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    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2008
     (2028.21)
    @liquidcow
    "I read something that said that in a couple of years the internet might slow to a crawl because the usage is growing so much and the cables (usually phone lines) we use won't be able to handle it. It won't stop, it will just get very slow."

    Already is slow here - -or rather it never was fast. In large areas of rural America (and, I'd guess, any country with large rural areas) high-speed internet is only something we experience when away from home. When I visit the library, I often check my yahoo account, because I can zoom through what would be hours (or simply deleted) of e-mails in minutes. Casual, unidentified youtube (or other video/audio) links are a constant source of irritation.

    I just hope before the rest of the world moves on to the newer, bigger, faster, more ubiquitous version of the web, they do something to extend it's reach, or a lot of people will find the web increasingly harder to access.

    @jona
    I can understand teachers pointing students to the web in an age where school budgets for up-to-date textbooks is at a possibly all-time low. It's either go to the web, or use books from the school library that talk about what a great advancement the new space "shuttles" are expected to be... President Carter has high hopes of a launch sometime during his second term... :)
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      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2008
     (2028.22)
    @mlpeters

    You don't even have to get that rural to run away from high-speed. My parents live just outside the city limits of a town with high-speed (impressive considering it's only got about 1300 people...) and the only way they can get it is to pay the telecom to put a line out there, essentially subsidizing any expansion of the network. So when I go out there it's like very slowly slamming my head in a door when using their internet for something as simple as looking up who played Ash's girlfriend in Evil Dead II.

    And to make things worse, college professors are requiring internet activities and whatnot from my mom (she's going back to finish her degree) and she has to drive into town to school to do her homework, eliminating the convenience of an online assignment. So I agree with 100%, penetration needs to be much better for people that don't live in highly-populated areas. And poor areas. There's starving kids in China that would love to have your 10-minute load times!
  1.  (2028.23)
    @rickiep00h
    college professors are requiring internet activities and whatnot

    That's exactly the reason I had to get a broadband card for the laptop. We live out in the sticks, so far out cable is not an option.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2008
     (2028.24)
    @Spiraltwist

    "That's exactly the reason I had to get a broadband card for the laptop. We live out in the sticks, so far out cable is not an option. "

    How does that work - -satellite connection?

    I've looked into everything I knew of and satellite seems to be the only high-speed option out here -- and that would involve chopping down a helluva lot of trees to get the necessary southern exposure.

    @ rickiep00h
    "You don't even have to get that rural to run away from high-speed."

    Not running away from high-speed -- I'd be thrilled to have high-speed and to leave rural life far, far behind, but I can't move right now (or for the foreseeable future).
  2.  (2028.25)
    @mlpeters
    How does that work - -satellite connection?

    Not sure exactly. If I can get cellphone reception, the broadband card works, though the speed does vary by location. It's slower in the sticks, but still 100 times faster than dial-up. I'm currently enslaved to them.

    We looked at satellite prices - way too high!
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      CommentAuthorWillow Bl00
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2008 edited
     (2028.26)
    I think it's important to remember that the phrase is "at the fingertips of," not "in the head of." We are still accessing information at our discretion (outside of spam), not having it loaded onto us at a rate we can't manage (I feel this will still be the case even if we ever are directly connected). And critical reading has always been essential. As someone who went to Catholic school for 9 years, just because you're surrounded by a world view doesn't mean that you'll necessarily follow it. We have tabloids and television which are far more permeating and accessible than google searches.
    We worry so much about the 'bad' stuff that's accessible that we forget the 'good' stuff is now just as accessible. Intelligence and skepticism have always been powerful, and will continue to be. I'm reminded of Spider doing investigative journalism, and noting that because so much is so easy to access, they forget the you have to dig a bit for the really tastey bits. (or was it that everything was fed to them people forgot to even look?)

