This week in computers
Hello. My name is Ramona, and I am currently a non-degree seeking student. I received my BA from the University a while back in English and art. Now I work at the U. I have two cats and a husband, love most movie genres, like to read good fiction and non-fiction, love cooking shows and magazines. I'm looking forward to starting seeds for my small vegetable garden next month. I bought some on line a few weeks ago and they are burning a hole in my pocket! I'm thinking of applying to the master's program in rhetoric. I don't have a cell phone but may need to buy one in the next several weeks. Any recommendations for a solid pay-as-you-go company and model?
I haven't always been a technophobe. My grade school and junior high school teachers made it clear to us that computers would be part of our future, even if they did not know exactly how. I remember being part of a select group of math students that got to observe a math teacher command a mainframe to make--a giant poster or calendar shaped by giant globs of numbers. I was unimpressed, except for the giant modem. Years later I was using computers in my professional life, and in about 1994 I decided to buy one. I looked in Computer and Computer User publications and decided upon a highly recommended 'best buy' that I ordered over the phone from Indonesia. I read another article on a new elegant operating system created by IBM, called OS/2 and was inspired to buy that and a word processing system called Ami Pro. Those were the first lessons to me in computer contrariness: no matter how elegant the system, don't be an elitist when purchasing software.
I subscribed to AOL and tiptoed around chatrooms for a time, coming upon many gentlemen whose wives did not understand them, no matter what the topic of the day turned out to be. I was alarmed in these pre-pop up blocker days at the number of explicit unsolicited e-mails and pop up ads and, though I admire the ability of the sex industry to adapt to new technologies, decided this environment was not for everyone. I also noticed a lot of chatrooms were dominated by probable teeagers spouting one-word sentence conversations.
The concept of the Web 2.0 ( as much as I understand it) both inspires and frightens me. In some applications there is a potential for lowest common denominator outcomes. In other well done applications, I think true e-democracy exists (except for those who can't afford access to computers or hookups--I'm looking forward to the $100 computer information). Defining Internet democracy can be tricky. This fall I heard Gov. Pawlenty speak before the election, and he posited that the iPod had democratized music. I wondered how that could be so when every part of it was for sale--the iPod, the tunes, even having an up to date enough computer. We weren't talking about economic access, that was for sure. I think it is interesting that the instincts of many intra-peneurs have been altruistic and community-building--i.e. shareware, Craigs List, Ebay.
That the Internet also attracts a more sinister clientele and business--predators, phishers, spammers, drug cartels selling phony designer purses, is of course the flip side of human nature and fascinating in its own way.
How do I use 2.0 applications? I do use Froogle to chase down bargains. I love IMDB, and have written an occasional review of a movie or DVD. I've looked at some blogs, and continue to be disappointed in the level of discourse on most messageboards. I've played on-line Jeopardy, but that is the extent of my interactive gaming.