Saturday, June 24, 2006

This internet thing...

This internet thing might catch on… The “P” key on my Treo stopped working correctly. It would not click up or down anymore and the slightest touch would cause a “p” to be typed. P is very close to “O”, “L” and backspace on the Treo. So, typing was ‘hard’.

I sat down a while ago and started taking the Treo apart – only to discover, it really didn’t want to (come apart). I unscrewed all of the screws but no go.

Today, I was more determined. So, I googled “taking a Treo 650 apart”. First hit – got lucky. The Treo 650 “Tips, Tricks and Hacks” blog had an article “how to disassemble your Treo 650”. Photos – step by steps. It was great. Got the thing apart.

But, couldn’t see anything obvious to fix the “P” key. So, I put it back together (and it still worked). So I thought about getting a replacement keypad..

Googled “Treo 650 replacement keypad” and the second hit was someone wanting the same thing… because…. Their P key was broken (seems to happen a lot – the P key). Read the thread – and they said:

I took out the internal keypad, and since my P is near the edge, I just took a very small flat head to peel up the adhesive top, stick the flat head in the P spot, and poked the metal spring inside UP. now it's working fine.

Ok, one more try, get out that special tool (that all computer geeks have, the “special” screwdriver), take out the 7 screws on the Treo case, the 2 screws on the keypad, use tweezers to pull up the adhesive top – fix the little silver dot/button, put it all together and success. I have a functioning P key again.

I remember exactly where I was when that stupid key broke. On flight UA-917 from IAD to SEA to speak at the PSOUG (Puget Sound Oracle User Group). That was April 13th, it has been driving me nuts since. And now it is fixed. And the web is the reason.

Can you remember life before google, yahoo, amazon, (asktom for me at the very least, semi-life changing), and the rest? Can you imagine life without them again…


Blogger Herod T said....

Well, lets see.. from reading this entry, I googled for IAD (Dulles) and SEA (Sea-Tac, Seattle/Tacoma) to see where you were flying.

Google is a daily part of life, the G on my blackberry from the main screen is a hot key straight to google mobile.

My children both know how to use google - including the advanced search page.

I use google mail, google calendar, which I built rules in the enterprise mail system so that if I mark an entry as personal, it sends an ICAL to my wife's google account which she syncronizes with her handheld. Google runs my blog, but the exit from blogger is making me think twice on that.

I have a work related issue, I search asktom, google then metalink. Metalink only comes first on ORA-600 errors.

I recommend google mail to non tech friends for a web mail account. With the all the different people at work in the IT department, the only commonality between the PC's is everybody has a google search bar... except for one fellow who has Yahoo, but he sits alone.

I find it hard to remember what we did before we had internet when we tried to solve work problems.

I have used google on my blackberry out camping to replace the recipe for bannock my daughter forgot to pack with the ingredients. I can forsee a large surge in google keyword : bannock in the near future if the Tom Kyte effect holds true.

We have lost internet at work for a period of time before and it is amazing how much you use the internet for and just don't realize it.

Sat Jun 24, 09:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Mark A. Williams said....

Wasn't it somewhere roundabouts 1996 that Larry said "The internet changes everything"? (Which, by the way, Tony Davis cut from one of my early drafts because it sounded too much like marketing speak.)

- Mark

Sat Jun 24, 09:18:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

I vaguely remember that time.
Writing a paper with a friend and we didn't even have email, had to snail mail our rewrites back and forth (and she lived in FL, I lived in NY). Last book I wrote with her, we were constantly on instant messenger with questions, comments and critiques.

But I also see "life without the internet" on a somewhat daily basis, when I see my father's life. Born in 1927, he pretty much ignores the computer except to pay bills (and those only because we nagged at him to do it that way instead of writing checks and mailing them). He still calls me when he needs money transferred from one account to another.

Back in my computer geek days, I couldn't imagine life without using a computer. But lots of people do so all the time. Heck, I even managed (then and now) to live without a PDA :)

Sat Jun 24, 10:08:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dilip said....

I would say Internet is one of the best invention man has made. I could use webcam and actually see what my mom is cooking in India and they could see the snow coming down here in US. 15 years back this was unimaginable.

