The news has once again been full of reports of computer viruses and intrusions that caused countless man-hours of lost productivity and millions of dollars in damage. Security experts recommend updating add-on virus protection software daily - or even hourly.
I was recently asked where I'd found a particularly insightful piece explaining how the UN creates its unique "scientific" findings of eminent global environmental catastrophe. I thought the piece contained important information that hadn't been addressed in the mainstream media, and passed it along to a few friends and relatives.
Broadband Internet connections (DSL, Cable, etc.) are becoming increasingly popular. While the technical details of the Gateway I built to handle Overall Technology's DSL line might be of interest to a few readers, it seems to me that the potential impacts on information flow and availability, resulting from the proliferation of broadband Internet access, would be of wider interest.
I'm no longer who I appear to be - they won't let the real me out on the Internet any more. Confused? Probably not as confused as I've been lately.
It seemed like a good idea at the beginning - during that golden moment in a project when the imagined wonders to be accomplished still retained enough substance to conceal the dark menace of unexpected difficulties lurking in the hazy shadows. I started out thinking I was working on a computer project, but have since discovered that it was a digital education in freedom and responsibility.
I recently had to change Internet Service Providers due to a change in my former provider's server software. After several years as an "equal opportunity" service provider whose system was compatible with all systems that also complied with the open standard, the new Microsoft supplied server software will no longer work with non-Windows or Macintosh email software. My former service provider attempted to force me to chose between using the operating system I find best for my other computer activities, and the operating system I needed to access the Internet.
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
The coverage of the Internet on the mainstream media has take a turn of late. Where the Internet was once the darling of the media, and advocating universal access a favorite egalitarian cause, any mention now is more likely to be complaining about the information available on the net. Small newspapers and independents have taken to launching their articles onto the net, tweaking the noses of larger competitors.
The Internet continues to expand its influence in unexpected ways. Already well known for the powerful information access and distribution services it was originally designed to provide, the increasingly global network is starting to impact the everyday lives of people around the world in ways its originators hardly imagined.
Since the Internet was designed from the ground up to dynamically overcome obstacles and get the requested data through regardless, it is very hard to apply effective restraints (censorship, child proofing, import/export restrictions, etc.) to the core operations. I've come to believe that much of the current demand for "child protection" is in reality a veiled attempt to destroy the freedom of speech properly enjoyed by the adult users of the Internet.
There has been a lot of publicity and analysis about the depersonalizing aspects of our modern, increasingly urban, high tech civilization. The transition from a primarily rural agriculture base to an industrial mass production culture, coupled with rapidly increasing population density, have concentrated people into increasingly higher density urban environments. There have been some studies that indicate that the optimum group size for humans is around 100. It's a paradox of human group dynamics that the more people are in a group, the more alone each individual becomes.