Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sources of Information

Chances are, if you use the internet, you benefit from Google's search engine. Whether it's your primary search, or it's the power plant behind your favorite site's search engine, there are excellent odds that you rely on it to provide you with information.

For the most part, Google still isn't the primary source of information, they just direct you to it. Whether it's Google Groups, news.google.com, or even Blogger, they're the aggregator of, or portal to, the information.

That being said, there are some very helpful sources of information out there, but for the most part, they're dispersed across the internet. I have memberships on a lot of free forums, but I'm curious about what you use as your sources.

One of the places that I'd like to check out, just for a month or so, would be Expert-Exchange. They've frequently got results in my Google queries, but without a paid membership, you can't see the (presumable) solution.

Another place I'd love to have a permanent account is at O'Reilly's Safari. The sheer volume of information there is staggering, and very attractive to me. There was a scare recently on Brian Jones's blog that O'Reilly authors would have their free accounts taken away, but that fortunately proved not to be the case. In any event, it seems like a heck of a resource, and I wish my company would get an account there.

A good source of information that I like is ask.slashdot.org. Like the rest of Slashdot, there are a lot of crap responses, but there are an awful lot of good responses as well. When you consider that probably 80% of the IT staff on the internet reads the site, that makes for some interesting viewpoints. I have several threads which I find interesting bookmarked, and there are years worth of archives to go through.

What are the sources you use? Any terrific forums that everyone else should know about? And don't assume that everyone knows about them, either. Blogger Ryan Nedeff has told me personally about several senior IT professionals he's worked with who haven't heard of Slashdot. That just boggles the mind.