intelligence (AI) still does not exist. The algorithms used by search engines leverage access by statistical analysis of popular searches, not by logically parsing your query. Hence, you are constrained by Joe Average. Computers still can’t pass the Turing test.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I often sit in front of the Idiot Box’s younger brother and have arguments about which one of us is dumber. It’s often a tie.
      As a cruciverbalist, I’ve learned to ask questions from many different directions, using Joe Average’s queries. The poor, Catholic-raised wife is so linear and non-critical, she can’t even Google herself. 😦


  3. BrainRants says:

    Don’t feel bad. I’m a digital immigrant here too.


    • Archon's Den says:

      And you’ve done very well for yourself. too. An abacus was high-tech where/when I was a kid. I remember hand-cranked telephones and cash registers. Immigrant is an apt term. I am amazed I’ve learned as much as I have. It’s like learning a different language. 🙂


  4. Not to sound mean, but have you consider taking an intro to computers/internet course? I am not a child of technology, but learned long ago if I wanted something fixed with my computer, I would have to teach myself because I could not afford to pay anyone. I fell in love with computers.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’ve been using computers for almost 30 years, first for word-processing, now for blogging and research. During a period of unemployment, the wife used a small education grant to take 7 computer usage courses. The son and daughter both took computer courses in high school. More recently, so did the grandson and his fiancée. Tied to her computer by disabilities, the daughter has studied and learned a lot more.
      With their assistance, as well as online help from BrainRants, and Ted, @ SightsNBytes, I have learned almost all I need to know, in the areas I use.
      This (hopefully) humorous rant was about the problems the human mind, mine, still has with the unthinking machines in attempting to obtain information. I don’t think they teach courses in knowledge-sieving, and if they did, locally, I don’t know how I would find out about them. 😯


  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Are you really just searching for Angelina Jolie to find out about her uh, knife collection?


    • Archon's Den says:

      Wellll….if a couple of Those photos were available, I guess I could download them for scientific study. They’d have to be older shots, because fear of cancer had her have some of the more interesting points removed. 😯


  6. aFrankAngle says:

    Love Mr. Wheeler’s comment about technology not understanding you … which also means it has joined the club with many other humans! Well done, Archon!!!


  7. benzeknees says:

    Searches often leave me clueless as well.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I usually start off that way. Then, as my introductory post said, I spend hours finding the most interesting information, none of which can do me any good whatsoever. Well, now I get the occasional post theme out of it. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s