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When Did The Internet Stop Being "Amazing"?

It's only been 14 years since the Web came out, and it's all completely mundane now!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by Zoomba | Discussion: Internet

In 1992, an English physicist, working in Switzerland made public this nifty little tech project he had been working on to share documents and data more easily within his research organization.  This little gadget he had invented was what we now know as the World Wide Web, that sprawling interconnected series of files that seems to dominate our lives now.  Everywhere you go, you see addresses for web sites plastered on billboards, book covers, newspapers etc.  It is a major economic force now, spawning entirely new service markets and changing the way companies to business on a global scale.

It has also has changed how we communicate, how we learn, how we socialize, how we spend our money and how we spend our free time.  There are very few aspects of our daily lives that have not been in some way altered because of the coming of this great new technology.  And back in the early/mid-90s, this was the coolest thing going.  Email, the Web, Internet Chat, Instant Messaging.  It was all amazing and people were at the same time both terrified and entranced by it.  The frenzy got so bad that it created an economic bubble, that when burst, took years to recover from (some would say we're still recovering from it).  For many of us, we were seeing the world around us change in very dramatic ways, it was a shift in the way things were done, on a similar level to how the assembly line transformed manufacturing, and as a result industry across the globe.

For those who got into it early, most remember their first webpage, their first email address, some of the first sites and systems they ever visited.  For me, it actually dates back to before the web was around.  Yes kids, the Internet did exist  prior to the Web, the term was coined around the time of the merger between the original ARPANET and  NSFNet.  The Internet in anything approximating its current incarnation really came into being in 1984 with the rise of TCP/IP as the communication standard.  History lessons aside, some of us do remember the Internet prior to the Web, and it was all text.  Yes, even with the explosion of the GUI-based computer through the 80s and early 90s, the Internet was just text on a screen, and usually some sort of terminal screen at that!  My first experiences with the Internet were probably around '89/'90 as a wee little munchkin of 7 or 8 going into my dad's office at Penn State on weekends to sit down at his Mac Classic and play with this nifty new toy he got hooked up to at work he was calling the Internet.  At the time, I had no concept of the technical bits behind any of this.  To me, it was like having access to a really really big program just on his computer.  The closest thing I had ever seen to anything like this was the card catalog at my local library.

I used systems such as Usenet and BITNET in bits and pieces originally, but my first memorable experience with this grand new technology was in 1991 with this system called Gopher  out of the University of Minnesota.  For those of you who never used Gopher, it was essentially a system like Lexus Nexus, or the new Google Scholar service where documents such as academic papers, magazine articles and a few books, were manually entered into this giant library system.  It accomplished this through connecting up systems such as WAIS, Archie, Veronica, FTP sites and Usenet.  Using a telnet client and a few basic commands, you could browse, what was at the time, a mind-boggling amount of data.  I was able to read random articles on topics ranging from botany to particle physics.  None of the information was even remotely comprehensible to a little kid like me at the time, but I read it anyway, I drank it all up despite my lack of comprehension.  I was reading these things not because I had a particular interest in them, I was reading them simply because I could and this astounded me.  In retrospect, I now realize that while my dad said he was going in on the weekends to get work done, his main purpose was to bring me in to use this technology that he knew was going to be very very important someday and he wanted to give me a head-start on it.  He spent more time on those weekend trips sitting next to me as we worked together to figure out the strange commands, to figure out errors when we encountered them, and reading all the random little bits of fact we came across.

To me, there's always to some extent been that sense of wonder when I discover some previously unknown corner of the Internet, some new tool, some new resource of knowledge and power.  As an individual, I have instant access to more information than any other individual at any previous point in history.  Before the Internet, you were bound by your own knowledge, the knowledge of those around you, and whatever resources you had available nearby.  Even with the addition of the telephone and radio, with instant voice communication across the vast reaches of the globe, the ability to find and sort data was left to the human brain.  The limits are hard to understand for those of us who have lived so long with this technology.  It all is really amazing if you pause to think about it.  The power it gives us, the knowledge to make better decisions, the way it has improved (and in some ways admittedly worsened) our lives, all of it not possible, not reachable by most people until a mere 14 years ago.  Now, even people with memories of times before the Internet (i.e. anyone over 30) take this all for granted, as if it were as common and natural a thing as sliced bread. 

Are our memories so short that it doesn't even take 20 years for something to become so common place?  And while it's been 14 years technically since the Web hit the scene, the average person still wasn't aware of it until around 1996/1997, so for most people, this newfangled doodad is only a decade old!