Now for people like me who have little time to find a wife as per Indian custom of all the stars and planets alignment, we have like this for help. This brings out all possible matches around the world with all possible stars information.

Just ordered Nokia E61. Will see how better it is than Treo 650. Yeah this is just to cope up with internet.

Sat Jun 24, 10:13:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dilip said....

Rachel, why do I get error when I click on your blog link?

Sat Jun 24, 10:14:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Mark my words, this thar internet thingy may catch on. ;-)

Sat Jun 24, 10:24:00 PM EDT  

Blogger shrek said....

i remember my very first email. amazing stuff. thought to myself "wouldn't it be nice if i could send email to a list of people by just typing in one address?" shortly after that i helped write a listserv program.

i think i've been on the net for so long i wouldn't exist without it.;-)

"i email therefore i am." ;-)

Sat Jun 24, 10:52:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Noons said....

I do remember religiously keeping manuals to all my gizmos and doodahs.

And actually figuring out how to take a Nikon F apart, clean it up, replace all rusty parts and put it back together. Took me a year! Just figuring out which leatherette pieces I had to remove to get at the screws under them took me months.

Nowadays, it'd take 5 minutes to find and download a service manual for it, get all the exploded views and instructions to get it serviced. Would take me an afternoon if that, to pull it apart again.

Yes indeed, it's made an enormous difference. Then again I now have to worry about which sites my kids surf to. Something I couldn't even imagine having to do, 10 years ago.

It's got ups and downs. Mostly ups, I must admit.

Sun Jun 25, 12:31:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

Before the WWW thing came along, I had to memorize a bunch more trivial details than I do now. I had to dedicate evenings organizing my bills and balancing my checkbook. I'd find myself holed up in a cubicle catching up on work late into evenings and on weekends while making sure I kept the piles of papers (including dumps and traces faxed in by customers) on my desk organized. I'd have to drive to a library to research the latest stuff.

Today, I can post a comment to someone's blog over a wireless connection while I sit outside on a nice balmy evening watching my nieces and nephews play tennis.

I don't remember much about life before the Internet thing if that includes being able to dial up Compuserve over a 110 baud acoustic modem. Just watched cartoons and read comic books back then. :-)

Sun Jun 25, 12:50:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

OK, then. Permit me to play Devil's Advocate.

Yes, the Internet has brought about enormous changes. To start with, we have managed to produce an entire generation of young people who can't spell correctly, think punctuation is an optional extra, and who can concentrate just about long enough to search just the first page of Google links. Millions of people have acquired the attention span of a demented guppie, and think it entirely appropriate to have done so. Meanwhile, the Internet's low barriers to posting tripe has encouraged such people to believe that their opinions are as valuable as anyone else's, which is the biggest travesty that springs to mind. Everyone's an expert, and silver bullets are sold 10 a penny.

File sharing has made criminals of millions who have learnt not to respect property rights because they're just big record companies and (apparently) therefore don't have any. A flood of porn engulfs us all daily, right into our very inboxes. Terrorists are really grateful for the info. on how to build whatever sort of bomb is the flavour of the month. Parents are neurotic about what stuff their kids are going to view, and companies like Symantec are doing very nicely from defending people against the tidal wave of malware the Internet makes possible.

Oh yes, whatever would we have done without the Internet?! (Learn to read, write, hold an intelligent conversation, understand the value of information, develop critical faculties and a sense of eclecticism, work less hours, spend more time with the family, just for starters?)

Sun Jun 25, 03:08:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said.... -- I think this was the mother of all internet search engines at one point of time.

I used altavista for all of my resources on a topic that I had to present in class each semester. It helped a whole lot... and I used it as frequently as you guys use google now...

Too bad, altavista didn't carry the hype google has now although it matches all others search engines in terms of substance.. I must also mention one of my senior professor was analysing an algorithm for Google Search concepts when we students already used to 'altavista' for all the link to our class presentations....

Sun Jun 25, 03:08:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

When I am out in the woods with the Scouts I have a harder time getting by without Google and Wikipedia than I do without electricity or water. A very odd feeling.


Sun Jun 25, 10:14:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Gleisson Henrique said....

Howard J. Rogers said...

Oh yes, whatever would we have done without the Internet?!

