Wow! I kinda missed August entirely, didn’t I? Well, I’ve got plenty of good reasons for that, but let’s just say I have a life, pathetic though it may be, and work sucks the life out of me too. 🙂
I was pondering changes recently. As I sit at the 400 Mhz machine with 128 megs of RAM and listen to a radio station in Dallas (5+ hours away) on my 512kilobits/sec always-on connection to the multinational network of interconnected computing devices (and soda machines and fishcams), I can’t help but think that we’ve come a long damned way in the past 10 years.
When I started using computers, home computers were toys for kids to play with and "real" computers were monsters tended to by elite cadres of geek-priests, never seen by common people. Now, the government’s definition of a supercomputer includes a PlayStation. We’ve moved so fast that we’ve outstripped the Establishment’s ability to keep up. We’ve got the US Patent Office allowing people to place absurd patents on things as nebulous as "an online database of customer comments" or other bizarre things.
Although many other people have let loose an onslaught of rhetoric regarding our possible future, I’ve been bored, and the only purpose of a personal website is to vent my own useless views on things, so here goes…
I’m listening to the KDGE live RealAudio feed while I’m online, or more accurately while I’m sitting at the computer, since I’m online literally 24/7. Why am I not listening to a real radio? Simple: I live in Nowhere, Texas, and there are no decent radio stations. Sorry, West Texans, it’s true. This place has 4 radio stations devoted to "best of 70s 80s and 90s", several Christian, Country, and Tejano stations, and not one Classical or Alternative (read NEW music) station to be found. So, ten years ago when I was here for my early days in the Army, I just dealt with it by listening to CDs I’d brought with me. Now, I can get those stations that I want, just by jumping on the computer. In the short-term, people have more power, as broad-band connections grow in popularity, and folks start to use the unusual aspects of having that fat pipe in their homes. But, I think that in the long-term, local stations may wither to vestigial organs of larger networks of music/talk/etc stations. Look at what has happened with television as an example. Do you really care if you’re watching KLST or KABC, or do you pretty much just look for NBC or some other network? I’m guessing the latter, since the only things that local stations are putting out now are local news programs, where the anchors are just biding time until one of the networks picks them up for the big time.
I have a website (ok, actually several) and so does everyone else it seems. I’ve even got my own domain name. "So what?" you ask. Well, many folks online discuss the promise of one-to-many publishing without the middle-man of a publisher or agent or anyone else. Well, notice how many hits I’ve got on my main page? If I were charging a nickel a hit I’d starve. I don’t think that I’ll be publishing my novel online first, without an editor, publisher, publicist, and all that. Why? Well, although I’m a great believer in the Internet as an information resource, we have TOO MUCH STUFF online now. When I got online, via Fidonet et al, there was a small amount of stuff online. When the Internet became a household word in 1995, I was there. I won a t-shirt and CD in a scavenger hunt online. It used to be possible to know, if not all, most of the content on the Web. But, with every Tom Dick and Gary having a website, we have information overload. So, although publishers are, by all accounts, blood-sucking leeches on the backs of creative artistes, we need them or something like them to filter the crap from the possibly interesting. Maybe, just maybe, in a few years or decades, we’ll have intelligent software that will do the same job, but personalized to each of us. Don’t hold your breath.
That’s all I can coherently rant about today. More soon.