So I ask you, when did the Internet stop being amazing?

Google Files Microsoft Complaint With DOJ and EU

Browser Wars- Part II

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 by Larry Kuperman | Discussion: Internet

Google has filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice and the European Union, complaining that IE7, which uses MSN as the default search engine, will give Microsoft an unfair advantage. Since Google is the default search engine for both Firefox and Opera, and pays those organizations for that position, in essence Google is complaining that Microsoft is acting like...well, like Google.

The complaint is reminescent of Netscape and Real's complaint against Microsoft in the 1990's. Both complaints alleged that Microsoft was abusing its position as a monopoly.

From a user perspective, the complaint is without merit. You can change the default browser in IE7 in two clicks. As easily as you can change the default setting in Firefox, which is in fact the Google browser, since Google pays the salaries of the lead developers?

You have to ask what Sergey and Larry (co-founders of Google) hope to gain. Do they want to mire Microsoft in endless litigation again? Do they want to delay the release of Vista, where IE7 is a critical feature?

What will Microsoft do by way of response? Rumor has it that Microsoft is seeking a deal with Yahoo! Smart move. If Microsoft offered Yahoo! as the default (or even threatened to do so) and could financially benefit from Yahoo! searches...well, that would be that.

Sometimes technology companies sue because of real infringements. Sometimes they sue to prevent the release of competing or superior technologies. In the later case, it is the consumer that suffers.

For my IE7 Beta 2 review, click here: Link

IE 7 Beta 2 Review

Good, Very Good!

Saturday, February 4, 2006 by Larry Kuperman | Discussion: Internet

Microsoft has released for public download the second Beta of the next version of their Internet browser. I have downloaded and installed the Beta 2 of IE7 (Internet Explorer 7) and so far I like the experience very much.

Key Features: Tabbed Browsing, a Streamlined (and highly configurable) user interface, greatly improved security, RSS feed support, toolbar search box. For a full feature list see Link (Some IE7 features will not be available until Vista rolls out.

Killer Feature: Quick tabs, thumb nail view of the tabs that you have open.

If you have used Firefox, the experience will be immediately familiar. Set up was easy, configuration was intuitive. The tabs look the way I have my tabs set in Firefox (I use Tab Mix Plus) and useage was familiar. IE 7 install also optionally runs the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool at installation,which was a nice touch, I thought.

I configured the search box immediately, choosing Google over MSN Seach without problem.

Memory usage still seems higher than for Firefox. IE7 with two tabs open: 67 Mb. Firefox with the same two tabs: 47 Mb. If anyone gets different results, I would like to see them.

As mentioned before, security is GREATLY improved. Tools> Manage Add Ons lets you see what is running and gives you the option of Enabling/Disabling an Add On or deleting it all together. There are also built-in links for a number of Add Ons, including security ones, at You can get Pop Up blockers, anti-Spyware programs, etc.

The interface is way cleaner, although you can easily go back the IE6 "classic" look if you want. See Link

IE7 is obviously intended to go head to head with Mozilla's Firefox. In my not-so-humble opinion, it is competitive. It doesn't blow Firefox away, but it is much better than IE6.

Take the full tour at Link

Cable broad-band internet...why can't we have different pkgs

Saturday, September 10, 2005 by terpfan1980 | Discussion: Internet

In answering another question a fellow blogger posted (or at least, in making some suggestions in an answer), I was just cursing my limited choices (again) in hi-speed/broadband internet services.

Where I live, I'm left with basically no choice of providers. The phone lines are old and brittle, the distance to the CO (Central Office) is too far, and DSL is not an option. Satellite based internet -- at least two way satellite internet -- is an option, but it includes an inherent delay because of transmission times, and as such, it's useless if you want to play any online games, use it for VOIP services, or anything else that needs "real time." FIOS hasn't made it to where I live, and lord knows when, or if it will.

Verizon is advertising a wireless "hi-speed" option that would be an option I guess, but it's cost for the service is really no different than what I pay for cable internet through Comcast, and Comcast does deliver 4 - 5 megabit service for that price.

I really long for choice here. I'd like to get the type of prices a friend gets -- $29 - $39 a month for Verizon DSL. He combines with his phone service, gets a discount on the package, and enjoys speeds that really aren't that different than what I see. (Granted, if we ran some speed tests, or if I was a person that downloaded huge piles of files, I might see the difference in speeds, but I don't so I don't, and I'd rather save some money!!)

