see end...as well as interspersed comments...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> On Sat, 25 Mar 2006, steven c wrote:
> > First...at the present time, only a very small percentage of the
> > of North America have, or have access to:
> > 1) A home computer (reasonably up-to-date)
> > 2) An adequate Internet connection to allow access to/download of
> > files of anything larger than tens of kilobytes
> > 3) Adequate computer literacy to use the Internet for anything past
> > exchanging a few e-mails or ordinary word processing
> While I can't speak to point three, I guess it depends on what you read...
> Johnnie L. Roberts, "Keepin' It On the Download", Newsweek, August 1,
> 2005, p. 42
> "As of December, more than half of U.S. homes were wired with the
> high-speed pipeline to the Net. Online audiences are surging (5
> million-strong for AOL's Live 8 concert coverage)."
> Brad Stone, "Hi-Tech's New Day",
> Newsweek, April 11, 2005, p. 62
> "75 percent of Americans use the Internet and spend an average three hours
> a day online."
The first is possible, counting ALL the usage...but I would imagine
that not nearly all of them spend three hours a day on the net!
> Malcolm Jones, "Waiting for the Movie", Newsweek, July 19, 2004, p. 58
> "Using Census Bureau data, the NEA [National Endowment of the Arts] found
> that the number of Americans who say they've even opened a single book of
> fiction...has declined by 10 percent, from 56.9 percent in 1982 to 46.7
> percent today...Two decades ago the number of new books published annually
> hoevered around 60,000, then climbed more than 100,000 in the early '90s.
> Last year saw a record 164,609 new titles."
> Humm...something seems wrong with that equation...
Well, books began their decline when television became generally
available (about 1955). I should look up how much time the average
North American spends watching TV...?
However, the plethora of new books is caused at least in part
by the number of privately-published volumes on various esoteric
subjects, as well as the number of "books" that are paperbacks
aimed at the mass market...
> Louise Kehoe, "Drowning in a Deluge of Data," Financial Times, p. 8, June
> 12, 2002
> "About 24 exabytes of unique information has been produced by the human
> race, according to a two-year-old study from the School of Information
> Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley, while
> study leader Hal Varian has noted the possibility of an acceleration of
> data growth in a recent update."
> Ok, so how many holographic CD will it take for me to have all of that at
I recall reading a science fiction story about 40 or so years ago.
In the work, the amount of data had increased to the point that
small planets were being colonized for use as data repositories...
and all of this was kept track of using indexes, indexes to
indexes, indexes to indexes of indexes and so on. Finally,
somebody looked something up, went where it was supposed
to be, and...lo and behold, it wasn't there! They knew that
somewhere in their system there was an error...but one can
imagine the amount of time and research it would have taken
to FIND that error...so the entire system collapsed! I think
this was written before personal computers, so everything
would have been on 80-column "IBM cards"...one of which was
probably bent, folded, stapled, spindled or mutilated...
> "More Kids Say Internet Is the Medium They Cant Live Without,"
> StatisticalResearch.com, April 5, 2002 (thanks to Dick Halpern)
> "Given a choice of six media, one-third (33%) of children aged 8 to 17
> told KN/SRI that the Web would be the medium they would want to have if
> they couldnt have any others. Television was picked by 26% of kids;
> telephone by 21%; and radio by 15%. For the top three media, results were
> dramatically different among girls and boys. Twice as many boys (34%
> versus 17%) chose TV as their must-have medium, while telephone was more
> than twice as popular (31% versus 12%) among girls. The Internet placed
> first with 38% of boys and 28% of girls."
> Out of the moulths of babes. (which are probably talking on cell phones
as I type?!)
> Robert J. Samuelson, "Debunking the Digital Divide," Newsweek, March 25,
> 2002, p. 37
> "In 1997 only 37 percent of people in families with incomes from $15,000
> to $24,999 used computers at home or at work. By September 2001, that
> proportion was 47 percent. Over the same period, usage among families
> with incomes exceeding $75,000 rose more modestly, from 81 percent to 88
> percent. Among all racial and ethnic groups, computer use is rising.
> Here are the numbers for 2001 compared with similar rates for 1997:
> Asian-Americans, 71 percent (58 percent in 1997); whites, 70 percent (58
> percent); blacks, 56 percent (44 percent); Hispanics, 49 percent (38
Not sure where I fit...my current income is a public disability
pension of about $11,000/year, but the quick decline in the value
of computers as they age enabled me to afford a Pentium III!
However, it is worth noting that the above says "at home or at
work" and a lot of low-paying jobs (data entry, telemarketing, etc.)
involve computer use. The applicable question here should be
"do you have, and use, a computer at home, and if so what type?"
> > Imagine the internet with virtually every bit of the currently-
> > published information accessible through a near-infinite number
> > of websites...and now imagine trying to find one specific piece
> > of that information!
> I agree, navigation is a problem. However I found all of the quotes above
> in about 45 seconds. On the other hand...are we going to have the
> I am not suggesting I am an information superman...nor am I suggesting the
> internet has it all, also, I don't know it these quotes are accurate. But
> I do know it took me less time than using the library...books.
> > the information I need. Not only that, finding those books
> > means I will find others shelved in their vicinity which may
> > be the ones I am looking for.
> On the other hand, Amazon will give me a personalize list of suggested
> titles...something my librarian used to, but hasn't done in over 30 years.
> I loved libraries and am saddened to see what has happened to them.
Well, I love libraries...I'm basically an "information collector"
at heart, and avoid going to the local public library because
I know I'll spend the whole day there! However, our library...like
most libraries not in major cities...lacks books/information in
any fields that are even slightly esoteric. I think they have two,
maybe three, of the standard discographies. Oddly enough, they are
also missing a lot of information about local history.
IMO, one of the main problem is the "dumbing down" of public
libraries...which can be blamed in part by the "dumbing down"
of the general public. Personally, I assign most of the blame
for that to one thing...the ubiquitous television set! TV was
hailed when it first appeared as a way to bring culture into
the homes of everyday people; however, the everyday people
cheerfully ignored any culture it did provide in favour of
the lowest-common-denominator entertainment with which it
also flooded its airwaves...
Steven C. Barr