Google Yourself an Expert

We’ve All Done This

I’m not the only one who has struggled with something terribly simple. I’m sure. You come across a seemingly easy task but have no clue where to begin. Almost as if the AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines should have some magical way to read what your brain WANTS to do, and make it a reality.

Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet, at least in the automatic sense. Though, with a few key pokes into Google, we can get pretty darn close. (Maybe the next incarnation of Siri will be able to read our thoughts from the next version of the ear pods… So many next’s).

Does Using Google as a Crutch Limit Resourcefulness?

I’m going to say yes, and no. Sometimes I’ll reach my wits end with a problem. If I can’t tell if it’s a hard coded problem, or if it’s my approach – After failing at many many alternative plans of attack – I’ll hit the old search bar. With this, there’s times I’d come back to find that the problem was a legitimate issue with the software/CMS I was using. In most of these retrospective instances, I’m referring to either Joomla, or WordPress.

Joomla 1.5

With Joomla, I was deep into the 1.5 series, as that was exactly at the point when I started working with the web. At this time, there was plenty of help, but also plenty of poorly supported plugins, but the illusion of support. The main plugins of the era had okay support – But many of the freebies I was chasing (as a tight purse stringed startup) were basically made by a creature similar to myself, but with a little more technical expertise…

The point is, I did a LOT of Googling during this time. When plugin X wouldn’t work, I’d of course think that I was doing something incorrectly. Many times, it was me – But others, it was just a shady cheap plugin.

In the Greater Scheme of Problem Solving

It never hurt my problem solving sense, as I would always try to challenge myself first. After all, it is the best way to learn, and generally the way that I have learned most things. But once you reach that breaking point… Oh the breaking point. Not the snap your laptop in half breaking point… But the breaking point where it stops making financial sense to problem solve.

Wasting Time on Cheap Problems

The breaking point I am actually referring to is the point at which you realize that the problem you are trying to solve is not actually worth investing too much time in, despite the ultimate educational rewards, if any.

For Example, if i was trying to CENTER ALIGN an image on a page (whoa, slow down on the complexity, right?) but it wasn’t working, despite the text editor showing it as centered while in edit mode, you’d be scratching your head too.

So you’d start to cross off a few factors that could be at play. Hidden DIVS or CONTAINERS. Then you’d probably CLEAR FORMAT THE ENTIRE TEXT to be sure any lingering obstacle was removed. NOPE, still not showing as centered.

After crossing off a few more potential candidates for problem causers you end up going to Google, and discover that THE JETPACK plugin for WordPress causes some alignment issues when it’s pulling down the CDN copies of your images.

That’s the type of thing where they say ‘Turn off all your plugins to isolate the issue’ turns out to be a very clear winner.

(EDIT: I’m sure this has been fixed in recent years, but back then, it was a crazy nuisance!)