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How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 05 13:12
by resigned
The computer has certainly made a significant impact on our civilization in the past 15 years. It has become a way of life for most households. It has changed how we shop, educate our children, attend college, instant contact with family and friends, etc. Access to the Internet has touched virtually every aspect of our lives.

We can instantly communicate with others throughout the world, without having to write a letter, find a stamp and then go to the Post Office.

We no longer lean over the back fence to talk to our neighbor, but can go on line to discuss various issues with people we don’t even know. Now we can express our views and beliefs with a certain amount of anonymity in various ways.

We can find out all about medical treatment and even come up with a diagnosis for what symptoms we may have, albe it may not always accurate.

It may come about that the Post Office may be going to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and eliminate 20 percent carriers out of work. This is just some information I received although I haven’t checked it out.

I cleaned out my attic the other day and found a box full of handwritten letters. They were amazing to re-read after many years and brought to my attention the change in the way we communicate.

We now have to watch for child predators on the Internet so families don’t even have a “feel safe” in their own homes. My daughter keeps track of her 14-year-old son’s computer use – at least she thinks she knows but I found out by accident that he is going to sites where he shouldn’t be going.

Just thought others might have some views on the changes computers and access to the Internet has brought about in our lives. I am sure there are many positives but just as sure there are negatives.

Re: How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 05 16:37
by 10thFO
I took a class on Mass Media and the way it effects our lives back in college in the late 80's. It was very intropsective, and I would imagine that such a class at this time, would center more around the use of the internet as a tool of communication. Many people will shoot of emails very quickly, without thinking of the consequences. in the business world, the carbon copy email has become the standard CYA that most people use, instead of picking up the phone and actually talking to someone. Why waste your breath when you can take 4 times as long to type out an email, and carbon copy everyone and their brother so as to prove that you have an electronic trail covering yourself.....

The computer is good for a lot of things, but as far as actual communications, it has been a detriment.

Re: How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 06 12:08
by Uji
10thFO wrote:The computer is good for a lot of things, but as far as actual communications, it has been a detriment.

I'm with you there, 10th. Not just emails; you see this sort of thing on forums like this one. (And I'm as guilty as anyone else :surrend: .) Much easier to react, hit send, and go on to something else. Easier, but not nearly as useful as taking some time to compose your thoughts and your words.

It's funny, 10th, that emails are BOTH the prime means of CYA and one of the most common way someone's A gets hung out there!

I've even been trying to write my kids (snail-mail style) regularly rather than only emails. I'm not sure that it makes any difference to them, but I some how feel more connected that way even though it's slow and cumbersome.

Re: How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 07 06:20
by resigned
Hey thats great you are writing letters to your kids. Letter writing has become a long lost art. That used to be the way of life in communicating with others. In one of my literature classes in college so long ago, I remember studying about letter writing and how it gave historians one of many means of studying culture etc. I should do that because emails once sent are eaten up by the big email in the sky. In other words is easy to delete an email after you have read it. Now I do print and save all the emails sent by my children because they mean lots to me.

Re: How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 07 10:59
by Uji
Obama, for example, has refused to give up his Blackberry now that he's Prez. (There was apparently some concern about the security of the emails sent that way.)

As for me, I'm not as concerned about the security of O's emails as much as I am by the fact that he'd rather communicate with his people (presumably all under the same roof) by email rather than voice. As 10th suggested, e-message are too causal, too flippant, to easy -- I'd rather imagine my prez looking his advisors in the eye when he asks their opinion.

On the other hand, I imagine a Blackberry is perfect for issuing orders.

How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 07 13:44
by 10thFO
Uji, this is a little off topic, but not much, I saw a wonderful piece on television yesterday, of how Peyton Manning had written a bunch of letters to other players in the NFL that he admired. He basically told them why he admired them, such as their competitive nature and refusal to quit, and for doing things they "right' way or the way he perceived to be right. They interviewed all of the guys and they were just stunned, that Peyton Manning, a NFL MVP and probably to be one of the all time great QB's if not already, had taken the time to 'write' them a hand written letter, instead of just texting or calling them. Very heartwarming.

I think if you look at a lot of novels that are written today, the style of writing has changed greatly as well, whereas if you go back and read some of the early writings of the past century, you will find novels that are abreast with the greatest alliteration. Words and phrases, that make you think, and feel all of your mind and senses to make you really see what is going on. I was amazed just reading John Grisham's new novel at how devoid it was of many words. Don't get me wrong, it was almost 300 pages, but it was a quick and easy read, 2 nights basically and part of a third. That book 50 years ago would have been 700 pages long.

