Monday, January 09, 2006

Almost a Year!

Well, it is almost a year since Ask Uncle Mark took to the blogosphere! I admit, it has been sporadic, but at least in doing it I've learned a few things. I hope you have, too.

Some of my lessons learned are:

  1. It's funny how when you tell people that you will answer their technical questions in a 'blog how fast the questions dry up! One of the original purposes of this 'blog was to allow one answer to address a number of questions -- if one person has a question, the idea was that so do others. I did not anticipate the number of technical questions to decline!
  2. I do not have to be the writer of all content. There are others who have written eloquently on technical subjects, and many times it is more expedient to link to their information -- the beauty of the web.
  3. It takes time to do something like this! When I post an answer, I want to ensure it is correct. It turns out that this "fact checking," as we in the journalism trade calls it, is an involved process.
So, I've decided to shift the focus a bit for Ask Uncle Mark to be less of a "Dear Abby" to more of an internet "Guide to the Inside." Sort of a specialist in "Endotechnology." There is so much technical information, news items, and just plain data flying around that it is extremely difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. For example, some alarming technical information is just sensationalism, and some, like Sony's "root kit" fiasco, is truly evil. I broke the story to the non-technical world here, on Ask Uncle Mark (I got it from, the site for "News for Nerds."). The Sony Rootkit ended up on the list of one of the biggest gaffs of the year on several technical media outlets, and cost Sony a bundle.

The field of technology has gotten so vast that there is truly no way one person can report on the whole of it. There are, for example, computer specialists in the field of supercomputers that never touch Microsoft-run PCs or Apple Macs. There are Apple Mac afficianados who would die of mortification if they ever had to use a PC. And, there are the True Believers of the Microsoft/Gates Vision of the Future. But, those are the obvious divisions -- there are more. There is a magazine called "Computer Power User" that gets into the guts of the new PCs that are out, and is geared to computer gamers. These guys have a totally different take on computers than the casual web cruiser. They want maximum power from their computers, even to the point of forcing the computer chips to perform outside of specification (called "overclocking") and then cooling their super-charged computer chips with watercooled -- yes, really watercooled -- heat dissipators. This is a whole new realm of information.

During the year, I made a few informational posts in addition to the educational posts. Going forward, I will be posting interesting technology stories and experiences with technology as they happen, and adding some insight into them, again, with an eye to the non-technical reader. There are a ton of resources for the technically minded which are incomprehensible to the "lay person," but which are nontheless important to know about. Uncle Mark will post some of the more interesting and let you know why you should care.

So, welcome to The Guide to the Inside -- Ask Uncle Mark.