I saw news not long back that Comcast was going to up the speed again, apparently preferring to enter into a speed battle against Verizon. That would be all fine, well, and good, if I actually needed more speed.

Why is it that Comcast doesn't seem to get the little light bulb over their head(s) and come up with some plan that would offer say 2 megabit service for half the current price, 4 megabit for the current price, and (as hinted at in the article I read) a higher speed "premium" service at a higher price. Sort of like walking into Starbucks and having a choice between Tall (small), Grande (medium) and Venti (large) { don't get me started on Starbucks labelling of sizes, that is a rant for another day.... }

I really wish somebody at Comcast would figure this out and offer the type of options I'm desiring. I really don't need more speed. 2 megabit or faster is plenty fast. Give me some speed throttled service at that price, and we might get somewhere. Help save me money, and I might even spend it on other "options" (like Comcast's own VOIP services).

Come on Comcast, think of the possibilities (without me having to be concerned about whether some other provider ever strings their own cables on the wires, though I guess I can hold out hope that at some point down the road my power company will offer some form of broadband over power lines that might actually be a competitor to Comcast).

10 years at Stardock

From "office staff" to VP of Operations in 10 crazy years.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 by KarmaGirl | Discussion: Internet

Today marks my 10th year of working at Stardock.  It's been 10 crazy years of learning the business and changing the business.

When I started, Stardock was *very* new.  I spent the first days before I was officially employed helping build furniture.  I was the first official employee of how things have changed.  I had no idea how much my life would change, or how much Stardock would change over the following 10 years.

We started out as an OS/2 ISV.  We didn't have a network in the building.  We went months with dial up before we could get an ISDN line installed.  We took all orders over the phone, and when "online order" technology came out, it meant that the online order was faxed to us. The "internet" was new, and it was a big deal to have free Compuserve accounts.

We quickly grew out of our first office, and found a new office where we currently are.  We grew...then we fell.  In 1998, the bottom dropped out of our market when IBM decided to drop OS/2.  We went from a dozen people down to 4 in a matter of months.  At this point, I took the most perfectly planned maternity leave and was away for 8 months.

But, Stardock didn't die.  Through the vision of our CEO Brad Wardell, and the brilliance of Neil Banfield (WindowBlinds only at the time), Stardock picked itself up and dusted itself off and was reborn as a Windows developer.  After seeing WindowBlinds in action, and being asked by Brad a few times: "so, when are you coming back?"  I rejoined the very small Stardock crew.  The day I came back, one of our staff members left (he returned a year or so later) and a new staff member started (who now works at Microsoft).  Things were really changing.

The Stardock that we now know is really only about 6 years old.  The Windows market is nothing like the OS/2 market was, and the staff that we have is a lot different (mainly, larger).  I can remember everyone that ever worked here, even Tamra who only worked here for one day back in 96, because we have such a low turn over rate.  We've lost a few to larger companies (mainly Microsoft) and we lost a few due to downsizing, but we still have managed to maintain our great company culture.

So, today I am remembering the past, and looking forward to the brilliant future that is ahead.  We are growing like crazy, and we are about to move into a new building (buying this time instead of renting).  It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years will hold.

Be careful what you blog for..

Your public blog is..well public..

Friday, May 20, 2005 by Draginol | Discussion: Internet

Last week I had my first really bad experience with the power of JoeUser's automated category syndication.  You see, when you write an article on, the system will look at what category you filed it under and then syndicate it out to other sites on the system.  So if I write a blog on politics, it will show up on  Write a blog on skinning and it shows up on  The system does work both ways where those sites feed into as well.  But those sites have much more restricted choices for what category something can be filed.

Well, back in April I wrote a couple blogs on gaming.  The first one was about Will Wright's Spore and how I think his concept could be revolutionary because it puts the player in the role of the content creator.  If developers can find clever ways to make the player part of the content creation team, costs can be reduced, quality kept high, and players made happy. 

I reposted my blog on a semi-private forum I hang out on called Quarter To Three where many gaming professionals hang out.  On there, one respondent indicated he worked at a major game developer and strongly disagreed with my points.  I debated the issue on there but also wrote a follow-up blog on that quoted his material and mentioned what game developer he worked for.  That blog, categorized as a PC gaming article, got syndicated to several sites such as,, and  And then got featured on by a forum moderator (along with the original).

The guy who worked at the game developer was ticked off (to an extreme) that I would put his comments on a "corporate" website.  I think he thought I was trying to get him into trouble or something, I'm not quite sure as the profanity-laiden emails did not make the exact issue very clear to me what exactly the issue was. 

