Posts Tagged ‘internet’

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Thirteen

December 8, 2008

It’s not technically a blogiversary, but holy smokes. I’ve been on the web for thirteen years.

My blog will only be seven (!) years old in January, but I’ve had a web presence long before that. Back in December of 1995 there was no such thing as a blog. I hand-coded a static web page (and yeah, I mean one page) using my Macintosh Performa 630 and a two-part article in Mac User about HTML.

Other than the fact that the background of the page was canary yellow, I have no recollection of what was on it. Probably some quick biographical information about myself, and a few of my likes/dislikes. (Hey, I know unordered lists!)

My site went through several phases in the following years. There was the X-Files fan period. There was the I-know-Photoshop period. Then, seven years ago, I started using blog software.

What’s your web history?

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Filtered or unfiltered?

November 25, 2008

Do you let your search engine of choice filter your search results? I don’t. I use Google and I go out of my way in the Preferences area to turn off the default “moderate safe search.” Why? It’s not that the occasional surprise explicit text or image is the highlight of my day. It’s more because the idea of it rankles me.

In a sense, the internet itself is an enormous document representing everything that we* collectively care about, sans the many filters found in older, professionally-produced media outlets. For this reason and others, it represents an important sea change in publishing and communications history. Never before could we see what the total universe of human interest was. We are sometimes shocked at the prurient or hateful things that thrive there, even as we shout hallelujah that our own skinny-tail pet interests are finally being represented.

Me, I think what I get out of it is mostly meta. It’s not so much that I’m participating in media about some rare and traditionally underrepresented pursuit. It’s more that I feel I’m learning something important culturally with my typing fingers always on the pulse of the global internet culture’s constantly changing beat. It’s intoxicating. And invoking old media rules about what can and cannot be viewed would be an obstruction to this knowledge.

So, click. Moderate safe search off.

(* When I say “we” I don’t mean the entire human population. I mean everyone with access to the internet.)

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Like a swimmer’s convention with no pool

July 22, 2008

So I’m in Memphis at a technology conference. There are many positive things I could write about the ideas being presented, and the intensity of being around so many of my colleagues. But I rarely blog about work, so for now at least I’ll refrain. I will say one thing though: why is internet connectivity–even at technology conferences–such a struggle?

Let’s start with the hotel. Is there WiFi in the rooms? Nope. Not in the lobby or “business lounge” areas, either. Not for any price. There is, however, a network jack in my room which I may use for $12 per day. And what choice do I have? I’m in technology, I have to have it. Adding insult to injury, the network cable provided is approximately 4 inches long.

During the day, I’m across the street in the convention center. WiFi was to be provided for all attendees. Upon registration at the conference we got sheets of paper explaining how to recognize the access points and what names and passwords we would need to log into them. Problem is, the WiFi network was overwhelmed by 7 am on the first day and has only worked sporadically ever since.

Why is this such a continual problem? Can 500 people not show up at a large hotel and conference center and expect internet connectivity? A king’s ransom awaits the clever individuals who develop a service whereby they roll up in a truck and provide working WiFi to any place where large numbers of nerds gather.