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Pulling Fence Posts Using the Internet

What do fence posts have to do with tech? Well, this is the first entry in what I’m going to be referring to as my blog. It’s new for 2014 and will cover a slightly wider range of topics than the traditional Q&A that drives the rest of Ask Leo! I’ll have more to say about it in a future update, but don’t worry! It’s still mostly about tech, the internet, and the like. I’m just giving myself a little more latitude on topics. Besides, as you’ll see, technology did help me pull some fence posts. :-)

So what does the internet really have to do with fence posts?

It’s a great example that, among the twerking celebrities and cat memes, we have an incredible wealth of information right at our finger tips.

I had a problem, and the internet helped me solve it.

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Until a few months ago, our back pasture was home to a horse. As part of managing his diet, part of the pasture was fenced off using metal fence posts (I now know are called T-posts) and electric fencing tape. It was now time to remove those posts.

T-posts are convenient, because they’re simply pounded into the ground, so they’re quick to set up. But after being in the ground for a few years to the point where the soil around them was compressed by horse hooves and weather, they can be extremely difficult to remove. The traditional approach is to grab one, wiggle it around in an attempt to loosen the soil, and then pull up.

In my case, this was not to be. They were in good.

T-postsSo, I turned to the internet. I figured that there was probably a tool out there to solve the problem that I was facing. After all, I certainly was not the first in this situation.

Off to Google I went, typing “Fence post pulling tool” or some such thing, before I even knew the correct name: T-post. And sure enough, along the side of the results were pictures of devices specifically designed for pulling T-posts out of hard ground. They weren’t even that expensive.

The search results also had a few YouTube videos that looked interesting.

Those included this one which used nothing more than a clamp and a couple of two-by-fours. (Hint: it’s all about leverage :-) ).

That got me thinking. With a single two-by-four and a chain instead of a clamp, it took me under an hour to remove the dozen or so solidly planted fence posts that I was looking at in the back pasture.

So, what’s the point of all this?

The phrase “off to Google I went.”

It’s easy to think of using technology to resolve technology-related issues. That’s what Ask Leo! is all about.

But the internet has grown to such a degree that you can find something related to almost anything. Chances are that there are people that have experienced exactly the same problem that you’re facing and have shared opinions, ideas, and often not only solutions, but video demonstrations of those solutions. It doesn’t have to be Google or YouTube, but the tools are out there to help you find answers to almost anything.

Yes, skepticism is required. There’s a lot of stuff on the internet, some of it awful and some of it close-but-not-quite information. I ended up viewing three or four videos before deciding that the technique outlined in the one that I mentioned above was the approach for me. But the net result is that I saved myself some money and time by just performing a simple search.

The bottom line is simple: the internet has a wealth of information on it, and it’s well worth it to hone your searching skills (and yes, your skepticism) to take advantage of it all.

Even when all you’re doing is trying to pull up a few stubborn fence posts.

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