I learned to read in school without the assistance of computers. Now I use the internet to find new material to read. Libraries are now online and offer some books in electronic format only so we have to use computer and intranets to read stuff. I learned to write without the assistance of computers also. The more you read the better you write and since we have the internet I have access to more information that I ever imagined.
I can hold an intelligent conversation about a topic that I know and the ones I don't I can look up, examine and study thanks to the internet. Some people are working less hours since they can work from home because of the web. As a result they spend more time with the family.
I can see your point, but this is true to every single advancement humans make. Santos Dumont (the real father of aviation) killed himself because airplanes were being used to make war. That doesn’t make airplanes bad, it is just people misusing them. I can't tell you how much advertising I receive from companies in my mailbox (yes the regular Post Mail Box) but hey that doesn't make the mail system bad, it is just people misusing it. Every day I come back home from work I have at least three new voice messages from telemarketing companies telling me that they have some special offer for me and I must call them back. That doesn't make the phone system bad. It is just people misusing them.

Every time something great comes along there is always somebody who will misuse it. We have to focus on those people and protect the great invention. I don't want to start an argument, I see your point and it is a valid one. However, being a database guru that you are, you have to agree that the web shows the value of information which is sharing and making it available to others in a intelligent way.
I just think that the internet is great and there are people who misuse it.

Sun Jun 25, 10:22:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Peter K said....

herod t said...
With the all the different people at work in the IT department, the only commonality between the PC's is everybody has a google search bar... except for one fellow who has Yahoo, but he sits alone.

That's a good one and the reason why Yahoo has been free-falling since google came into the picture.

I was going to write something similar to what HJR wrote and to add to his comments; even though we can find a lot of good useful information on the Net, there is still the very real need to validate and verify said information as there are a lot of useless and incorrect information on the Net.

Overall, I think the Internet has "mprove/enrich" our way of living (think Star Trek with the Omipresence computer) and will get better as we find ways to filter out the riff-raff of incorrect and useless information.

Sun Jun 25, 10:50:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

Haoward said, "OK, then. Permit me to play Devil's Advocate."

You sir are still suffering from broadband-envy ...,com_jd-wp/Itemid,169/p,203/


The "P" key is vital ... everyone knows you can't do data warehousing without it.

Sun Jun 25, 12:00:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

I remember one unix system that was controlled by a terminal emulator on an obsolete PC - and the d key went bad, and this being the gummint, there was no keyboard replacement to be had. Since control-d was necessary for the console there, I programmmed another key to be d. Wound up fixing security problems...

I got scared of the internet when my notoriously technophobic wife showed me an identity search hack I hadn't thought of.

I was going to link to an article with a funny example of punctuation, but that major newspaper site has reorganized that particular section and broken all its own links and google can't find it either.

That old saw about software designers, architects and woodpeckers would be far too optimistic for the Web.

What if this internet thing has gone feral?

Sun Jun 25, 01:15:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

And how long it will be before Google starts charging money for searches or internet access becomes more expensive?

Google searches are "hijacked". The Sponsored Links on the left hand side of any search page has links which have no relevance to the search term. However, they will show my search term. This clearly means that they dynamically use my search term to build the result in order to lure me to their web site. Why Google is allowing such a thing to happen beats me. I have complained many times giving examples, but nothing has happened. The valid excuse might be that they do this in order to generate revenue from paid sponsored links. However, deception doesn't work as an excuse for me.

Hardware and software, instead of making life easy, causes more aggravation. There was a time when things worked. Nowadays, if something runs out of the box and barely fulfils the features mentioned in the manual, I heave a big sigh of relief.

The internet has become a jungle of information. If you can find your way through mass of disorganized information, phishing scams, viruses, bogus sites, advertisement links, free stuff, yes it is a good thing.

We live behind multiple firewalls, virus scanners, spam filters, ID protection filters, parental controls, IM security controls and ensconce ourselves in a false sense of security while clicking on those links in our web browser...

I think we are paying the price both financially and socially for internet.

Sun Jun 25, 01:35:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

Again, I don't want to hijack someone else's blog, but just a couple of comments back to Gleisson...

"I learned to read in school without the assistance of computers." That, of course, was my point.

