28 August 2013

Google And Life Long Learning And A Small Blogger Rant

One of the great things about reading online is that when you hit a word you don't know (in my case, usually terms describing fashion or furniture or cars of some particular kind), you can Google it up instantly and learn.

For example, this week, I have needed to look up the words maté, a kind of South American caffeinated tea, kilim, a kind of woven oriental carpet, and a bespoke suit.  I also needed to figure out what a 1969 Chevy Chevelle looks like (I'd heard of them, but couldn't picture one in my head).

In principle, I could have done this pre-Google.  But, finding a source sufficient for these references probably would have taken a half an hour or an hour each at a library, rather than an instant, and in some cases would have resulted in dead ends, particularly where I had misspelled a search term like using "matt" instead of "mate" for the tea in question.  On Google, a wrong turn, like a search that delivers a "matt shot" (booze poured into a shot glass at night's end from the floor mat for a buck), is a minor inconvenience.  In a library search when you can only manage to get there once a day, it could cost you another week that wasn't worth the effort given the final result.

In contrast, on the dislike list, is the function in the blogger software that goes way overboard in copying type style information from a source when you cut and paste.  I'd like to retain scientific notation, accent marks, and emphasis (like italics and bolding), for example, but not fonts and backgrounds, when I cut and past into it in "compose mode".  This is fairly tolerable in Wash Park Prophet, where I can cut and paste in bare HTML and lose the fuss easily.  But, quite a problem at Dispatches from Turtle Island, where I often need substantial formatting of scientific journal article text, but don't want it to take the "cut and paste" paradigm too literally.

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