A student recently asked me how I learn about the technology we study in class. We had just talked about the music video “You’ll Return” and how it was made, and she was looking for the best web sites to learn about such tech marvels. As I explained, it’s not that simple. There are many, many useful sites on the Internet, and over time, I’ve learned about a few that feed my interests. That got me to thinking: how do I learn about what’s cool? It would be interesting to see if I can follow the threads of tech and share them with others.
I’ve always been interested in tech, and read magazines like Popular Electronics, 73 Magazine and QST since I was in high school. The computer age introduced me to Byte Magazine, PC World, Atari ST and others that followed the microcomputer revolution. My interest in MIDI and synthesizers was fueled by Electronic Musician and Mix Magazine. I looked forward to each monthly installment and read these publications from cover to cover. It was the lifeblood of my technical interests.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact transition from print to the Web, but now, I rarely look at technical magazines. The pre-Web Internet was populated by the wonders of Gopher (look it up!) and Bulletin Boards (BBS) including that wonder of wonders: UseNet. Not only could you look for information on specialized topics, there were others like you who would engage in a conversation (albeit asynchronously) on almost any specialized topic. It was a dream come true for information-starved techies and just too convenient and compelling. It was the age of the Internet and its super-charged access to information of all sorts.
So, where to begin? Over a series of posts, I hope to make an information map of how I know. It will include Web sites, Podcasts, Google searches, and Wikipedia. Blogs, YouTube videos, Tweets, and Google+ posts. How did I learn, for example, that the music video, “You’ll Return” was made with an awesome app on the iPad called Auria — 48 tracks of sonic magic. In the process, I hope to learn how to pass the skills and insights needed to turn the morass of data on the Internet into Information. Something we can use.