Friday, March 5, 2010

Stay sharp, get offline

Often I find myself being too lazy when trying to solve an issue, so I copy-paste the error message or type the error description into Google, and press "Search". For over 90% of the problems, that's enough.

Sometimes I think that in order to improve my skills, I'm better off taking the old-school way, and dig for the solution all by myself. This means finding the source of the problem and the solution without any Internet access. This would usually require a bigger understanding of the system and problem in question.

After doing so, there's a great feeling of accomplishment, and it's fun to publish the solution on the blog, StackOverflow or other sites.

The always-on Internet has changed our lives, as it made us both smarter and dumber at the same time. What do you say? Would you try and get back, even only once in a while, to solve problems without the Internet?


  1. I hear you, but I don't think there's anything we can do, that's progress. It's like you had to be way more capable to make complicated calculations without a calculator and yet we're not thinking "Hmm... let's compute 2.3435^3 without a calculator".
    Personally, as you know, I have plenty of challenges at work, where the Internet doesn't supply answers and I prefer not to take work home. So I Google...

  2. I guess that if you (or me for that matters) were a mathematician you would actually consider calculating that thing just for the challenge. There aren't that many true mathematicians out there, but I'm sure you know someone who would calculate that.
    You're a computer scientist/software engineer, therefor you're not asked to calculate a formula, but dig towards fully understanding the system you're dealing with, and solving problems. Actually, you're job demonstrates it quite well.
    If you feel sharp at what you do, you can certainly go on and Google, you don't need the "challenge" since it's just a waste of time for you.

    Also, as I explained Yevgeny on Buzz, having working in someplace without Internet under your fingertips is a different scenario from what I describe (you require more than a few clicks in order to find a solution on Google), so this post has less to do with you right now.