Tuesday, December 14, 2010

quick hit: hints, tips, and explanations

I use Blogger to host my blog because I'm a Google junkie and it's easy to use and free.

Most of the images that I use that do not belong to me were found using Google's image search with the additional qualifier that the image is "labeled for reuse".

I link a lot to Wikipedia for definitions and such because Wikipedia is awesome in a human way: it's dynamic, and flawed; it learns and grows...it's like a very learned uncle who always answers his phone.

Likewise, I link to a lot of product descriptions on Amazon; this company is, in many ways, starting to look like a public resource, like a national park or the Smithsonian.  Amazon is out to make a profit (and good for them) but if you linger there for a while, and peak a little below the surface, you'll find community message boards where people swap wisdom; you'll find serendipitous poetry in product reviews; and for almost ANY product you will find a description page and a handful of reviews, even if Amazon doesn't offer that product for sale from their own inventory.


  1. I hadn't thought of Amazon that way... valid point. What are some other for-profit resources or entities that are like that? I can think of the Misumi industrial automation catalog, paper version (the www.misumiusa.com website just doesn't flow yet) and the McMaster-Carr catalog as well, though those lack the community aspects you've mentioned (www.mcmaster.com site is better than Misumi, but not the same as the paper tome).

    It's interesting you bring it up, though. J & I were just noting the other day that Amazon is HUGE, now to the point where it exceeds our ability to even pretend we comprehend. It outgrew our ability to actually comprehend long ago. That scares us... but should it? Is huge always bad?

  2. I don't think "huge" is necessarily evil...in my social circle I am occasionally the odd man out on WalMart, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola...

    I can certainly see some negatives to these specific companies, but I also see the power of scale to bring a consistent product to a widely distributed area and at a low price.

    Amazon is different by virtue of the "virtual" aspect of their being. They can "print on demand" for a number of books; they can source inventory in a lot of products "on the fly" from a number of producers or DCs; their massive server capacity makes it easy to host the community boards...