Of the many interesting things that Freakonomics has taught me, one is that the internet has taken away some of the exclusivity of specialists in most areas. At one point of time, if a doctor prescribed you this or that tablet, you have no choice but to take his word for it. (Or consult another doctor ad infinitum). But today, one can google the drug’s name and find out infinitely more about it. Of course, in the case of doctors, I think they still do have exclusivity; it’s just that they can’t give wrong drugs now; and that is a good thing.
But in some other fields, this idea of making things easy for everyone, has caused select groups to lose credit. At one point of time a few years ago, if you said you can use linux, it was a big thing. And today, with the advent of easy things like ubuntu, the exclusivity of that group has diluted to a huge extent.
Not that I am against it. Linux should, after all, reach out to the public. But somebody lost bragging rights at the same time..
Which reminds me of the time last semester, when my roommate said he likes LaTeX only because of its beautiful font. And this was right before psycho endsem; by the time I could recover from that shock, the paper was over. I don’t want to know how much I scored.
So naturally, I had suggested to him to just google for the font and use it in Word directly. To my horror, he took it seriously and actually did install the font. Bottomline: through my sense of stupidity, I had managed another group to lose exclusivity. Now the next time you see a beautiful LaTeX document, you won’t know if the guy actually knows LaTeX, or he is faking it. Knowing LaTeX may not sound like a huge thing to brag about. But it still counts.