Friday, February 27, 2015

Useful Research Material

Turns out, every single bolt, part and piece on this 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser is an interesting conversation all by itself or in combination with other parts and pieces contextual to the problem at hand. The longer I study and contemplate, the more details I seem to want.

  • What problem do I want to solve? Or What goal do I want to achieve?
  • What are the possible interpretations of my problem, question or goal?
  • What are the possible solutions?
  • Which possible solutions are applicable or useful?
  • What do I want to know thereafter?

In the beginning I didn't know what I don't know. So I jumped into everything and anything I could find. Through time there are some things that have become more interesting to me than others. This could possibly mean I have no interest in some subjects; it could also mean I don't understand them well enough to know why I do or do not care. So I continue grabbing everything that I find in order to learn. And I've noticed some patterns useful to me.

  • There are user group portals where people collectively share their knowledge, experience, kit and journey complete with pictures, experiential anecdotes and biases (of course)
  • There are media portals that seem to transcend the industry/hobby and provide pointers for people to dig deeper on one subject or another through time
  • There are media portals and clubs that seem to be associated to regions/like interests
  • There are vendors and service providers who provide plenty of reviews, comparisons, details, tests, videos and kit/hobby builds

What I've found is there are some "go to places" to which I always seem to gravitate. I'll read anything and most everything I can find on these matters to begin refining what I think is a problem statement. Then, as I research the particular problem statement I tend to spend a lot of time comparing and contrasting vendor/service provider suppositions discern what seems to matter and what seems person-to-person preferential. Then, when I hone in on a solution path, I begin reading about implementations of said solution paths, results, experiences, etc. that did not come from the vendor itself. All in all, all things being equal, I spend weeks, sometimes months, soaking in and soaking on a the pros, cons, variabilities and such of a particular solution before I make a change/purchase. Sometimes it seems faster, but I'm still soaking on some things that I started researching over a year ago. There is no need to solve a problem until it needs to be solved. I proved this to myself when I purchased the wrong winch, had to return it and then do research on what I should actually have purchased (for me, Warn M12000). Solving a problem before I need to solve it increases the probability that I solve the wrong problem. So I tend to wait until the real problem reveals itself, followed by the seemingly most sensible solutions revealing themselves thereafter.

These aren't even close to the sheer number of options out on the interwebz and I'm not sponsored by anyone. I'm only sharing stuff that has been useful to me so far on this build.

These have so far turned out to be my "go to" sites when looking for information about nearly anything. However, the reality is I've been trolling twenty or thirty sites more regularly looking at options, reading articles, hearing personal user stories and even watching overlanding and how-to videos off YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and vendor sites. Learning is out there and I'm enjoying the journey.

At the end of the day when I've exhausted as many options as I can find to learn, compare, ponder and decide, I talk to a buddy or two who have experience stripping and building vehicles from the sandblasted chassis on up to the drag racer, off-roader or WWII military jeep. Research is great. Experience is immeasurable. Besides, websites and books only tell you what to do, what worked and didn't work for them; true friends tell you when you're being stupid.

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