It seems to me that with the proliferation of the mass media, that it has really gave people the ability to just apply the suspension of disbelief not only to their TV shows, like CSI, or 24, but also to their magazines, internet pages, newspapers, and down to novels now. I think this is an interesting phenomenon, but I just wonder how much of our language had fell in the last 20-30 years because of this phenomenon. I have read more than a fair share of books, and probably twice the amount of my father in law, but I don't think I will ever be able to comprehend and master the English language like he did. When he died I got his trusty Thesaurus, Dictionary, and Robert's Rules. It was shocking how worn those pages were. Sadly we just dont take the time, or think we have it anymore.

Re: How computers/internet has changed our lives

Posted: 2009 Feb 07 15:47
by Uji
I'm with you 10th... I'm an old fart who loves technology, who believes the young folks are gonna do much better than we did, and who does not believe there was some good-ole-days that I would want to return to.

However, what has happened in the last 50 years -- my reading life time -- to the level of literacy (linguistic, musical, scientific, historical, etc.) is pretty depressing. And I don't think it's education that has done it, but the media. But not the media alone, but the media in concert with commerce. There is no motivation in this society for anything other than as a commodity on "the market." Nothing wrong with the market--or the media--in itself, but there used to be spaces where books could be written, music composed, plays enacted, and films made that were not controlled purely by the market place. Even religion is market driven -- if you can't fill the pews, your closed down.

But ... I think that's because we are so new to electronic media. We haven't learned how to use wisely and constructively. But I think we will. I'm optimistic. (Which is probably why I prefer the "throw everything at the wall" solution to the stimulus.)

I think here, the media might help in the long run. Look at the music world: The old record companies are slowly sinking, becoming obsolete. Why? Because of the internet. Why buy an album for $20 when you can download it for free? Well, to support the artist. But you can support the artist without supporting the record company. You do that by attending their live concerts, by purchasing directly from them on line, etc. Pretty soon, a middle-man won't be able to make billions packaging some musician; rather, the musician will simply sell directly to his/her fans. And everyone will be able to support their own, very particular sort of music, etc. Look at films, for example: Netflix and outfits like that have made all sort of wonderful films available to crackers like me, films that could never make enough money for general distribution, films that you used to only be able to see at some art-house theater in a big city or maybe at a university. Now I can have them delivered to mail box. I'm helping to support these interesting film-makers in a way that I could have several years ago. In the long run, this sort of thing will have a profound and I think positive influence on the arts.

I think when there is no motivation to make art other than the need to make it, we'll be in a better place than we have been culturally for a very long time. We ain't there yet. I think we're in the cultural equivalent of the dark ages. But, I see the Renaissance on the horizon. I said in my kids and their friends. They're no more moral/ethical than any other generation, but they do have a much more productive and creative attitude towards media.

Ah well, may O knows what he's doing with his Blackberry.... Er, What was the question again?

Can this finally give Rockbridge broaband services?

Posted: 2009 Jul 03 13:52
by Amy Probenski
July 1, 2009 News-Gazette wrote:Speeding Up The E-Highway
W & L’s Plans For A Data Center May Boost Local Broadband Effort

An offer from Washington and Lee University may jump start the effort to bring wide-ranging broadband service to the Rockbridge area.

The announcement made at last week’s intergovernmental dinner was that W&L would like to partner with the local governments’ efforts to initiate broadband service. W&L’s contribution will be the construction of a new, $2 million central data center.

“We were committed to a new data center already,” Steve McAllister, W&L vice president for finance, told the assembled governing officials from Buena Vista, Rockbridge County and Lexington. “We see tremendous benefits in the partnerships and a positive impact from improved broadband for the W&L community. We want to see broadband in the rest of the county.”

McAllister said W&L has already allocated the needed funding to the project. Plans are to construct the new data center near the pavilion west of the law school.

A data center is a “point of presence,” according to Dan Grim, who represents the county on the area’s broadband planning group. Fiber optic lines from incoming long-haul carriers would interconnect with the equipment of the private service providers that would then provide the service to Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge.

The hope is to use the offer from W&L to leverage $8 million in federal stimulus funding to start to develop a comprehensive broadband network throughout the county. The stimulus bill provides $4.7 billion nationwide for grants, loans and loan guarantees for rural broadband projects, primarily for areas that lack broadband or are “underserved,” though that term is not specifically defined. The W&L proposal could be used as the 20 percent matching funding that is required to qualify for the stimulus funding.

Improving broadband service in the two cities and the county has been on local officials’ radar since 2007. Broadband, or high-speed Internet access, allows users to access the Internet and Internet-related services at significantly higher speeds than those available through “dial-up” Internet access services. Transmission is digital, meaning that text, images and sound are all transmitted as “bits” of data. Broadband can be provided over different platforms including DSL, a cable modem, fiber optic cable, wireless Internet, satellite and broadband over power lines.

