Domestic Life of the Royal Family, by unknown ...
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Sometimes I go to a local coffee place where I live. At times there are people who are having computer problems so I will offer to help them for free. A few days ago after spending an hour with a nice woman she gave me $20 as a thank you for helping her. I appreciated that and thanked her. Flash back several months ago. I had my first donation on this website for someone who gave me $2 for help that solved his computer issue. I appreciated that as well, and he sent a nice email as well. It is exciting to know that your work is helping others. So the question I have for you dear reader is which one did I work harder for? What makes spending 1 hour working in real life worth more than spending 1 hour researching an answer on the web? I am not complaining. I consider this website to be my donation to help others. I am just curious as a computer person. From my point of view helping someone in real life has the following benefits that you can’t get online.

  1. Faster that you don’t have to search for information and think if it applies to you.
  2. Perhaps easier to understand because you can ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  3. More personal and human so you feel more trusting to take the advice that is offered.

I often benefit from websites that I never financially support. I don’t really buy any of their advertised products although I might suggest them if they seem appropriate to a client and I have read positive reviews of them. I think online the value isn’t in what you learn but the authority/credibility of the information provider. I have noticed that many websites have the same information, the difference is in the trust you have in the provider. I can understand that online that same help can benefit the provider potentially unlimited number of times compared to life. Still does that make the information worth less than life information because it wasn’t presented in person? I think the answer is that it does. I think that the time/effort it takes to apply the answer for most people is greater than cost of paying for someones time. So by the time they find the answer they have invested so much in finding it, they don’t feel like supporting the website that gives it. I am talking about myself first here. I have learned far more from reading others experiences/websites than I have ever learned from books. Books were always out of date, or superseded by new information by the vendor. They have some use but they are becoming less useful as the velocity of information on the internet increases. For technical details anyway, books are almost useless. I think that if I had to pay for all the websites and authors who have helped to educate me I would be a very poor man. Ideally information should be free. I think that is a helpful principle. I just wonder how others can continue to work if I don’t step up to directly support them more.