The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 28, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / July 28, 1999

I’ve always been accepting of the Internet. It’s new technology and afantastic new medium for providing information quickly and thoroughly.

However, there are still a few bugs in the system.

While everyone is weirded out about the impending Year 2000 Bug and its possible effect on computer operating systems, my first concern was the power outage.

And that can happen no matter what year it is.

Monday night saw sporadic but comparatively minor outages throughout the River Parishes as a lightning storm swept through around 9 p.m. I wassurfing at that time. Common sense told me I should immediately shutdown the computer until the storm passed. I’m not widely known for mycommon sense.

I rode out the storm, reading campaign financial reports and poking around in a forum on Sherlock Holmes stories and tried my best to ignore the booms and rumblings overhead.

The Internet, sometimes called the “information superhighway,” is truly a highway. There’s detours, roadblocks, wrecks and potholes all along theway. There’s distractions aimed at keeping you delayed from your eventualgoal. There’s (gasp!) too much information out there.Last weekend, I pulled up the site for the Woodstock 99 festival and saw interviews and performances of some of those musicians appearing. Imissed the fires and looting which ended the festival. One wonders aboutthe effect of that might have been on a young, possibly emotionally unstable person.

There are, of course, the porn sites. Far too many of them, even thoughthey actually make up a small percentage of all the sites on the vast, uncharted immenseness of the Internet.

What actually makes up the majority of the sites aren’t personal webpages or even commercial sites. It’s technical journals andeducational sites from universities. One can track down learned papers ontruly esoteric subjects, like the gross national product of Madagascar.

There’s one site which intends to put all the great works of Western literature on the Internet. In time, one could pull up the complete text of aWilliam Faulkner novel or the poetry of Robert Frost.

Probably the biggest bug in the system is the over-hype of the Internet.

Every company on the planet appears to have its own website. Andschoolchildren are encouraged to establish their personal webpages, where one may read little Emily loves horses, the Backstreet Boys and shopping, and that her favorite teacher is Mr. Beemer.One almost wishes for some sort of restraint but I’m starting to feel it’s a new toy for many people and the novelty will, in time, wear out. Therewas a time, about 20 or so years ago, when it seemed every driver on the road had a Citizen’s Band radio. There were pop songs about CB radios andeven a few movies. One worried about children’s access.Try and find one now. They’re back in the hands of truckers, where theybegan.

The Internet is the latest fad, and it’s possible that the entire planet may not ever go online. Now, cellular phones are another matter.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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