"I can hold an intelligent conversation about a topic that I know and the ones I don't I can look up, examine and study thanks to the internet." That was my point too: Most people quickly look things up on the Internet and then make pronouncements on the subject as though they were experts. Knowledge becomes superficial, and few people learn anything very much, really. If you drink deeply from the sea of knowledge that is the Internet, and can filter the profound from the dross, that makes you unusual, I think.

"I can't tell you how much advertising I receive from companies in my mailbox (yes the regular Post Mail Box)" And how much of that advertising is hard-core porn? And are all the flyers and adverts in any way likely to crash your computer and wipe important information? There's no comparison between the minor inconvenience (and waste of paper) that arises from snail-mail and the filth and danger that arises from e-mail.

"Some people are working less hours since they can work from home because of the web." Actually, some people are able to work from home because of the Internet, not the world wide web, which is a huge distraction. Being able to network remotely is a good thing... but very few do it, largely because companies and their associated infrastructure aren't geared up for it. I asked for permission to do this at Oracle itself three years ago (a company that you might think understands a thing or two about the Internet), and was told that my home would have to be inspected by the Occupational Health and Safety people to check it could act as a certified workplace, otherwise their insurance would be at risk... and since they weren't geared up to do such home inspections, the request was turned down. Anyway, my point is that whilst employers generally have issues to do with OHS and insurance to worry about, remote working is a definite minority sport.

And finally, I don't see this as a 'great thing being misused'. I see it as quite possibly a great con-trick that we think has empowered us, when in fact it has not. The damage that it does to respect for expertise, ordinary human relations, work organisation and social expectations is intrinsic to itself, not a sad by-product of misuse by a few.

Sun Jun 25, 04:25:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom how long have you had your Treo? Was it still under warrenty? I thought I recall you writing about getting it not too long ago.


Sun Jun 25, 04:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

off the main thread

Dilip, I don't HAVE a blog, that may be why you get an error.

back on track

Howard, yes the internet has caused many to become instant "experts". However, it's also helped people like me, who have incompetent teachers, find materials that actually explain the course material and help me to learn, in more depth, the subjects I'm studying. Do I claim to be an expert on those topics? Not in the least. But I can hold an intelligent conversation on them now, instead of just smiling and nodding like a bobble-headed doll because I haven't even heard of the subject

Sun Jun 25, 05:17:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....


What you describe is what we used to use books for (and the question asked was "what did we ever do before the Internet", so there's your answer: read books).

The comment I made to Gleisson applies in spades to you, too: you are unusual. My inbox tells me that most people aren't anywhere near as discriminating or thoughtful about their use of the Internet as a research tool, for which purpose it can obviously be employed carefully, but rarely is by most.

Anyway, as a webhost myself it should be apparent to all that I do see a use for the Internet. I just wanted to prick this bubble of soppy sentimentality about how much of an unalloyed good the Internet is. David probably had it right, though!

Sun Jun 25, 05:49:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I would hardly call it "soppy sentimentality". I call it rejoicing in this tool that I would be lost without.

Not to mention, not where/what I am today in a fashion.

And much of what you malign is not the web:

.. who can't spell correctly, ...
That I blame on SMS/Instant Messaging. Not on the web - the web in fact promotes for the most part "better spelling". Forums might not reflect that - but forums (of all sorts - pre-electronic) have always existed, way before things like google.

think punctuation is an optional extra
same as above...

and who can concentrate just about long enough to search just the first page of Google links
Hah - I wish they could get THAT FAR. That is why the web for me is a powerful tool (i know how to use it) and for them, a place to hang out.

attention span of a demented guppie

but I think that was happening way before the web. You just get to see more of it because of the web - false cause and effect maybe here. TV, airplanes, telephones, cell phones, SMS - they seem to contribute more to that than the web itself.

low barriers to posting tripe has encouraged such people to believe that their opinions are as valuable as anyone else's
This is true, but always has been true. It does level the playing field - you no longer need to control the media to prove your opinion is more important than someone elses (ah, you get to see a tiny bit of my political leaning...).. people voicing opinions is to me not a bad thing.

have learnt not to respect property rights because they're just big record companies
No, they learned yet a new way to not respect those rights. They did not just start learning, they learnt yet another way... You don't know anyone that as a kid borrowed albums from their friends and recorded them onto cassette or 8-track? (if you do not know what an album is or a cassette/8-track, please don't say a word...)

