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February 18, 2006

Web as an Alter Ego

The mirror
Use the web to find people that share your ideas, or that have other ideas. Think what do you like, and google your statement in quotes.
“I love Bjork”
“SSL is a great idea”
“Hardware firewalls are better than software firewalls”
You will find mostly blogs, comments and forums that extend the idea and that may give you related concepts, arguments that support your idea.

The oracle
The web can answer your questions simply because other people have answered it once and the web has cached the answer. Some answers may be great, others may be subjective or plain wrong. It depends on your question. If it's a simple question and has a precise answer, like “Where was Alexander the Great born?” you should put it in the affirmative form: “Alexander the Great was born in *”. Think this way. Let's assume you know the answer. How would you formulate it?
The questions can be open, like: “What's the best firewall?”. These questions are more difficult to reformulate. You should try: “My favorite firewall is *”, “My favourite firewall is *”, “* is the best firewall”.

The categorizer
Categories are a great way to organize data . They work like some drawers that have a different label and some attributes powerful enough to create a class.
Sometimes you know some items that belong to a category and want to know others. You know Tucows, Simtel and are important download centers and you want to find similar sites. Just google: [tucows simtel] unquoted this time and the results will contain enumerations of other software download sites, like Winsite, Softonic or FreewareHome.

The interviewer
Sometimes you just have to ask good questions about a topic and, as you know, great questions value more than a thousand answers. Let's say you meet a BMW representative. Google some question fillers:
“Why * * * BMW?”
“Why BMW cars * * *”
“How many BMW * * *”
“How * * BMW X5 * *”
“BMW sales * * drop * *”

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