Prison Pete

Friday, September 10, 2004
  Ah, research.
Yes, the web spoils some of the fun. Then again, as all the research I did for my NY case shows, you can not beat a computer for searching. Reading from a book is still the best way to absorb something, but a good search is worth its weight in gold.

The thing I think is wrong with all the "search" engines today is the idea that the computer can figure out what you want. For example, even though the legal software I was using had a "natural" language interface, it was only when I used the actual search language that I found the one case that I needed.

So, in my mind, instead of writing tons of software to find what we want, we should be teaching people how to search. For example, I think that when I found the one case out of thousands on file, I was able to specify a search that had "federal sentencing guidelines" and "double punishment" in the same sentence. I might have broken it down further to include the word "departure" within two or three words.

The fact that you type in "Apple" and Google comes back with thousands of hits is to me no big deal. To find some reference to the use of an apple as a fruit used in cooking sauerkraut would be much more effective.

But it should be up to the searcher, not the search engine, to set the parameters of where to find the info he or she wants.

The internet may be a great technical highway, but the stops along the way still need lots of work. As a custom programmer, I still feel that there is a wide market out there to develop systems that meet the needs of the individual without them having to fight through a pile of useless shit to find what they need.

It sounds like I have a lot to catch up on, but hey, that will be one advantage I will have and that is I can only go up.

So, working for the little guys at a low rate can let me kill two birds with one stone. I get the experience I need, and I can see if I can really help the little guy.

I just retyped the price list for the pool table recovering. The CO in charge of that project will be off for the next two days, so nothing will happen until Wednesday on that unless the boss decides to jump in when he returns from his two week vacation on Monday.

Time will tell.

My boss is off till Tuesday, so I do not know if I will get the chance to blow the whistle on the kiln stuff or not. The stupidvisor may be too busy dealing with his bosses to worry about us inmates on Monday. I will plan to bring the rough draft stuff down tonight and type it.

So all will be in the mail tonight, and if it doesn't take a side trip, you should have it Wednesday.
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