If I've learned anything over the years, it's that some things, once they've taken hold, feed off of themselves. They grow stronger with the passing of time, envelop more of the population, more of the calendar, more of everything. Sometimes they even swallow up other monsters of the zeitgeist, creating new uber-phenomena. Cellphones were once non-essential kit, but once they ate a few cameras, interwebs and computer-like processors, the smartphone was born and the world rejoiced. One of the biggest, most unstoppable phenomena in the known universe is holiday creep. This year in my neighborhood wintry decorations were put up by the city even before Halloween! Well, I'm here to report that the holidays are at it again. Its most recent target? The Internet meme.
You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that Hostess has announced the death of the Twinkie this week. The media has been all over the fate of the much beloved cream filled sponge cake with the reputation of an endless shelf life. Let's face it though, nothing responds to a pop culture tragedy like the true voice of the people — the Internet.
Kim Dotcom is an attention-grabbing machine. His new ploy is to fund free broadband Internet access for his native New Zealand. He aims to win the money in a suit against the U.S. government for the takedown of his site, Megaupload, and then use it for the common good like a digital-age Robin Hood.
If you do a basic online search for something, chances are that Wikipedia will pop up in your results. Anyone can edit this encyclopedia, so if you're interested in adding information about robots, for example, you can. This free content is published in dozens of different languages and the count of English-language articles alone is over four million.
We thought we knew all we'd ever need to know about naming a wireless network. Don't use your name or address — basically, just stay away from using personal information at all. Pretty standard, right?
The Copyright Alert System (CAS) aims to identify pirates, notify their ISPs and then use a six-step process to "educate" users about copyright law and legal alternatives to piracy. That doesn't sound so bad on paper; a closer look reveals an intrusive, if polite, new partner in the relationship between consumer and ISP.
It's always a drag when we get a 404 page delivering the bad news that a page we want "wasn't found." A new initiative is seizing on both the meaning of "wasn't found" and the valuable real estate those pages could provide to profile children who have gone missing.
While this might not be the most groundbreaking news you've ever heard, it does shine a light to the state of our online relationships. Mostly the fact that we consider them relationships. Turns out, the more you use Facebook, the more likely you are to ruminate and become depressed when someone unfriends you.
Do you remember what the Internet was like in 2002? Let's looks at some statistics: 10 years ago, 9.1% of the world population used the Internet for an average of 46 minutes each day and there were 3 million websites to browse. Now there are 555 million sites, and a third of the world is browsing them for up to four hours a day.
When you think about how it has come to take over our lives, it's easy to forget that the Internet landscape as we know it today is quite a recent thing. This hilarious 1995 PSA hammers that point home, with some fifth graders from Montana predicting what the Internet will become by the time they're in college.