Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

10 things the Internet has ruined and five things it hasn't

Filed under
Web

For some people, the Internet is the killer app -- literally. From newspapers and the yellow pages to personal privacy and personal contact, the Net has been accused of murdering, eviscerating, ruining, and obliterating more things than the Amazing Hulk. Some claims are more true than others, but the Net certainly has claimed its share of scalps.

Here are 10 things the Net is making virtually extinct, plus five that have flourished.

1. Trust in encyclopedias

When I was a kid, if something was in the Encyclopedia Britannica (or even Grolier's), it was true. Now -- thanks to Wikipedia -- having "encyclopedic knowledge" of a topic isn't as impressive when there's a good chance most of what you think you know was concocted by a 12-year-old. After a 2005 study by the British journal Nature showed Britannica and Wikipedia to be equally inaccurate, faith in all encyclopedias plummeted. Britannica attacked that study's methodology as "fatally flawed," but it was too late.

Also dead: trust in studies of encyclopedias.

2. Barroom arguments

It used to be you could kill many hours and even more brain cells drinking beer and arguing over arcane trivia. Who was a more fearsome slugger, Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron? Who'd win a one-on-one match between Kobe Bryant and Doctor J? (Sorry Kobe -- we love ya man, but in 1972 the Doc was unstoppable.) Now whenever there's a question of fact, somebody just whips out a smartphone and does a search on Google or dials up Wolfram Alpha and runs a statistical analysis. Where's the fun in that?

3. Your old flame




More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement". That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter. There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly "community-oriented", but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to "severe allegations" with regard to "the style of his license enforcement activities". Read more

KDE Leftovers

Android Leftovers