These Posts are Study Guides

© Fernando Caracena, 2018

Information Overload

File:1979 TI-99-4 with Speech Synthesizer, RF modulator, keyboard overlays (adjusted).jpg

The TI-99/4 personal computer. Permission has been granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

The posts contained in this blog are really study guides for using the Internet for launching self-study. Use the posts as points of departure, from which to explore the various themes discussed. The Internet contains access to so much information that it can be daunting to wade out in its deep waters without a guide, even using search engines. Of course, this is for people who have an enquiring mind and really want to know and understand our world. Raw information by itself can become so overwhelming that one's mind drowns in it. People can face Information Overload  and get analysis paralysis. I have been in research most of my life: as a student, as a scientist, and just as private citizen in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. Further, I have been into computers from the time that they were room-sized machines, to which you had to communicate through specialized machine code (see post, My early years as a scientific programmer). Afterwards, when personal computers became available, I bought some of the early versions such as the TI-99/4A, the Apple II+, and IBM PC (see the post on The Age of Fun Computing). I tried various operating systems such as CP/M, DOS, the various Apple ones. At work, I used UNIX, and now I much prefer to use LINUX on my own home computer.

You the reader can use these posts as a study guide. Just follow the various hyperlinks (underlined parts) that may attract your curiosity and wish to follow up. Return to the post if you like, using the back arrow on your browser. See if that works for you and let me know if you have any suggestions for improving this approach.

My philosophy in writing these posts is to eliminate as much redundancy as possible.  (See The Compact Structure of these Posts.) If someone has already written something clear on the part of the subject under discussion, why not hyperlink the discussion to that document to flesh out the complete thought? This is not plagiarism, because it gives authors full credit, and in effect is consistent with the spirit of those who designed the internet for full sharing of ideas. For example, read Jaron Lanier's book, Who Owns the Future. This activity is an expression of true scholarship. The result is that this activity fosters the growth of strong minded people who think for themselves--a new human type that will inherit the future and take us to the stars!

Added 20 June 2019:

As I have stated previously, my original intent in keeping this blog stemmed from my desire to establish a web page that I could reference in my search for consulting work. Later, the purpose morphed into an open journal, which would serve me as a data base for writing published works. I was surprised by the increasing volume of traffic at my blog site, but I was also aware that a lot of it was spurious. There are many people online trying to make money by setting up a website and drawing eyeballs and clicks. This they hope to monetize into a growing business. To do this, they want to gain a high standing on the search engines. One important way to do this is to get a lot of link-backs from other sites. I do not wish to engage in this activity. I am not opposed to people's ambitions to grow a business, but I do not like clickbait sites because they inject noise into the Internet, which I find annoying when I am researching a subject.

The following is what I wrote about this site four years ago in the post, "About this Blog and FAQs":

An Open Journal

What I present here is really some kind of open journal—a sort of stream of consciousness. I allow the public to look over my shoulder, and even make comments. I do not like spam. I give it the fast flush. I do the same for brain-dead comments. I do not write using some kind of AI software that spins ideas, and would be a waste of time for an intelligent reader. So far, I do not sell anything out of this web site. If I ever do, it will be by a very indirect means, say through sales of suggested reading through book stores operated by other people. Or perhaps, through the sale of my own e-books. But, all that is in the future.

What I really hope to do here now, and I have been disappointed in trying, is to stimulate people (especially the young) to develop an enquiring mind, to develop an ability to think for themselves, and to learn how to use the results in being able to effectively find out the answers to whatever questions they may have through effective research. These are skills that are learned and improved through practice. The home computer connected to the Internet is a tool that greatly facilitates this effort. However, there are many enemies of any programs that aim at increasing the number of liberated minds online. As a result, some people in high places would like to impose a system of Internet censorship that would limit the ability of people to be free to research any subject on the Internet.  I have taught at universities, and even there I have been frustrated in the aims listed above. The educational system in the United States is not united behind the goal of developing strong, independent, well informed minds that are capable of logical reasoning, which is a real education.


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