E-Zines and Web-Zines and Blogs - Oh, My!

Zauberwort - The editorialE-Zines and Web-Zines and Blogs 
Oh, My!

zur deutschen Version I have been blessed to have had a front row seat to the information revolution and evolution. 

In the middle of the 1950’s my father was a computer programmer for the (then) exciting world of Univac and Eniac and giant computers that required whole buildings and massive air conditioning systems to keep their huge vacuum tubes from overheating. 

Programming back then was as much physical as it was mental.


The programmer had to take the problem to be solved and either annotate a paper program or, later, type it into a special keyboard that created a punched card that the machine could “read.”  He – there weren’t many female programmers back then – would then walk through this massive machine and connect cables from one part to another, much like an operator using a telephone switch board.   Then, using its incredible two-hundred and fifty-six kilobytes of memory, the machine would labor to answer the question. 

We’ve come a long way since then.  My desk calculator has more memory and can perform more functions than those Jurassic juggernauts.  Today cell phones have applications that far exceed the desktop computers of a mere five years earlier.  Everything is shinier, faster, more mobile, and more compact.  I can watch the latest movie, play the newest video game; read and answer emails; twitter and tweet. 

I think everything has become too easy. 

The stage is now set for the entrance of a new tyrant – the electronic dictator over the world of information.  Gone is accountability: into the trash can with accuracy.  All that matters anymore is, did you follow my rules?

What?

Your facts show that mine are not right? Hell, no! Let’s put this to a discussion and flog it until we reach consensus.  And, now, that inconvenient value of pi – 3.14 to infinity – is now an even 3 because we reached a consensus agreeing that this is a more acceptable and workable number than that clunky, outmoded decimal. 

Truth.  What is truth?

Truth is whatever the purveyors of knowledge and information on the web pages say it is.  I was taught growing up that any book ending in –pedia was probably a good source of knowledge. 

I feel for us all. 

The next time you download instructions from Wikipedia and the measurements call for something to be three feet long because the editors felt that a meter was too inconvenient and didn’t fit their sensibilities or convenience or the rules for their website, remember this: despite the debris lying on the ground around you, according to their consensus, it’s actually put together right. 

You must be the one in error. 

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