    On the note of connection speed - when I visit Glacier National Park, the faint signal I get to my Treo is still enough to quickly load e-mail, whitechapel, etc; while connecting to the internet via PC is painfully slow - to the point of preferring to deal with 2 weeks of e-mails upon my return rather than sitting through load times while so far from the Grid.
  3.  (2028.27)
    I'm with you, Willow. There are a lot of amazing artists and writers out there that I would never have known if not for the freedom of the internet. The lack of editors or media standards seems to let a lot of really innovative works that would not have survived in traditional media thrive. Plus, there are groups like Project Gutenberg that provide works available in book form that might not be on hand, or may be out of print and hard to find.

    I think my teachers have always done a good job of instilling those ideas of critical reading or viewing, and to be honest, a large portion of Internet information seems much more trustworthy to me than, say, Fox News. I can see how too much reliance on the Net is a bad thing, though.

    I think the worst problem is probably the fact that some people are having trouble interacting in normal society because they spend so much time on the web. A lot of people become jerks when they're anonymous, and that definitely shows on a lot of websites. [It seems like we're lucky here that everyone is fairly level-headed and respectful.] But if people can't interact with others, that is a huge issue. So, I think the next step for the Internet needs to be finding a way to make it easier to connect with people, not in the sense of facebook, but in the sense of being able to hear another person's voice and seeing another person's face/avatar/whatever.

    Getting internet to more people should definitely be important to world governments. It would be great if more places had access to the web.

    Also, I'm still hoping for totally immersive web interfaces.
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      CommentAuthorDasai
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2028.28)
    I'm conflicted here. I see the internet as a wondrous place that can provide virtually any distraction I can dream up.

    I also see the internet as a wondrous place that DOES provide virtually any distraction I can dream up. Sure, I'm entertained, but I have to turn off my router to write at all. Damn.
  4.  (2028.29)
    I think the distraction thing is more a matter of self-control than it is a matter of the Internet itself. I'm as prone to distracty as much as the next guy, but I don't think we should be blaming the intrawubs. After (if?) it becomes as mundane as a closed book (in the sense of sacred versus mundane, not saying books are boring at all, in fact I quite love them) it won't seem like such a place full of wonder and confetti.

    Going back to a conversation I had with Gregory Rawlins, things like ADHD can been seen as a mental deficiancy or as an adaptation to our current surroundings. You have to be able to multitask to that degree. Obviously if you try to "go back" to old styles of processing there are going to be glitches.
  5.  (2028.30)
    @mlpeters
    It uses cell to transfer data, same way your phone browses. A 3G card should be comparable to a lower end DSL account; otherwise you'd run off gprs which is 115200kbps. That's certainly not bad, I tether my non-3G phone to my laptop while on the road sometimes and it's usable.. though I wouldn't surf youtube or anything on it.
    • CommentAuthorjona
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2028.31)
    It's interesting to read other peoples' opinions and it helps shape my ideas about the web.

    One thing that does interest me - as touched upon by keeperofmanynames - is the interaction of people. Are we losing, to a degree, the ability to interact with our fellow people because of the web through social networks and IM? Is the standard of communication declining or "dumbing down" because of it?

    I know I have painted a fairly negative outlook here, slightly perversely since I am doing this via the web, but I do sometimes worry about where all this will end up. I think I have faith enough in people that they won't let the web rule their lives; that we all crave human contact to a greater or lesser degree.

    Sorry if this is a bit of a hotch-potch of ideas.
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      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2008
     (2028.32)
    As far as "dumbing down" is concerned, the only thing that irritates me is the pervasiveness of bad grammar because of IM. I see college senior projects without proper capitalization, people can't spell, etc, etc, and it drives me insane because it the internet reinforces bad behavior. Does it make me a Grammar Nazi? Probably. But proper English sure looks less stupid than some sort of amalgam of words and random letters stuck together with no discernible order.

    But making us less social/interactive? Doubtful. If anything, the internet keeps me more connected. Probably distractedly so.