Tag Archives: interweb

BB #60: Bad Signs

Well, it’s been two weeks. Things still seem very unsettled and chaotic. It’s not an obvious disaster, yet, but many of the signs aren’t encouraging. If it does turn out pear-shaped, we might look back at this early indicator:

trump-victory-speech

I’m surprised no one picked up on this…

There are three human beings in the frame of that shot. All three share at least two characteristics. I’ll give you a hint: All are male, and all are white. #justsaying

Not even his FLOTUS-elect was allowed in shot. Interesting priorities.

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BB #57: Bemused Bubbles

BrainFireI’ve said in the past that all the crazy and stupid in the world doesn’t make me bitter so much as bemused (which is not at all the same as amused). Lately, as the stakes seem higher and the ought-is gap ever wider, I have to admit to a fair degree of bitterness. It just doesn’t have to be this bad, and often I can’t really grasp why it is.

I read my news feed and am struck by the juxtaposition of items describing the tragedies of life so many experience daily with… hand-wringing over Taylor Swift’s latest romantic breakup.

Ah, the flotsam and jetsam of modern humanity…

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BB #56: Sour Bubbles

BrainFireLooking back over the trail of sour bubbles, obvious themes emerge: Society, Politics, Media, The Interweb. Important topics that affect and reflect us. Topics I find filled with dire signs and portents, chill winds carrying a hint of smoke that makes my neck hairs stand up straight.

For example, Vin Scully is retiring. If that’s not a sign of the coming apocalypse, I don’t know what one is. Adding insult, my Minnesota Twins are having a bad season of truly biblical proportions.

So a strange sour silly summer…

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BB #53: Fan Bubbles

BrainFireIn its early days, circa 1990, social media provided a ready platform for fan communities of TV shows and movies. I spent a lot of time in a group devoted to Star Trek. We fans believed the creators were aware of our groups, that they even silently monitored them, but it was very rare that they ever engaged us.

Today the power and allure of social media has broken down the wall. Artists of all stripes use these public platforms to reach, and be reached by, fans. The visible connection between artist and fan has never been stronger.

And as always, there’s a Yang to the Yin…

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BB #51: Web Bubbles

BrainFireIt has become self-evident that the interweb is a game-changer in human society. It is generally welcomed — rightfully so — as a big step forward in terms of access to information. More crucially, it’s a giant step forward in sharing information, which is what Tim Berners-Lee originally intended.

But, as with any powerful tool, there’s a Yang to the Yin, and something as extraordinarily powerful as the web is bound to have a strong Yang balancing that Yin.

If we consider the web as we know it as beginning in 2001, we’ve had 15 years to study the effects.

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What We Wrought

His Masters Voice
In the last quarter of the 19th century — USA-centrically, call it 139 years ago — we began to experience having the sound of strangers’ voices in our lives, even in our homes. Not just voices, but music from concert halls and clubs. And other sounds, too: the clip-clop of horse feet, the slam of a door, a gun-shot. Less than 100 years go, those sounds went electric, and we never looked back.

At the beginning of the 20th century, we started another love affair — this one with moving images on rectangular screens, a dance of light and shadow, windows to imaginary worlds. Or windows to recorded memories or news of distant places. When sound went electric, those moving images took voice and spoke and sang. No one alive in our society today remembers a time when moving images weren’t woven into our lives.

Here, now, into the 21st century, in an age of streaming video and music, from cloud to your pocket device (with its high-resolution display and built-in video camera), I can’t help but be impressed by how far we’ve come.

The iPad

A long way, indeed.


Frog in Hot Water

boiled frogDo you know the story about the frog in hot water? A frog in a pot of cold water sits happy and content while the water is slowly brought to a boil. This happens so slowly that the frog doesn’t notice… until it’s too late and frog legs are on the appetizer menu.

As with most such tales it may not bear close scrutiny, but as a metaphor for the human condition it fits a certain behavior rather well. We can sometimes remain blissfully unaware of small — but dangerous — changes around us… until it’s too late.

I’m reminded of that frog as I watch this election cycle.

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The Next Fire

Fareed ZakariaCredit where credit is due, both the major ideas in this post come from Fareed Zakaria on his CNN Sunday program, GPS. If you follow TV news at all, you know Sunday mornings have such long-running standards as Meet the Press (on NBC since 1947!) and Face the Nation (on CBS since 1954). (Or was it Meet the Nation and Face the Press?)

Zakaria is one of the good ones: very intelligent, highly educated, calm and measured. He’s well worth listening to. (I’ve realized one attraction to TV news is the chance to — at least sometimes — hear educated, intelligent talk. It’s a nice respite from most TV entertainment.)

Two things on Zakaria’s last episode really rang a bell with me.

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BB #40 – Down the Tubes

tubesLast week Vinton “Vint” Cerf was the guest on The Colbert Report. The elegant Mr. Cerf is one of the two acknowledged fathers of the internet (the other is Bob Kahn). Among other things, those two invented the TCP/IP protocol that allows all internet communication.

Briefly, the need to connect different computers together goes back to the 1960s. Researchers in the 1970s sought to create a network for government (especially military) and academic computing (the ARPANET). The 1980s saw the birth of the internet — the first “dot-com” name was registered in 1985. And only six years later, in 1991, the “interweb” began!

It got me thinking back to those early text-based days before “the web”…

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BB #37 – Generation Gaps

BrainFireEvery generation “can’t imagine what it was like” with regard to something. Various  generations have recently gone through not knowing what it was like before automobiles, before flight, before black and white TV, before space travel, before CDs, and — increasingly —before social media.

The thing about being plugged into the interweb is that you’re plugged into something very, very big. Not just big, big and fast. Lots of information rushes by very fast all the time. Drinking from the interweb — as those they that say things say — is like trying to sip from a firehose.

So what about a generation that’s never known the quiet?

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