But what I did learn is something I should have already known -- blogs ain't private. Whether it's via a auto-syndication engine or a search engine, what you write publicly is -- well public.  It's is the blessing and curse of the blogsphere.  A blog someone might toss off in 15 minutes one Saturday afternoon could end up one day being quoted 2 years later on some major site. 

While the incident definitely was unpleasant for me, it was a good wakeup call too to be more aware that what I write might be taken very differently than intended and may get out there a lot further and wider than I had ever thought.

Links ARCHIVE: - Internet Use Reaching Plateau

Saturday, March 19, 2005 by joeKnowledge | Discussion: Internet


Report: Internet Usage Flattening

By David Worthington, BetaNews March 18, 2005, 9:56 PM

Analysis of major Internet markets has revealed that the time netizens spend online at home has come close to hitting a plateau in many major markets. Nielsen//NetRatings, a syndicated rating system for Internet audience measurement, measured markets in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States and found them to be maturing. In contrast, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan experienced double-digit growth.

Nielsen//NetRatings concluded that mature markets are in wait of "the next big thing" whereas emerging markets were rife with opportunity for companies online. Some of the growth engines cited in the report is the proliferation of broadband and societal changes in media consumption.

"As the Internet has officially become an important...

For more, click on the link provided...

Links ARCHIVE: LA Times - Will People Give Up On Computers?

Fed up over problems stemming from viruses and spyware, some computer users are giving up or curbing their use of the Web.

Monday, January 17, 2005 by joeKnowledge | Discussion: Internet


No More Internet for Them


By Joseph Menn, Times Staff Writer - January 14, 2005

Stephen Seemayer had the first Pong video game system on his block. A decade later, the Echo Park artist was the first in his neighborhood to get a personal computer. And in 1996, he was so inspired by the World Wide Web that he created a series of small paintings for viewing over the Internet.

Now the 50-year-old Seemayer is once again on the cutting edge: Sick of spam clogging his in-box and spyware and viruses crashing his system, Seemayer yanked out his high-speed connection.

"I'm not going to pay for something that I can't use," he said.

A small but growing number of frustrated computer owners are coming to the same conclusion. They're giving up or cutting back their use of the Internet, especially at home, where no corporate tech support team will ride to their rescue.

Instead of making life easier — the essential promise of technologies since the steam engine — the home PC of late has made some users feel stupid, endangered or just hassled beyond reason.

Seemayer's machine, for instance, got so jammed with spam that he stopped checking e-mail. When he surfed the Web, pop-up ads from a piece of spyware he couldn't wipe out spewed sexually explicit images and used so much computing power that the PC would just stop.

"I could be sitting here in the living room reading a book," Seemayer said, "and I'd hear my son scream: 'It froze up on me again!' "

So when his son left for college in September, Seemayer finally unplugged.

Now when he uses his computer...

For more, click on the link provided...

The perils of Googling oneself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 by dharmagrl | Discussion: Internet

I was lacking anything else constructive to do (well, that's not entirely true but that's what I'm going to tell y'all) so I Googled my screen name this morning. Link

Yeah...not a really good thing to have done.

My illusion of being the only Dharmagirl on the planet were shattered.  There are a few of us...and some of us seem to be into some pretty kinky stuff.

There's the Dharmagirl who's listed herself in a adult personal ad site.  Looking at this one was scary at first because she's the same age as me -my first thought was that I'd pissed off someone who had enough personal info on me to create an ad like that using my details - but then I read further and saw that she's in NY state and only has 2 kids, whereas I'm in the midwest and have 3.

There's the Dharmagirl who's registered in the BDSM chatroom.  I have to say that while my personality might suggest otherwise at times, I'm certain I'm not into bondage and domination sex.....and I sure as hell aint submissive.

Then there's yet another Dharmagirl listed at yet another bondage site.  What is it with chicks named Dharma liking getting tied up and beaten?  I'm seeing a trend here, and I don't like it. 

Next comes the Dharmagirl who registered with a Des Moines animal welfare that's more like me.  I could see myself doing that.  This one gave me some hope that not all dharmagirls were kinky sex fiends.

There's another Dharmagirl who has a blog that shows up on Google.  I couldn't open the link to go see what she's like.....I'll keep trying though.

My final visit (and the one that made me want to stop looking for more) was to .  Yeah....not really me either.  Cool if you're looking for porn, I guess......but the less said about that, the better.

So, I'm not the only dharmagirl...and most of the other Dharma's are into some questionable sexual practices.

I just hope no-one gets us confused......