Pandora's Box

2006-12-14

Did my taxes this evening. Turns out not to be that hard as it happens, although I was ably assisted by Mike Aird — I mention him, because the last time I put him up a friend of his got in contact as a result. Tax forms in the UK are a right bugger, although easier than many places I believe. I’ve realised that doing the work was a mistake though; filling in the forms costs more than what you gain.

Spent the rest of the time waffling on about the power of the internet. I heard Erin McKeown’s "Fast as I can" the other day, randomly, and was struck by the beautiful use of inverted word order, leaving the whole thing with a real spacy feal. I heard it at work, then forgot who did it, but 20 minutes of determined work with the internet got me the artist, a short hop to the lyrics, a few more got me an MP3 (sample, obviously, not the whole lot), and another minute to find that she’s supporting Thea Gilmore at the Sage in a March.

The course I want to on Information Literacy last week, would suggest that I got this all wrong. Apparently, free text searches are bad, and I should really be using structured searching with boolean queries in a database. True 10 years ago, but now? Boolean searching was a bad user interface because we didn’t know how to do it better. But 20 minutes to so much information about a song that I half heard a week before? Now, we do know how to do it better.

Originally published on my old blog site.