A flood of porn engulfs us all daily, right into our very inboxes
bummer, I only get russian spam. It is very interesting, but never has porn in the ones I get (I've saved some, going to share the pictures in a blog soon - they make me go "huh, what is that". I agree, there is porn out there - but I don't seem to get spammed by it very much (not at all)

Parents are neurotic about what stuff their kids are going to view

That is a good thing perhaps. My daughters computer is in a shared room and my son uses a laptop and prefers to sit in the same room with us (I haven't had to use VNC to "peek"...). Parents should have been more involved 20 years ago too - maybe this is not a horrible side effect.

and companies like Symantec are doing very nicely f

As are companies like Oracle storing the massive amounts of computerized stuff out there - with every cloud there could be silver linings. There are good things, there are bad things.

Oh yes, whatever would we have done without the Internet?!

I fail to see how the "web" reduces that list. I have read more varied books than I likely would have without it, I would never have written books without it, I can hold more intelligent conversations because of it, I understand the value of information (versus data) and so on...

Like anything it can be abused.

Sun Jun 25, 06:37:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

See, if it wasn't for the web, we would never have sage advice for writing like this available to everyone!

Sun Jun 25, 07:10:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

It doesn't matter what *caused* bad spelling or punctuation: the Internet forgives it, and makes it **publicly** acceptable. If you were writing a book, you'd have an editor breathing down your neck to get it right. If you are publishing an article on the Web, you do not. What two people do in an SMS message between themselves is of no concern to me; what gets accepted as standard usage on publicly-accessible documents is.

Your comparison between Symantec and Oracle misses the point: Oracle does not produce software whose only purpose is to defend and protect against malicious abuse. Symantec does (well, it's AV and Internet Security stuff does, at least). An entire web defence industry has grown up to help protect us. That is the point, and it's not a silver lining to need defending...

You see it as a good thing that you are more involved in what your son and daughter are up to on their PCs. I totally agree. But the point was the **neurotic** element of parental concern induced by the scale and degree of what the Internet makes available, not the ordinary level of interest a good parent should exhibit. Net Nanny and the rest didn't happen because parents were "showing interest" in what their children were up to, but because they were and are **scared** by what they *might* get up to or be subjected to. That is not a good thing at all.

"Like anything, it can be abused". My point is that the balance of that statement is the wrong way around. The Internet **is** abused, daily, by millions. It is also occasionally used by intelligent people like you Rachel and Gleisson to good ends. And no doubt by most of your readers (and most of mine, too, I hope). But *principally* what is it used for? Trying to sell me porn, viagra, penis extensions, software cracks, dodgy software and 'cheap DVDs'. In a world where the official figures are that something like two thirds of all email is spam, I don't see how that point is arguable myself.

Hence the comparison with recording LPs onto tape is misleading -the balance is all wrong in that example, too. Yes, it was an abuse of copyright to tape LPs -but not so widespread and not done on such a scale that the very validity of copyright ever came into question. In the seventies, we might have been doing something that was 'a bit iffy', but that doesn't begin to compare to the vociferous claim made by many today that record companies have no right to protect their copyright at all. That kind of contempt for property rights only came about when the Internet made file swapping so easy and so widespread.

Sun Jun 25, 07:33:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

I'm still waiting for someone to invent the time machine. I want to go back and listen to the debates about what was so good and bad about the introduciton of the printing press to Europe.
Life was much simpler before that Gutenberg fellow came along :-).

Sun Jun 25, 08:02:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

Oh, I'm sure the debate would have sounded exactly the same! The difference, I think, is that there's only so much damage you can do with printed matter.

It's a bit like "What's so bad about the atom bomb? It's just a weapon, and we've had those a long time. Rifles kill too". Yeah, but rifles kill dozens, the atom bomb kills hundreds of thousands. The *scale* changes, and it's that change of scale that becomes the substantive issue. (Pick aeroplanes v. trains or television v. cinema for similar "scale comparisons" if the bomb v. rifle one doesn't wash with you).

So yeah, the printing press was as disruptive a technology in its day as the Internet is now. And as the author of Mein Kampf could attest, it could be put to nasty uses, too. But that doesn't excuse the Internet from being a quantitatively different disruption, or from being able to achieve qualitatively nastier results as a consequence.