State planning grants helped the Rockbridge Partnership fund feasibility studies for improving telecommunications services. Phase I of the study conducted by Design Nine, a Blacksburg consulting firm, included a survey of local businesses and residents. Recommendations included having fiber optic connectivity between Lexington and Buena Vista, putting in optic fiber in the business and commercial areas and downtowns and improving wireless access in rural areas.

When state funding sources dried up after the economic crisis hit in 2008, the localities proceeded at their own expense with further study of the scope of a possible pilot project, including possible costs, revenues and management needs.

Originally, the best government officials had hoped for was a pilot project extending broadband service between Lexington and Buena Vista. However, if the federal funding is received, officials hope to build out from this project to serve schools, rescue squads and fire departments in different areas of the county. Fiber optic cable will be laid west to Goshen, north and south along U.S. 11, from Buena Vista to Glasgow, west along U.S. 60 to Highland Belle School and along Walkers Creek Road to Zack.

As more funds become available, additional line will be laid. The goal is to eventually connect every business and residence within the Rockbridge area.

Andrew Cohill, representing Design Nine, explained that implementing broadband service throughout Rockbridge will be a public/private partnership. He compared the fiber optic cable to the road system — infrastructure that is built by the government for use by private enterprise. The government will also not be in the business of selling Internet services or any of the other services that use the fiber optic cable, but will reap the benefit of the economic development resulting from the availability of broadband.

Internet use will continue to double every two years, Cohill said, and today’s one megabit per second connection will need to be 32 megabits in six years. Voice, video and data are all transmitted across broadband, allowing a variety of activities such as video teleconferencing that aren’t possible with the limited technology available today. Broadband will be increasingly critical in rural areas as more people telecommute from their homes as energy prices begin to climb once again, Cohill said.

“We want to partner with the various service providers to build a future proof business-class fiber network,” Cohill added.

The next step for all three governments will be the approval of the formation of an authority to apply for federal stimulus funding. Applications for stimulus funding for broadband projects are anticipated to total 40,000.

A possible model for the Rockbridge area broadband initiative is The Wired Road serving the Galax area.

‘We see tremendous benefits in the partnerships and a positive impact from improved broadband for the W&L community. We want to see broadband in the rest of the county.’

But cell phones are driving me crazy

Posted: 2009 Jul 23 09:44
by Trend Setter
This is a terrific article by David Pogue summarizing all the things that drive us mad about cell phone providers.

Their business model is "The customer is a sucker. Let's fleece him."

:boxing: How will we ever turn this around?

High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2009 Oct 09 09:54
by Uji
I just got high-speed! :hello2: Not only did Embarq decide to make the investment, but BARC is now doing the same thing. I mean, the gravel road I live on is 10 miles long and has maybe a half-dozen households on it...

I read that Rockbridge had applied for stimulus money to expand high-speed coverage in the county. Anyone know if that's what happened? We's in the sticks up here, and less than a month ago the utilities were saying that there was NO chance of high speed out here...

Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2009 Oct 09 12:23
by Wise One
Congratulations, Uji, on now being able to run with the fastest of the pack. We'll try to stay out of your dust.

I inquired about getting DSL to a relative in the sticks and learned that a reseller has recently opened service in that part of the county. Since I know Embarq's is the actual owner of the line, I thought I might cut out the middleman and go straight to Embarq, saving a few bucks.

Here's where it gets interesting. Embarq's phone rep said, firmly, that no DSL service is available there. But the reseller is successfully selling DSL service on Embarq's lines!

I think what we've got here is failure to communicate, within Embarq itself, the retail side of the house not yet being informed by the technical side about upgrades to their own system.


Anyway, congratulations again to you! :clap:

Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2009 Oct 09 13:19
by Uji
What happened up here in the northern part of the county is that Embarq and Dominion Power some how got together to put in the DSL. Don't know how that worked -- but perhaps Embarq is using Dominion lines instead of their own.

Anyway, I'm flying along a light speed, Scottie! Cool, man... I gotta put a line in for the pigs, now. :thumbup:

Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2009 Oct 09 15:36
by Wise One
You're fixed up well indeed, and when your pigs get that new DSL connection they also will be as happy as, well, pigs in shit.

I'm a chicken man myself. We have a mere 3 hens, but they produce 3 eggs a day just like clockwork, more than my wife and I can keep up with.

Well, sometimes 2 a day but then the next day we usually find an egg that is larger than normal, containing 2 yolks!!


Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2009 Oct 09 16:58
by fangz1956
Wow!!! This calls for a happy dance!


"dance13" "dance13" "dance13" "dance13" "dance13" "dance13"

Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2010 Mar 23 11:05
by Hunt
For anybody wanting to support our trying to get better broadband in the Rockbridge area, go to Facebook and become a fan of the group, "Bring Google Fiber to Rockbridge County."

