Prophetic NerdsWritten by Jesse S. Somer
I am an Internet creative writer and journalist and yet knowledge of technical side of computers still eludes me. As I work with tech-heads I've always had a feeling that they were a different breed of people, with their strange language of numbers and abbreviated terminology. I've also had egotistical belief that because they are always sitting at their computers, that somehow they were missing out on life, as opposed to people like me who try to spend as much time in fresh air as possible. Well, I had a wake up call today when I asked a few of my colleagues about changing world of communication, television, film, and advertising that has begun to evolve at an alarming rate since advent of Internet.
First of all, after a short discussion I realized these people are just like me, they do all things I do in their spare time. Secondly, I came to understand that a lot of these so-called 'nerds' are actually at forefront of this revolution of technology and ideas that are changing our world for better. Their well-kept secret is this: As they are people designing these technologies that harness power of human imagination, they are actually prophets who can see into future. I'm not saying that they are gurus who have mastered all aspects of life, on contrary, I still believe that most of contemporary society still needs to focus much more time and attention on internal growth and understanding of our emotions and thought processes. However, as tech-head jobs are usually based around ideas about how to make world function better, they are miles ahead when it comes to knowing about which systems are going to implemented in future.
Take communication for example. When telephone was first invented by Alexander Graham Bell a lot of people questioned worth of being able to speak to someone that they couldn't see face-to-face. Of course after benefits were discovered, whole paradigm of communication drastically changed. Everyone now felt that it was 'necessary' to have a telephone. Many, many years later came satellites and with them ability to talk to people on other side of world. Recently we've had huge cables constructed of optical fiber laid along ocean floor, and with them came light-speed telephone and Internet connections. Well, future of communication is now on verge of a new revolution in paradigm as voice-over-Internet communication comes into existence and evolves.
A good example of this technology in its early stages can be found at http://www.skype.com/. Skype is a company whose service of computer-to-computer and even computer-to-phone communication has already had around 115 million downloads off Internet. The reason that it is so popular now is that compared to a normal landline phone call, it is super cheap! A few of my friends and colleagues use it regularly so I'll tell you how it works. In case of computer-to-computer voice communication, each person needs either a headset with built-in microphone and headphones, or a combination of microphone and computer speakers/headphones. At this stage you both also need a Broadband Internet connection, but let me tell you, until big telephone and Internet corporations put a block on current system (some US companies already have), you can now talk to people on other side of world for relatively free! The only cost seen is where amount of time you speak is subtracted from your allowable download limit. Talking to someone for an hour on other side of globe hardly takes any download usage and as Internet is medium, 'phone call' is actually better quality than a landline but with equal speed so there's no time delay of speaker to listener like in days of satellites.
Knowledge From the People, For the PeopleWritten by Jesse S. Somer
Iíve heard about it a lot but until today I had never checked it out, Wikipedia free on-line encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org) Now this is a pretty cool invention, let me tell you. This is an encyclopedia made by masses for masses, and anyone (even you) can add or edit pages. This means that if youíve got a piece of knowledge that you think is worth knowing, after checking that it is not out there already you can add to this huge body of knowledge that is growing everyday. There are over half a million articles in English alone, but there are also articles from many other different languages, some with over 100,000. In old days we had to spend a lot of money to buy encyclopedias. They took up a lot of space and were produced by private corporations hoping to make a monetary gain. Now we can write book and read it for free!
I did some random searches today on Wikipedia site reading about various things from Saddam Hussein, McDonalds, to a small town I used to live in called Bowling Green, Ohio. I learnt a lot of interesting stuff, like fact that Saddam once set up a literacy program in Iraq as well as a compulsory free education system. This doesnít take away fact that he killed and persecuted many people, but it gives us a more balanced human picture and proves that there is always more than meets eye when it comes to watching our news on privately owned media channels. Did you know McDonalds owns more playgrounds than any other privately owned organization? Or did you know that they buy more pork than any other company in U.S.A.? Where does all that pork go? I hope itís not in milkshakes!
One of main features that excited me on Wikipedia is amount of links that you can click on in an article that will lead you to other articles. If you are doing research it seems that you can go very deep into rabbit hole indeed. If you do look up something that hasnít got too much information about it, itís your chance to widen our horizons with your own knowledge. There are a few rules of course, one of which is that we (WE!) are looking for real facts, not opinions. The articles are being constantly edited so if you write or witness someone else putting in gibberish or vandalism there are many controls to keep pages free from misappropriation.