Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Is the internet so friendly? I don't think so.

I'm afraid I haven't kept up this blog as I intended to, with a contribution every week. But I have a fairly good excuse. As I've mentioned previously, I'm trying to write a novel. Those who have attempted such a task know how demanding it is, and how time consuming. As far as creative writing is concerned, the computer itself is very friendly, if you've got a reasonably good one. I find the spelling check very helpful, and the grammar check quite helpful, though it overdoes the criticism. Still, it often gets me to re-organize and make changes in a sentence that I'm better satisfied with in the end.

I'm not so sure about the internet. Sometimes I can find things through 'Google' that are a help, but often there's nothing specific enough and I might just as well go to the library and fossick around with books to find what I want. another 'unfriendly' aspect of the internet is that there is just too much! Once one gets into surfing to look up whatever one is interested in, one can get sucked in like a gambler addicted to gaming machines, and hours and hours fly by. One must try to get a life that is not chained to a screen. I spend a lot of time on one list-site for e-mails, and then find my e-mail screens becoming cluttered in a very short time. There are seventy two people on this list, and many interesting discussions and debated arise. They are almost all intelligent and well educated, and it is enjoyable to get an impression of their minds, views and experiences of life. But 72? It's not much. One is not bringing intelligent debate into an arena of fundamentalists or young people who need to develop their critical faculties and question their 'conditioning'. So it doesn't do a lot of good. My comment on trying to get consideration going for this country to adopt a better system of social help and crime detection probably has much more impact when it gets out on the morning program of Radio NZ. So I don't think it is very easy to influence people through the internet. Certainly I would have no idea how to make a blog like this read by more than myself and perhaps another person or two in the family on long-time friend.

The other reason that the internet downloading system is not very friendly has to do with the design of 'Windows'; and that is the difficulty of removing stuff from a computer. People don't want to give their older computers away, or sell them, because it is such a dubious business trying to get everything private off them before doing so. This may be the very idea of the commercial system - to discourage 'second-handing' of computers and to encourage the buying of new ones every time there's an update, which to my mind is far too frequent.

It also seems from my experience that simply buying an expensive game often does not lead to the simple satisfaction of playing it. The entering into complex gaming seems to be designed to 'drag' one into spending as much money as precipitously as possible.

Lastly, the attacks on the internet by virus creators, and the avoidance of spam, make for an unfriendly 'superhighway' environment.