Sun Jun 25, 08:32:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I fail to see how the "internet" forgives it.

I sure don't. You don't. Others don't. Bad grammar has been around for quite a while. The "internet" does not increase or decrease it.

Remember the sign you saw in North Carolina once? Without the internet, you would not have been able to show the gramatical errors on a cardboard sign!

We needed anti-virus way before the "web" came along as I recall. Email attachments (email <> internet)...

We will have to agree to not agree entirely on some of these points.

The internet might make some things higher bandwidth, but in the end - I find it much more positive than negative.

I would not curtail it, give it back, change it. I love the way it grows and mutates.

Sun Jun 25, 08:33:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

Howard -- yep, I'm unusual. An educated, intelligent user of the internet. Then again, my parents encouraged education, reading and (Mom was an English teacher at one point) proper use of the English language.

And yes, people read books before the internet. But I would NOT have been able to find the dissection pictures or lecture notes I needed as easily, if at all, in printed form. My local library can hold only so many books before explosion. And the card catalog cannot adequately describe what I can easily determine in the first few paragraphs. Nor can it show me what might be available in another library several states away.

As for other uses of the internet.... I've made friends all over the world, people I would have had no contact with outside of blogs and forums. I found almost instant help after my husband died, an online bereavement group. No local "in person" groups around at that time, it took me months to find a place I could physically go to talk.

So yes, there was life before the internet. People coped, wrote "real" letters (I've just been reading the letters my parents sent to one another the summer before they married, when Dad was working in NY and Mom was working at a camp in CA) and managed to communicate and learn. Heck, we managed before telephones and cellphones too!

I'm not sure the internet encourages the use of incorrect language so much as the general population and culture does. I've noticed a change in the spoken word, not just in the dropping of "extraneous" letters while typing. Maybe it's just that we are willing to set lower standards in general, not just via the internet

Sun Jun 25, 10:27:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

But the grammatical errors on a cardboard sign affect no-one other than people that walk past the shop window. Whereas a casual approach to language and to communication generally is plastered all over the web, and encourages a mindset of quantity over quality. That which is common is deemed acceptable. That's all.

It's no good, I think, saying "I don't forgive bad spelling, and you don't..." I feel like the last dyke before the deluge when I stand up for such standards, and I seem to recall you've been ridiculed for it, too. It's the general standards that are the point, not what many individuals might do in a vain attempt to maintain them... and generally, general standards are slipping, and its the very ease with which people can put fingers to keyboard that makes that happen.

Sure antivirus stuff might be an email thing. But worrying about dodgy ActiveX controls, Net Nanny content filters, Kerio Personal firewalls, Adaware, Spybot... these are all NOT email issues.

Leave the specifics behind and at least acknowledge the problem in general terms: interconnectedness has encouraged the spread of malware, of many different flavours, and our mindset is defensive in response.

But yes, of course, as I tried to say before... I host a website. I do so, obviously, because I think it might be able to do some good for some people. And that must mean I see that there is good that can come from the Internet. Playing Devil's Advicate does mean, after all, that the player can see two sides to the story.

So I'm happy to let the matter drop with us agreeing to disagree.

Sun Jun 25, 11:06:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Herod T said....

As I read all of the comments, I agree with Tom and Howard each, almost fully.

It appears, that the main culprit for the dumbing down of the world and the acceptance of bad spelling and grammar, really is not the internet itself. Instead, it is how the internet is used.

Most humans are sheep, plain and simple, it is instinctual and very few have risen above the general flock. Yes, that means you (and me and you and you and you).

As for the misuse of the internet, and the annoyance throughout the world that seem to be reducing the attention span of people to that of a "demented guppie" to quote Howard I blame marketing companies trying to sell something.

Everywhere you look, some one is selling you something, be it snail mail, email, billboards, radio, TV, ads on walls the list goes on and on. But, us buying is what keeps the world going as we know it. Stop buying and see how long you are a contributing member of society... you are reading this on a network line somebody has paid for, on a multiple pieces of equipment somebody has paid for on a site paid for by marketing companies trying to sell you something, and the site is mostly dedicated to teaching people how to use very expensive software better so you will convince others to buy it again. You are sitting on something somebody bought, using electricity that has been bought generated in a plant that somebody bought. Money is the commonality... don't get me wrong, i like money, the more I have, the happier I am because I don't have worry about not having something I might need or want.

The internet in its earliest conception was simply a way for the military to talk amongst themselves after some enemy turned the country side into a radioactive wasteland. Since the internet turned commercial, it has opened the way for the "bad people" of the world to press upon others their ideas and beliefs far more than any other medium has been able to date, the example of "Mein Kampf " is great, imagine if someone with the charisma of Hitler got a poplar website and began the push for the 4th reich and the end to all "insert religious group name here" people.

It would be horrible. BUT on the opposite end of the spectrum, some person some place could simply shut that site down with a few simple keystrokes, the authorities could back track the site and find those responsible and prosecute them. Instead of millions of people dying to fight the cause after the cause had become an entity onto itself.

But, I have hope for people, basically it is most people are too stupid and don't have enough of an attention span to read something like that all the way through, they will get bored, move to the online porn site and forget the other site even existed.

I hope I made sense...

I need a vacation.

Basically, stupidity will bring the world as we know it down and there are only a few people who can stop it, and these are NOT the people on CNN or standing behind the podiums. Who they are, I don't know... I hope my children will be some of them because I have been trying to teach them that everything is a tool, the internet, the library, the shovel hanging in the garage. Everything can and needs to be used properly and in context and that only their smarts, cunning and the ability to think faster and better than those around them will make their lives better.

As for the safety of the internet.
Yes we live behind firewalls, virus scanners etc. But you are sitting behind locked or lockable doors, you don't go certain places at certain times of day and you most certainly would let your children wander around a heavily populated area without guidance and protection from other humans.

Heck, I don't let my kids wander around my property without proper guidance and equipment as bears, cougars, coyotes, wolves and foxes, and the occasionaly mad crow could be just around the next tree.

Mon Jun 26, 12:30:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

I left out a second paragraph on my entry about the printing press, and HJR picked up on it. :-)

I believe each "disruptive" advance in technology brings with it larger scale of potential benefits and risks. The main risk of the Internet is that it has greatly oiled the machine of change and grown the scale of impact. One can only hope that there is some "terminal velocity" that is reached before some change is introduced with ills spread faster than our collective intelligence / society can recognize the need for safeguards and adopt them, and eventually make them transparent rather than implement inconveniencing workarounds.

Can you imagine a 23rd Century where the USS Enterprise can only go on a 5-week mission because that's how fast the Klingons come up with new warp-drive and weapons technology to render our beloved starship obsolete? :-)

I admit that I have to fight off the stress that comes from trying to "keep up with the Joneses" in terms of digesting information as it is generated, while separating signal from noise. I could enjoy some ignorant bliss before all this data became so readily available to me (and more importantly to everyone else, at the same time). Right now that stress has been a small price to pay for the benefits I perceive.

The language issue is interesting as well. There are theories that children actually invented most languages throughout history. What us adults find irritating may actually be the seeds of a new language specifically adapted to the speed and globalization that the Internet is enabling. But maybe that's my eternal optimist persona talking.

I appreciate the folks who can see the both sides of things. I know I usually err on one side or the other. This has been an interesting discussion!

Mon Jun 26, 12:39:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

The new cabal - you can't write good enough unless your mom was an English teacher.

Mon Jun 26, 09:54:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Funny, my mom did teach english...

Mon Jun 26, 09:57:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."
- Robert Wilensky, University of California

Mon Jun 26, 10:30:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

asktom > google
that is, when it comes to you-know-what

Mon Jun 26, 10:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

anonymous said:

The new cabal - you can't write good enough unless your mom was an English teacher.

Apparently not. Since the correct English is "write well enough" :)

now you see why I make such a good proofreader?

Mon Jun 26, 12:08:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Would it have killed you to point in the link to the site with repair instructions? The second hit on a google search is subject to change and I can't find those instructions now. The irony is, if you had linked to it, it would probably be the first hit!

Mon Jun 26, 06:48:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

It wasn't hard to find keypad repair talk...

Mon Jun 26, 07:15:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

advance search com

Here's some useful info on advance search com which you might be looking for. The url is:

Wed Nov 22, 12:31:00 AM EST  


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