Friday, January 7, 2011


Here's a wall-mounted electrical timer that controls some outdoor lights. When it's working those lights turn on at dusk and off at dawn:

When it's not working (which is right after anyone messes with it) the lights turn on and off at the wrong times.

The definition of "anyone" includes "me"... after hours of messing with it, I realized that I had to RTFM.

Trouble was, no manual. No visible model number either, not even a manufacturer's name. A friend suggested "take the photo to Home Depot and buy another timer... that way you'll get a manual."

But that was then...

...and this is 2011.

It ain't RTFM any more, the new rule is STFW.

So I took the word "timer" plus the only words visible on the timer itself (off clear on) and did a Google search.

I did this even though I was sure that "off" and "on" would be useless noise as far as Google was concerned...
timer off clear on


The first result was exactly what I was looking for!

STFW Rules!

What does this have to do with SQL Anywhere?

Nothing, except that not all answers to SQL Anywhere questions are found in the SQL Anywhere manuals. Sometimes they are found elsewhere.

That's what STFW means: Look elsewhere. Look everywhere.

For example: How do I stop dbmlsync from a command line?

That search didn't work so well a few days ago, but this generalized version did: How do I kill a Windows task from a command line?

That answer ("it's called taskkill, and it's from Microsoft") led to this search: taskkill

Question: When Google becomes self-aware, will anyone notice?

1 comment:

jpo said...

Sorry, but TRWTF is that it took you until 2011 to notice this. Google has been pulling product manuals out of thin air for several years now.

Hopefully it never gets to the self-aware state, or we'll all be in trouble.