Human Element: Where Did CM7.1 Nightlies Go?

by Stephen Fluin 2011.09.10

Technology is a wonderful thing. Between search engines, RSS feeds, internet aggregators like, and a wide variety of knowledge sharing systems like, we have a lot of information being dumped into our brains on both a regular basis, and instantaneously on-demand. There are limitations to this however. The first is a lack of human knowledge and connectivity. When we look at technology or society as a whole, there is too much information being created, cross-referenced, etc for any system to effectively manage and process this. Humans aren't great at it either, but given a specific context, they are much more able to process a question or inquiry and attempt a response.

A specific question has come up for me in the past several days. Where did the CyanogenMod 7.1 Vibrant Nightlies go? Historically there was a single nightly build released every day. Logging into the build system or using ROM Manager would show you the builds available. As of 9/1, these builds stopped becoming available. I wanted to know why, and find out when they would resume. I spent half an hour searching for information on it in Google, in the comments in ROM Manager, as well as in the official CyanogenMod Forums. I was not able to find this information. If I had a human connection to those people that were working on the project, they could have spent 15 seconds giving me a brief description of what happened. Unfortunately, as of yet, we have not found a way to automate this type of information capture, nor have we created an inquiry engine capable of generating a response.

It's hard to describe a dubstep song well enough to identify its title

The Ungoogleable

There has been a distinct shift in the past 10 years from individuals needing to retain large amount of information, towards a focus on individuals having the talent to locate, process, and catalog even larger amounts of information. Most of the time when you want to know something, it's instantly at your fingertips. There are still things that we want to know that we can't search for. If you remember sparse details about a film or book, you can eventually find the media, but it can take several hours. Shazaam is great for searching for music as it is playing, but once the playing has stopped, if you don't have lyrics, it can be nearly impossible to work backwards from a sound to information about a song. I call these types of inquiries "the ungoogleable" because despite Google's massive capabilities, it has not yet found a way to take a smattering of uncollected thoughts and turn them into relevant useful information.

This image comes from Yahoo answers where someone asks (perhaps facetiously) for help identifying a Dubstep song. Dubstep songs are characterized by their creative use of deep base and electronic sounds, rather than lyrics or melodies. Asking for someone to identify a song by a series of "wubs" interpreted by a human is meaningless to a computer. It's hard or completely impossible to describe a dubstep song well enough to identify its title.