Ten years ago I was surprised to discover (via a Google search, of course) that the phrase "hot and cold running information" seemed to appear on the web little more than a handful of times. It was the sort of phrase that (to me at least) seemed to logically express our then new relationship toward the accessibility of information. A renewed search in preparation for this present column shows that it's only slightly more common today.
On the one hand this suggests that my web of associations is different, perhaps significantly different, from that of many others who write to the web. They may be using other metaphors that don't at all come to my mind, so that I don't even think about checking their frequency. On the other hand, however, perhaps this suggests that today the concept is too obvious even to merit mention. This second possibility finds support in a short blog post from 2008 that showed up via my renewed search.
On a blog that seems to be dormant since the end of 2010 but had a consistent, if not overly prolific, run since 2006, our blogger turned to the web for an answer to one of our most common questions: who sang that song. After noting how nice it is to have "hot and cold running information" (which is, of course, why I stumbled onto it) and letting us know that he found the answer he remarks:
I know I’m not the only one to believe that this is amazing. Why isn’t everyone amazed? How old do you have to be for it to be amazing? Will those who aren’t amazed finally be impressed when they can hum the song and a Google-created audio-algorithm can identify it? Is it possible that, in this time and place, an attitude of “anything is possible” has supplanted “wonder”.And it's precisely this loss of our sense of wonder toward the web which explains why, even five years ago, writing the Boidem no longer seemed to fill a significant niche.