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

Leftovers: KDE/Qt

Leftovers: OSS

Security Leftovers

  • DNS server attacks begin using BIND software flaw
    Attackers have started exploiting a flaw in the most widely used software for the DNS (Domain Name System), which translates domain names into IP addresses. Last week, a patch was issued for the denial-of-service flaw, which affects all versions of BIND 9, open-source software originally developed by the University of California at Berkeley in the 1980s.
  • Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs
    The common wisdom when it comes to PCs and Apple computers is that the latter are much more secure. Particularly when it comes to firmware, people have assumed that Apple systems are locked down in ways that PCs aren’t. It turns out this isn’t true. Two researchers have found that several known vulnerabilities affecting the firmware of all the top PC makers can also hit the firmware of MACs. What’s more, the researchers have designed a proof-of-concept worm for the first time that would allow a firmware attack to spread automatically from MacBook to MacBook, without the need for them to be networked.

Brocade CEO: Transition To Open Source Will Be Difficult For Cisco

Communications CEO Lloyd Carney said traditional vendors like Cisco will have a tough time adapting to a more software-defined, open source space. That's because traditional vendors like Cisco's revenue streams are tied to closed architectures, Carney said. Read more