Sunday, June 05, 2011

Crashing on the information super highway

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There is enough. Then there is enough is enough. And far too many of us are deep into the second.

 While one is all for romping all over the info highway and shrinking the world into a global village there has to be limit to the screaming invasion of privacy that is occurring these days.

Why should anyone have the right to send you some ghastly photograph that takes twenty minutes to download and is a testimony to irrelevance. Unsolicited Emails have become a menace. SMS messages that wake you up at night to announce a sale or discount drive you round the bend. They intrude on your peace of mind and they do not even have the grace to be singular, you are one of seventy-five names. Then there is stuff like send copies of this message to twenty-five people you know and tomorrow you’ll get a happy surprise. Sure, thanks, but what about the twenty five people who’ll be badmouthing you for putting them on the spot because you’ve also told them if they break the chain watch out, there goes the sun and you think this is fun. Chain letters should be banned. 
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As should be off colour jokes to recipients who do not want them. In any civilised country sending objectionable material through the postal service is an offence. The same should hold good for the Net. How often we have spent chunks of time in unremitting agony staring at the blue streak crawling on its tracks while some attachment was being downloaded. There may be five new messages but since IT progress hasn’t yet figured how to jump the mail queue all you can possibly do is that Milton thing of stand and wait. 
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If you are feeling exclusive over this investment of forty-five minutes of your time, it is a sobering thought that has also been sent to dozens of others in the loop. So much for being sought after.
Another invasion gathering momentum these days is this congratulatory stuff that comes on the wires telling you how you have been selected for the quarter finals of the ten million dollar bumper prize and the ten day world cruise and the six free flights to the Caribbean and in the beginning it is all very flattering that out there they know your name but it soon wanes especially when your raving genius figures out that to enter the quarters you should send them a sum of twenty dollars so you can win back the ten million. If someone wants to make a bundle of money I suggest he create a programme with sensors that check out the trash travelling down the highway and eliminates it before it can nestle into your machine. Not just the obvious SPAM but the ‘I know his mind, he doesn’t want this’ kind of sensor. 

Then there are those bank letters telling you that you must open this mail now or forever repent, half sisters of African despots with 100 million dollars eager to share it with you and faux banks telling you your account is closed for overuse…say what!!
Besides all this assault on your senses you then go into things like social networking where you share inanity dressed up as friendship. You go to the bathroom you want the world to know, what has happened we need to share every little thing? You have a function, before it is over, you are dispatching pictures round the world and people are responding. Is it not an arrogance that we believe everyone else is interested in the nitty gritty of our daily lives? Like Eleanor Rigby there seem to be so many lonely people out there, all of them desperately existing vicariously through the lives of others, peeping Toms of the 21st century, eyes glued to the new keyhole.

It is had enough that we have to bear reams of pathetic little jokes and undergrad humour thrown at us from all sides without there being viruses attached to the attachments which then attach themselves to your hard disk. Now, you have to call in the new breed of computer engineers. These guys have replaced car mechanics and now you are totally captive to their jargon. And their contempt for you little laptop stumbling along the info highway.