On August 1, 2001, cyberbarf.com was launched to Examine the Net Way of Life. It started as a monthly publication of articles, commentary, opinion and satire on the internet, the alleged new paradigm of modern civilization that it may now be considered a cultural paraleipsis. Yes, that last word so you would have to go to the dusty bookshelf for that ancient data storage device called a dictionary because that word is probably not in any computer spellchecker or browser dictionary. Along this time line, there have been Silicon Valley napkin millionaires, tombstone web pages, the rise of economically unfeasible free social network sites, an Internet stock bust, a pesky recession with accelerating inflation, and a world where computer surfing is as utilitarian as driving a car without a license. Deadlines were made to be broken, but not at this digital rag for it has been consistently held true to its mission statement on the First of each month. This publication has grown slowly to more than 3,000 unique visitors each month, which in terms of old media, print publications about the size of a small literary magazine. But in a world wide web of hundreds of thousands of web sites with millions of web pages on an almost infinite plain of ideas, that is not a bad number of loyal viewers. We thank you.
Just about everything written in this site is based upon some personal experience, antidote, exaggeration of factual reality or just plain dumb lucky rants. As any technology has its good points and its bad points. Its level of pleasure and its level of frustration.
You may want to know the inside story of this publication. First, the name. In a moment of shear brilliance, the publisher thought the massive amount of new media press droppings on the greatness of the Internet was so overboard that it was going to make him barf. So the name cyberbarf perfectly illustrated his mood and motivation. He added the green to accent the barf part. Second, why a digital format. The publisher had been mailing out a zine since his college days. As more of his friends demanded more issues, time - ink - work- and postage came into play. Rocky, our Tech Guru, goaded him into reversing his desk top publishing ways into the digital world. And lo and behold, instead of one site for his digital zine, The Real News, the publisher had found himself creating and managing three web sites, including cyberbarf.com. He thought that since he wanted to focus in on the Internet phenomena, it ought to be a dedicated web page. So in over his head (as graphically demonstrated in the publisher's illustration at the top of this page), the publisher has purged his brain on a monthly basis on the digital-technology-cultural stories of the Internet experience.
One thing this site has done has tried to get better as the months passed; change is a good operating statement. This was never intended to be a static portal linking people to other web stories or commentary. We leave that to the full time web surfers with too much time on their hands. And over the years, the pages have grown both in content, style, cartoons and graphics. Experience is a great trainer and reaction is a hardnose coach. Some things worked well, other things were left to fade away.
If you look at your old bookmarks, you may find many sites that have gone dormant in the last seven years. The Internet is littered with the tombstones of now neglected web pages. Such is the life cycle of the web. So this site has survived the clutter and continues to publish a monthly digital zine.
August, 2008 Vol. 8 No. 1
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
HAS THE NET DUMBED DOWN AMERICA? DEBATE
YES. The students in America spend more time on their myspace or Facebook pages than reading textbooks or classic literature. Teachers are increasingly getting three or more cut-and-paste plagiarism reports copied from wiki entries from students than original thoughts. The Internet may have been the most advanced form of technology in the Information Age, but if people cannot process the information and know how to apply it, then it is fails to have true meaning. A generation engulfed in the high technology of the Net have not translated their knowledge into high tech-engineering careers, because those employers continually browbeat Congress to increase H-1-B visas so they can import high tech workers to their U.S. facilities. The Internet has also created the stupid criminal, who believes that the anonymous aspect of the world wide web cannot be traced back to them. It is like the bank robber who walks into the bank without a mask, then waves to the camera. Smart hit-and-run criminals have worked their way into the Internet scams because people using computers think the Net contains only truth so they are preyed upon for their naiveté. Also, the Internet has contributed to the telephone-rumor game at lightning speed: misinformation travels faster and farther than any previous rumor device. For every one fact checker on the Net, there are millions of non-checkers who capriciously publish whatever suits them. - - - Ski, Publisher.
