Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Does the Internet Byte?

2008. It has officially been half of a century since the Advanced Research Projects Agency devised a simple and complex and fascinating and dangerous and accessible and virtual sort of technology: The World Wide Waste of Time. Er, I mean.. the Internet!

Let me be succinct, it's actually been 50 spankings since the US government initiated the research of newer technologies. I doubt that in 1958 the ARPA's malnourished MIT super-grad whipped together a baby version of Firefox, wrapped it swaddling clothes and gifted it to the military in exchange for his freedom...

I mean, should we sing it a happy birthday or something? It's older than me but I suppose that doesn't mean its none the wiser... To me, the Web is sort of nightmare-ish. Here's why:

-Anyone can find anyone on the Internet.
-People (meaning businesses, agencies, IRS, CIA, FBI, etc, etc...) can monitor what you do on the Internet.
-There's no legitimate excuse anymore for disappearing for a few desperately needed personal days, avoiding your acquaintances, employers, or that character you gave your name/number to last night who won't leave you alone today and who bears a striking resemblance to this. I say with confidence that most Americans have access to a computer with browsing capability or own a cell phone with Internet access. (Yes, I've seen homeless people with cell phones, I've seen tweenagers with Blackberries!)

It's ridiculous! There's just no privacy anymore. The government created it, techies perfected it, and now I think we have a festering monster on our hands. Everyone everywhere can do anything online: from paying your Gap credit card bill to X-core biatching your sister's ex out via Facebook wall post. Ouch!

I think I have a rather ambivalent relationship with the online realm:

I use Google multiple times per day, I do most of my networking online, I can watch all the vids and listen to all of the music I want--Coldplay's Viva La Vida is streaming here, by the by.

I'm online WAY too much. I'm hopelessly addicted to social networking and I begin to chew on my nails if I don't check my email tri-daily.

What is wrong with me?! Am I the only one feeling this way? I want my mantra to be "less is more," but how can I even think to utter those words if I spend half of my time online?

Speaking of the Web (as if I was talking about anything different in this monster blog), pretty soon, Google won't just be Google. I remember watching a movie in my freshman journalism class about big dot coms joining forces with other companies (i.e. Google merging with Amazon) to create a behemoth of an enterprise: GOOGLEZON.

GOOGLEZON (I have to capitalize every letter in order for you to begin to wrap your mind around its vastness), I believe, can be Wiki'd (thank you, Web). Alas, I found it! Not like it was hard to find online or anything... According to Wikipedia,
GOOGLEZON is a fictional company created when Google merged with Amazon.com in the popular flash movie EPIC 2014, released in November 2004. As the story goes, Google, having consolidated all of its services into the Google Grid – a, 'universal platform that provides a functionally limitless amount of storage space and bandwidth to store and share media of all kinds' – and Amazon.com, with its, "social recommendation engine" and, 'huge commercial infrastructure' combine forces to battle with Microsoft and its fictional Newsbotster. This leads to the 'News Wars of 2010', which are, 'notable for the fact that no actual news organizations take part'. GOOGLEZON triumphs and unleashes EPIC (Evolving Personalized Information Construct), a universal, personalized news submission and distribution system that is so popular it effectively puts the fourth estate out of business.

I'm sure many of you know more about the ever present GOOGLEZON than I do. I'm often left in the dark with the latest high-tech discoveries, even if they are big jokes. (I still think that Snake game on the old skool Nokia phones is genius. Pathetic, I know.)

But I digress. Let's trot back to the the Web's big birthday dealio. I cannot lie, it's incredible what the right (and wrong) people can do with technology after five decades of advancement. After all, the Internet gave way to many talented people (paging, Diablo Cody). A few duds managed to find their way out of the Internet, too but I'm not even going to dignify their names in text. And true, I wouldn't be sitting here bloggin' away right now, either. The Internet has done some good for us, but who knows what the future will hold...

So I got to thinking about perils of i-research, e-communication and the like last night when I paid a little visit to a pro-liberty website. It was an exposé site of sorts--the kind of site that le gov doesn't want you know about. As I was clicking from link to link, Brian, my boyfriend, told me I'd better watch out.

"You're on a list now," he said. And he's probably right. Like I said before, the government birthed this bad boy; they've likely got their hands on every binary digit floating around out there!! I wonder if some secret government website monitoring agency has read this already. Patriot Act, anyone?

Monkeys! I feel like I have to monitor my every move now. (Note to self: donate 1/3 of time and money to the United States Government to save face.)

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, sad birthday, Internet, you scare the bejesus out of me.

--Adios babies, Kathleen.

P.S. If you want to read more on the 50th Anniversary of the Internet, you can read the Vanity Fair article, which I found here. It's nine pages. Enjoy! Also, I would like to know what YOU think. So, what do you think? Let me know below.

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