Thundercloud and Eightball RANT - Cloudeight Internet LLC

Products advertised above are endorsed and recommended by us.

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #128 - March 31, 2006

Click to Subscribe Now!

Ruminations

Before we get started here, let me point out that I'm no saint. I was a wild child for my time. Youth does enjoy its folly. I've done a few things (well, more than a few) in my life I'm not prepared to post on a billboard on the Santa Monica freeway. Sometimes, thinking back on them makes me want to wince and grab a bottle of good wine; slink down in my easy chair and hide. It gives me a headache. No, not the wine...the thoughts of things I've done.

I have to say this, though: I think the Internet is speeding the decline of the American empire (is that what we are?). I don't mean empire, but you know what I mean. Like the "decline and fall of the Roman Empire". And, before you think I'm turning into an anti-Internet whack-o, I'm not. The decline was in place well before Al Gore (hehe) invented the Internet. Or was it William Shatner? Shall I mention MTV or "Jackass"?

I was watching TV the other day. I think it was the day after Barney Fife died. I mean Don Knotts. He'll always be Barney Fife to me. Anyway, they had "The Andy Griffith Show" marathon going and I watched ten or so episodes and came to the conclusion that something has gone wrong here in America. Whatever happened to sitting on the porch on a summer evening, strumming a guitar, with dear, old ,aunt Bea dozing off in her wicker rocker; and everything right with the world? Can you imagine anyone in Hollywood these days coming up with a show like that now? They'd have him locked up or deported or something.

I don't know if I believe in evolution; it seems to me that there's a lot more intelligent design going on in the universe than there is here on earth. But I do believe in the evolution of man-made things. Like the Internet for instance. I think the first time I "logged on" (and I really hate that term) to the Internet was in 1989. I think it was an experiment with an old Commodore 64 and CompuServe. The Internet was all green and white then. Big white fonts and little green monitor. It didn't hold much interest for anyone but the most avid geeks then. I was not an avid geek so the next time I "logged on" must have been sometime late in 1996. I didn't even know what "Windows" was. I was using a computer I bought cheap from a friend with some bizarre operating system which I cannot remember the name of.

Then around Christmas 1996, they had a sale at Wal-mart and I bought my first "real" computer with 8 MB of RAM, a 540 MB hard drive, a 14" color monitor, and a slothful modem. I was addicted and I hate to admit it - but I was. Even with such a small amount of RAM and browsing at a snail's pace on a computer that crashed every 15 minutes. I was hooked. The rest is history, as they (whoever "they" are) say.

It seems ironic to think of the Internet in nostalgic terms; seems funny to say, "back in those days" when referring to something as young as the Internet, doesn't it? But it's true. Back in those days the word "free" meant free. Today it means "maybe free" but more likely some corporate predator leading unsuspecting and naive people down the primrose path. Spyware, adware, trickery, and chicanery abound. It's amazing how many people are always willing to believe in a free lunch. And, more amazing how many people's computers have been ruined by these purveyors of badware. And, even more tantalizing how many times these same people can keep coming back for more. It hurts my head to consider this.

It occurs to me that it's all about money and power. If you have enough money and enough power you can do and say anything you want without fear of retribution. Spyware, adware, hijackers and such badware abound because people really want to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. There are things we learn in our childhood that we bring with us to adulthood and plenty of companies on the Internet ready to pander to those who want to believe in Santa Claus.

Now this has created an entire industry. Badware vs. Anti-Badware. Billions of dollars are changing hands. The anti-spyware software companies need spyware/adware/badware companies; otherwise they'd be out of business. Just like the medical community might tell us all to live healthy lifestyles but if we all did what they say, many doctors would go out of business. Doctors need us to get sick and badware guys need us to believe in Santa Claus.

I'm getting way off track here, but that's just how I am. I'm noted for rambling and digressing.

The Internet, and I offer my sincere apologies to Charles Dickens once again, gets "curiouser and curiouser". Then again, maybe it's not the Internet; maybe it's the people who use it?

This week's Newsweek magazine has another typical "Newsweeky" (that is to say very 'cool-speak") article about the Web; specifically about the rise of the so-called "user-generated" Web sites. You know, sites like www.myspace.com  and www.youtube.com . This is not to mention the blogmania which is sweeping the web. Everyone's got a blog it seems. But, does anyone care what you ate for dinner or that your girlfriend dumped you last night? Some people really think so. I've got enough problems in my own life without listening to the petty groans and whines of people I don't know (and wouldn't ever care to know). Some people do get a kick out of being vicarious. Didn't they use to call it "voyeurism"?

So now, instead of writing your most secret thoughts and imaginings in your private diary or journal, you post them on the Web for all to see. No more worrying about mom finding that secret diary stashed under the bed with the dust mites. Mom won't know where to look! Now you can expose yourself to the world. You can become a published author in fifteen seconds. You can gain fame, at least in your own mind, in minutes. You'll be like Minute Rice. Indeed, the Web offers Minute Fame. Well, sort of.

I could give you some examples of blogs featured on user-generated sites like Xanga.com and MySpace.com, but honestly most of you would be offended if you read them. And, us being a good, family-oriented company wouldn't feel very good about printing them. But, it wouldn't take you ten minutes of viewing the blogs, pictures, and other entries on these sites to put an expression of angst on your face.

As I've told you, I'm no saint. I've been around. I'm older and wiser but I'm not a prude. But it seems that something is not quite right that places (sites) which specifically pander to children  allow, even encourage, these sorts of violence-ridden and mostly sexually-driven blog-like exchanges to develop: cheekily showcasing it all for corporate profit. They have to know that allowing such puerile tripe encourages more of it. Which encourages more infantile sexual babbling - which encourages more and more people to talk about it (and hence visit the site). All this makes billions of dollars for the owners. It's all about money. Again. It always is, isn't it? And MySpace and Xanga.com are only two of many sites which pander to teens and their raging hormones and their desire to rebel against, what we used to call, in our day, "The Establishment". I never actually thought I would ever be considered a member of that establishment. I really didn't. Guess I am though.

I live in a very conservative small town in northern Ohio. The grocery stores I visit hide the covers of such racy magazines as Cosmopolitan - so as not to offend the more sensitive customers. Yes, I am from the National Geographic era where Ubangi women, carrying water buckets on their heads, and bones in their noses, were the best stuff we had to look at. And we used to giggle about that. We were so naive. I've never been offended by the cover of Cosmopolitan or any other magazine  which one sees commonly displayed in supermarkets. See, I told you I was not a prude.

Everyone seems to love pushing some kind of envelope these days. (I really hate that term: "Pushing the envelope". I can picture a gigantic envelope with stamps on it - on a cart being pushed down the street by several men - grunting.) "Pushing the envelope" is cool-speak for living on the edge. How much farther can we go before we've gone as far as we can go. And were people one hundred years ago saying the same things about aviation, telephones, radios, electric lights, and automobiles. I bet the first time Jack took Sally out on a date at night in pappy's brand new Model-T, some troubling thoughts entered the minds of the parents involved. No doubt, they blamed the Model-T.

I'm sure people blamed airplanes, telephones, electric lights, refrigerators, and other then-modern gadgets for bringing on the decline of America and a host of other social real and imagined social evils.

Fast food places make us fat, tobacco companies kill us, processed foods ruin our health, and on and on and on. Yet someone somewhere uses tobacco products. Someone must eat at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell. Someone must buy fat-laden, salty, calorific processed foods. I don't recall ever walking down the street and having someone shove a Big Mac down my throat; or a cigarette in my mouth; or force me to eat a Hostess HoHo. Still it's not the people who smoke, eat fast food, salty, fatty processed food or live unhealthy lifestyles who are to blame; it's the people who give them the things they want. For a price. At least that seems that's what I'm hearing. Everybody else is to blame. Let's sue McDonald's for making us fat. Let's sue Winston for ruining my lungs. Let's sue Hostess for making HoHos. It's not your fault you're fat. It's not your fault you smoke. It's not your fault you buy Hostess Twinkies. If you get sick from what you eat, or because you smoke, just sue the company that made the products you bought. Maybe you'll get rich.

Today, in the U.S.A. you can buy cigarettes anywhere (but you can't smoke them where you want). You can get all the fast food  probably within five miles of your house and yes, you can even buy Twinkies from almost anywhere that sells candy. They're all legal. Legal is good. We all want to believe in the Tooth Fairy, don't we. Even though we know there is no such thing.

The Internet gives us almost instantaneous access to any information we want. Everything at the speed of light. And according to Einstein, nothing can exceed the speed of light. So, we're pushing the envelope! Tsk Tsk! The Internet is a vast storehouse of knowledge; a great ocean filled with the very best and the very worst of humanity. Like most "things" we can use if for good and we can use it for evil. With it we can track people and things. We can spy. We can ruin lives. We can do great deeds. We break up families, harm children, initiate terrorist attacks. We can inspire great actions and bring about horrible evils. We can steal, rob, purchase, give, take, and get rich - all with the click of a mouse. The Internet gives us the opportunity to write great things and inspire millions, or divulge the secrets of nuclear devices and kill millions. We can share pictures of the most beautiful and glorious scenery our world and universe has to offer, or we can show images of human filth and decadence.

Maybe, it's not the Internet that's to blame for speeding the moral decay of our country. Maybe it's the people. Maybe it has been always been that way. Maybe too many believe that rich is good, poor is bad, and governments exist to protect us from anything and everything and that governments really do exist to serve.  Maybe, deep down inside we're all pushing some kind of envelope (pardon the expression) seeing if there is a free ride out there for us too.

Maybe it's time we stopped blaming the world's problems on things. Maybe it's time we took a good hard look at ourselves.

Tell us what you think - Please

Make a small donation via PayPal, Amazon, or regular mail
Even a couple of dollars helps!

Registry Mechanic - A Cloudeight Endorsed Product
(Advertisement)
Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

With Registry Mechanic you can safely clean, repair and optimize the Windows registry with a few simple mouse clicks! Problems with the Windows registry are a common cause of Windows crashes, slow performance and error messages. By using a registry cleaner regularly and fixing registry errors your system should not only be more stable but it will also help improve your system performance without expensive hardware upgrades. Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

Registry Mechanic uses a high-performance detection algorithm to quickly identify missing and invalid references in your Windows registry. These problems can occur for many reasons including being left-behind after the un-installation or incorrect removal of software, by missing or corrupt hardware drivers, or orphaned startup programs. Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

With a few easy steps Registry Mechanic will scan your entire registry for any invalid entries and provides a list of the registry errors found, you can then choose to selectively clean each item or automatically repair them all. For your convenience and protection Registry Mechanic can also make a backup of any repairs made so that you can easily recover any changes if required. Try it free now! Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

 

 All content is copyright 2006 by Cloudeight Internet LLC (all rights reserved)



Advertisements appearing directly above are provided by Google, Inc. The products advertised are not endorsed by or tested by us. Please use good judgment when reviewing software or services advertised above. We make no warranties about any third-party advertisements appearing above. Thanks!