NO. The question is whether opinion writers are correct in their thesis that the Internet is contributing to the Dumbing Down of America? This is a Vapor Dream. The Internet is contributing to the smarting up of America. What is contributing to the dumbing down is idiotic school administrations who don't want childrenŐs self-esteem to crash by telling them the can't spell, write, add, subtract, divide, read, and think for diddly. Students are no longer taught their multiplication tables so they have to whip out a calculator to figure out what 2 +2 is. They punch numbers into a calculator and blindly accept the displayed answer, having no skills to estimate whether the answer is right or wrong. Kids are now writing with the cellphone shorthand needed to instant message. Imagine one of us putting LOL into a professional paper. It's happening at the college level right now. And the teachers aren't correcting those blatant errors for fear of endless whining from the generation of children who believe that the word No is merely a beginning point for negotiations. --- Rocky, Tech Guru.
IT: INFO TROUBLES REOCCURRING THEME
On a clear, sunny summer morning, the office power instantly shuts off. No flickering of a brown-out. No hint of a problem, like a transformer exploding into sparks. On then a nanosecond later, off. An entire square mile is off the grid. (There was nothing in the next day's local paper explaining the outage.)
It is tough to run an office with power. With the outage, the business phone system is off. The Internet is also gone. The printers, copier and fax machine are down. The only thing with any life is the battery in the cell phone. A cell call to the power company indicates that a widespread outage has been reported and that service should return within three hours.
Three hours in the current business world is like a week. People calling want to talk to someone right away. People who email want an instant response. So when they cannot get through, or don't know you can't read their messages, things can pile up quickly. You are left to the pen and paper, and shuffling physical files. But more and more documents are electronic; either Word or pdf attachments.
But the problems don't end when the power returns. All of the electronic devices are out of whack. The devices default back to their factory settings; for some machines that is more than a decade ago. Who remembers the passwords or the ID settings? Why are three of the six phone lines still dead? Why no Internet connection for 7 of 9 work stations? Why is the mail server address no longer connecting to the OPO accounts? So when the power came back on, it was like there was still a power failure.
And customer support was worthless. The constant refrain was that it has to be your equipment not our equipment. No, the router has connected to 2 stations so the internal wiring is okay. The green lights are all on. Check the lines. What are the numbers? You have the numbers. What is your account number? I already gave that to you. You need a service call, but we will charge you. Will tech support be more helpful than talking to a telephone pole?
The telephone company tech was at a loss of how the internal phone system operated through the patch board. A focus on their own router, which he said was outdated, had the green lights. He attempted to use a system administration program through his laptop browser to reset the router. But nothing he did changed the fact that the router was only feeding 2 stations. Head scratching as he believes the problem is not with the company equipment. It has to be your network. The settings must be off (no), the administrator of the network must reconfigure the router (no), or your computers got fried so they can't receive signals (no). In a desperate move, he swaps out a new router - - - and suddenly, it works. The Mac network auto configures the new router and it is Internet service for all. A puzzled tech leaves the premises with a bewildered expression.
But the internal network had to reset since we had assigned specific IP addresses in order to use a Mac mini housing a Windows XP parallel drive. And working through the spastic Windows operating system resets took the patience of a monk.
The new business center copy station (it's a printer, no, it's a fax, no, it's a scanner, no, it's everything). Apparently, the power surge screwed up its internal settings as well, as the scan function was crimped and the copier was making forlorn moose noises when attempting to feed paper through its rollers.
After another tech call, the machine was repaired . . . twice, with new parts in each service call.
So it took several days for the office to recover from an unexplained power outage. In the wired world, IT continues to stand for Immediate Trouble.
REAL NEWS KOMIX
THE WHETHER REPORT STATUS
Question: Whether the new Internet search engine, CUIL, take significant share from Google?
* Educated Guess
* Vapor Dream
Question: Whether IMAX theaters will keep the box office from migrating to home downloads?
* Educated Guess
* Vapor Dream
Question: Whether Yahoo! remain a separate entity or brand in ten years?
* Educated Guess
* Vapor Dream
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE