RSS overload, part 3

Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006

From The Zen of Programming – written years before the web:

The Navigator

A programmer once built a vast database containing all the literature, facts, figures, and data in the world. Then he built an advanced querying system that linked that knowledge together, allowing him to wander through the database at will. Satisfied and pleased, he sat down before his computer to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

After three minutes, the programmer had a headache. After three hours, the programmer felt ill. After three days, the programmer destroyed his database. When asked why, he replied: “That system put the world at my fingertips. I could go anywhere, see anything. Because I was no longer limited by external conditions, I had no excuse for not knowing everything there is to know. I could neither sleep nor eat. All I could do was wander through the database. Now I can rest.”

(I’m not quite going to uninstall my feed reader. But since the last crisis, I learned that the only way for an infovore to survive this day and age is to learn to curb his appetite.)