We will be trying to locate funding for area-wide broadband (fiber optic, not copper) until we get it. The Rockbridge Area Network Authority has been formed for this purpose, and this is one way you can support our efforts.

Re: High-speed in the sticks!

Posted: 2010 Mar 23 14:28
by Coondog
Does this mean I can get hi speed on my tin can without having to buy a bigger string?

Pigs and chickens indeed! I got three lazy,smelly yard dawgs who don't lay eggs at all. Land mines, yes! Eggs, no!

And....does it really matter if I get smut and lies any faster than I do now?

:typ: Coondog

Born & bred in the briar patch, Br'er Fox!

Re: The Internet & Computers

Posted: 2010 May 07 10:07
by Neck-aint-red
Most Republicans and a few Democrats are slobbering at a trough full of protection money they can squeeze out of the big Telcos (Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, etc.). If this unsavory gang succeeds, they are going to close down the Internet as we know it.

They want to convert the internet into an exact analog of cable TV, with monopoly or oligopoly control over your service and its pricing, and the power of death over any and all competitors. Here's what will result if the path they are putting us on reaches its inevitable destination:

  • Do you like Skype for its free telephone calls and cheap world-wide rates? Kiss it goodbye. Most Telco ISPs offer overpriced pay-for-subscription telephone plans, so they will turn off Skype unless they or you pay them to allow it on their pipes.
  • Do you sometimes like to watch video content via the internet on services like Hulu, YouTube, etc.? Kiss them goodbye. The Telcos will extort new fees from either them or you, or they will shut down the pipes to that content.
  • Do you sometimes move large files using large file services and/or torrent technology? Kiss them goodbye.
  • Do you sometimes use the internet anonymously, as most seem to do on this Forum? Shout 'goodbye' forever to anonymity, as the Telcos with government acquiescence demand that you "pliss show us your papersss" as in China, to identify yourself fully before you are allowed to speak on the internet.
  • And more. For each thing I can think of, the geniuses at the Telcos will invent 5 new ways to screw you.
  • Just reflect on your own experience with cable TV providers and cell phone providers to get a clue of what is coming for the internet. Complex bundles of "services", impossible to understand pricing, new barriers against many of the things you want to do.
The only way to save the internet is to push hard on Congress to give the Federal Communications both direction and power to regulate the Telcos sensibly. If Telcos want to sell us access to the pipe, fine, but don't allow them to tell us what we may use the pipes for.

Selling internet access is fine. Selling additional content is fine. But is is wrong, oh so wrong, to allow them to do both in an anti-competitive way.

For every big Telco that wants to shut down the internet, there are thousands of small businesses that depend on its openness for survival. Bush ideologues tricked us by classifying the internet as an "information service" rather than a "communications service", thereby rendering the FCC toothless. Only Congress can give the FCC the teeth that it needs to protect us from the Telcos.

Re: The Internet & Computers

Posted: 2010 May 14 19:33
by Wise One
I think I see what you mean.

Wow. Days after your warning, the first major thrust seems to have appeared.

The same ultra-righty millionaires who tried to kill health insurance reform, sponsored "grass roots" tea parties, are now trying their damnedest to hand over the internet to corporate monopolists.

These guys will dismantle our neutral internet that now allows all traffic to pass on an equal basis. This most wonderful medium will become captive to corporate oligarchs, and we will have crippled our economy in yet another way compared to our international competitors.

Kiss America as you knew it goodbye. These guys are determined to dumb us down to third-world status.

Re: The Internet & Computers

Posted: 2010 May 14 22:21
by Anonymoose
Yep, those same a**wipes that spout off about the importance of the the American "small business model" sustaining a robust economy will go and kill it for their own greed. Very worst case scenario, Big Comm, like Big Banks and Wall Street, will get a bailout to help them do it. The cost of doing business in this country will go up exponentially once all internet access is franchised by big bidness. We're allowing our "freedoms" to be swallowed up by those in a financial position to control them. Time for another Michael Moore movie...What kind of country can espouse free speech, democracy, free market economy, etc., while simultaneously setting out to destroy those same principals? :banghead:

Re: The Internet & Computers

Posted: 2010 May 14 23:50
by Anonymoose
But, but, but, despite previous post, am reminded of the dangers of the "open" internet, without sufficient protection against hackers that might disable the systems vital to our comfort and dependence, such as electricity, our banking system, etc. Skype, IM and many web sites have been platforms ripe for hacking and viruses with potential to interrupt the basic functionality of the web. Some applications are not appropriate for being delivered through the open web. There are situations, vital to commerce and national security, that would be better served on proprietary networks, sort of like CB and police band radio. So, perhaps there IS a need for secure delivery of information that might be better served by companies better positioned to deliver that service. There is room to explore more on this subject before preparing the hand-basket for hell. Can it get any more complicated? I've now confused myself...