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Consumed with IT

By house ·
Hardware devices, that provide a more narrow functionality, are quickly being replaced by home computer solutions. Telephony service is rapidly being transformed into the highly configurable VoIP technology. I bought a DVD player last year, and now I am reading about the new blue-ray technology. People are ripping off satellite television service at an alarming rate. Say goodbye to the media monopolies that have been taxing us over the past century, and say hello to the more controllable, yet still unreliable, alternative options that have been introduced through the advent of the "information super-highway". There is no love lost regarding these media giants, but my main concern, is that there are many people who will not be able to keep up with the coming trends. These poor uninformed folks aside, we all stand to make a killing off of their lament and ignorance. Is it ethical? If so, what does it mean for the future of IT? If not... well who cares... it is happening, and it is happening now.

VoIP has been taking the industry by storm for a few years, but it is now cropping up in "home" solutions for the common user. Aside from the home telephone systems, there has been much talk and action regarding the integration of VoIP into common chat clients. I fear it won't be long until we see more people abandonning their more traditional forms of communication, for that of an internet and IP solution. What standards can be developed regarding privacy, legal rights, and quality of service, when the technology that is in question moves so much faster than any courtroom or political organization could possibly imagine? Right now, I could change my phone number with the click of the mouse. I can add forwarding services, answering services... I can actually disconnect my main feed into my home, and provide VoIP service through all of my phone jacks in my house. Are we going in the right direction here? Is the internet itself ready to handle the forecasted influx of communications media?

What does your home theater consist of? Despite the subpar sales results of the Windows Media Center, it is a known fact that many people are now using PC solutions for their home entertainment. Many of us have actually owned a DVD-Rom before we've invested in a DVD player. Some of us link our video and sound directly to our stereo. I've even seen wireless AVI links from a PC to a home theater. What does this mean to home entertainment? What does it mean for those of us who have an investment in Information Technology as a career? I know for a fact, that not everyone is interested in tackling the myriad of issues that we face in configuring and maintaining our equipment. There are so many codecs available to us in regards to audio and AV, and so many different pieces of software to manage, convert, and mount these formats. I have always been a subscriber to the fact that hardware solutions are generally better than software solutions. We are heading in the direction of the software solution in all forms of media. Quality and control are being replaced by quantity and personalization, and I'm sure that I am not the only one who choses the latter, in full hypocrisy of my 'hardware' statement.

As the years roll by, and as technology grows thicker, the specialization of our class grows weaker. When I don't understand "the way things work", I will invest my time and effort in deciphering the technology, so that I can acheive a higher level of knowledge, and provide support to my clients. I am now entering a new dimension, where I am faced with an overwhelming crossroad. An ultimate understanding of information systems and communication media will soon be unattainable by even the most dedicated of geeks within our industry. Ten years from now, my calendar will be built into my refrigerator. I will retreive my grocery list via palm PC. I will walk into the room, and my thermostat will adjust the temperature according to my own body heat. I will shake my buddy's hand, in order to pass on a personal message, or to simply swap files. I will send my girlfriend a message when she is sitting four feet away from me. Despite the complexities, it sounds like a barren wasteland to me. I will definitely need to invest in an amphetamine chip for my nervous system, or perhaps a brain buffer so that I may retain this knowledge after a good night's sleep.

I've gone a little off topic here, but I was not interested in composing a proper essay anyways. Is this too much? Are you consumed with IT?

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Beginnings of the Internet

by BFilmFan In reply to MY UNDERSTANDING...

While it is a heretical view, I would counter that the Internet was actually started by the science fiction fans, such as Roger Ebert, publisher of Stymie, who had discussions in their small fanzines who are actually the fore-fathers on the Internet and even the discussion boards, of which Techrepublic is an example.

While I am aware that most of the TechRepublic readers were born far after these halcyon days when a reader could actually speak to a 20-yr old Harlan Ellison, it was those fans who eventually became the scientists that did invent the hardware and software that became the Internet.

I would direct everyone's attention to an interesting essay which Roger Ebert produced for Asimov's entitled "Thought Experiments."

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by FluxIt In reply to Beginnings of the Interne ...

Did you know that Techrepublic is actually using the technology that the 'Watchman' sports watches use when programming those devices.

Instead Techrepublic is really programming our minds with sublimal flashes of the screen. Read some of the posting - I think they were made while in a catatonic state during the mind programming sessions.

For example, I am a 'Tron' drifting aimlessly in a plasma ion cloud through out the universe unbounded by space-time.

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by AcesKaraoke In reply to MIND CONTROL...

Is the heat and humidity getting to you?

Or the hurricanes?

Or all the old people?

You may be seem a bit delusional.

Did you watch the "Manchurian Candidate" recently?

If you answered yes to any of these questions (or even if you didn't), please report to the brain-washing academy for debriefing and subsequent re-programming.

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Public education at it's best

by jdclyde In reply to MY UNDERSTANDING...

I even had a teacher claim the Civil war was fought to free the slaves.

Go figure.

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It speaks volumes about

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Public education at it's ...

The standard of education though.

Don't you think?


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1 of my bigest buttonz that.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to It speaks volumes about

The way they've taught kids in the UK over the last twenty years and counting makes me livid.

Competition is bad for them, good attitude for the real world that.

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by FluxIt In reply to Public education at it's ...

The Civil War was not fought to free the slaves. It was fought to preserve the Union because the south wanted to secede. The slavery issue was used to rally the people.

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The political science answer

by JamesRL In reply to YOUR POINT?

The war was fought because the south wanted to protect states rights, and chose to secede to do so. The states right that the south wanted to protect most of all(though not the only one) was the right to decide whether or not they could have slaves. They were worried that with the balance of power in Washington, and new states being made "free" states it was only a matter of time that the majority of the more populated north, and the new free states would make an ademendment to the constitution to ban slavery.

So while you are technically correct, you don't note the causal factors. Its like saying WWI was started because somebody shot Archduke Ferdinand - there are years of causation before that event.

Ironically, on issues other than slavery, the Confederacy became more autocratic and less concerned with states rights when the "survival" of the Confederacy was at stake.


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Civil War?

by Montgomery Gator In reply to Public education at it's ...

I thought the Civil War was fought between the supporters of Parliament (Roundheads, Cromwell et al) and supporters of King Charles I (the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels), in England, and had nothing to do with slavery. You must be thinking of the War of Northern Agression, where the Yankees waged war against the Confederate States of America, when slavery became an issue after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Declaration, about 2 years after the Yankee invasion of the CSA began.

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by sonicwallroc In reply to Civil War?

Not only that, but who had control over most of the food supply? Lincoln said he wouldn't have freed a slave if it weren't for keeping the union together. It was an added benefit from his perspective.

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