We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...it is striking how many phenomena attributed to the Internet age have their historical echo in the telephone. Identity theft and Internet predators? The early years of the telephone brought concerns over the unwanted entry—via telephone line—of unsavory characters into the home, and some people called for laws to regulate criminal use of the phone. Or consider the contemporary argument that automated high-frequency Internet trading increases the volatility of financial markets. As Aronson noted, “The widespread use of the telephone probably added to the short-run instability of such markets.” Before unwanted spam e-mails there were unwanted sales calls. The phrase “information superhighway” was preceded by a century in an AT&T ad announcing “a highway of communication.” Computer hacking grew out of the culture of “phone phreaks”—those early-1970s technological obsessives (Steve Jobs among them) who figured out how to manipulate the phone system to place free phone calls.The list of parallels goes on.
Perhaps the telephone, despite its seemingly transformative nature—the annihilation of time and space—didn’t change us much after all...
More likely result would be that the Shakespeare Canon would be three plays and a dozen poems, and wicked high scores on Warcraft.
Following his bust for illegal downloading he would probably try to pick up the quill again but spent to much time looking at...well, you know. ;-}
I wonder what the superset of human minds will be like after we learn how to "jack" our minds into one vast hypermind.
Will order emerge from the chaos?
Will we want to return to the isolation of the lone mind?
Will we abstract the mind from the body and move into virtual reality, discarding this all-too-mortal flesh?
Such questions will be asked and answered in this century.
Whatever emerges at the other end will be unrecognizable to us prototypes.
It's been fun.
You've stirred up fond memories of a college friend who spent many hours showing me the network of steam tunnels under the campus and explaining how to hack into the phone system. I hadn't stumbled on the term "phone phreak" in a while.
PacRim Jim ... Personally, I'm repelled by the idea of one great "hypermind" into which all minds will be folded. I just don't like the suggestion that my little old quirky mind is going to have to be fitted [for whose convenience, I wonder] into one great hypermind. Most of us work all of our lives to make our minds into smooth-running uniquely functioning organisms. Just for us. No others need apply.
I'm probably cranky tonight because PBS is running a new episodic series based on Sherlock Holmes, and I don't like it. At all. It's willfully eccentric and very hard to follow and it makes me long for the great Jeremy Brett, who was such a joy to watch. Sherlock Holmes [the original] was one of the great entertainments of my life. I enjoyed all of the details of the stories, and the great idea that there was someone who was so absolutely bloody smart he could solve any puzzle no matter how mysterious. That's very comforting, you know.
But now there's this new thing -- an absolutely up to date version of Holmes, with tablet computers, cell phones, the internet, etc.
Unfortunately, the producers forgot to hire good writers, and good plotters.
I won't be watching it again.
Oh ... P.S. Barrister. I don't think the telephone is dead. It's still a lifeline and a life saver, and the quickest way to find out if those you love are O.K. We had a rip roaring storm two nights ago. It thundered and lightninged all night with few breaks. Next morning my friends began calling to see if we were all right, and we made the same kind of calls.
You can read so much into the sound of your friend's voice if you know him/her well. Believe me, I'm not giving up my phones.
After Hurricane Ivan hit NW Fl, several neighbors borrowed our land line phone that was literally the only "modern" convenience still working. Asked by our cable company why I don't convert to an Internet phone, I ask, "How, then, can I call you to get my Internet working when it's down?" Yet, at work, we're converting to Internet phones because it's cheaper, and the switchboards are done for. I'm not certain, like many other things, it's an improvement. But, I also don't think California today would find a new technology, electricity, (if introduced today, instead of 100 or so years ago) safe, in the State of California, for use. In sum, new "stuff" brings good and bad. After all, the automobile eventually cost the jobs of all the men clearing horse manure from the streets of turn of the century cities.