One disruptive technology that has changed everything in recent years is the search engine. It is a paradigm shift which enables even non-specialists to compete on an even playing field.

Let me give an example. I am a fairly specialized tech type who cannot even do basic repair on a car. I had a van some years ago that developed a squealing sound when the front wheels were turned far to the right or left. I took it into National Chain F for repair. They wanted $1200 to replace the entire front end. When I googled the symptoms there were several people who had experienced the problem and fixed it. In this case the solution was to use a needle tipped grease gun to lubricate the joint which was making the noise. I took it into my mechanic friend who did what I asked without even charging me because it was too easy.

Then there was the time my wife's laptop went black. After watching the video some nice guy posted on how to repair my brand's monitor backlight I tackled it successfully.

My point is that one can obtain a reasonable degree of working knowledge with respect to almost any problem encountered from a search engine. I am not afraid to try things I might have felt were out of my comfort zone before the Internet. The same thing holds true for broader policy discussions where a knowledge of facts is relevant but can easily be researched on the Web.





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2 Comments so far

  1. Blue on August 11, 2010 7:22 am

    This is so true, Phil. Hardly a month goes by that I don’t investigate and/or fix a problem at my home without help from the Search Engine. Most recently, a problem I was having with our clothes dryer led to a search which allowed me to complete the repair with a $14 part and about 30 minutes of labor with simple tools. That success led to a search where I found a cleaning & maintenance tip that fixed a refrigerator problem. The money saved from these tow incidents alone have paid my internet service charges for 6 months. In contrast, a simple search can often keep one out of trouble by establishing that the problem is better solved by a professional rather than a do-it-yourself approach.

  2. Craig Bowles on August 11, 2010 7:41 am


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