Thursday, February 5, 2009

On-Line Research

My post today is taking a slightly different turn from what I had originally anticipated.

I saw a news clip on TV a couple of nights ago night about a cat who’d been up in a tree for quite a while, and no one had been able to coax her down or rescue her in any other way. I thought I’d blog about that stubborn and scared cat, using her as an analogy to our lives these days. Many people, these days, are up proverbial trees economically--aware of how they got in perilous positions but unsure of the best ways to get out of them. The news commentator finished up the story by saying that the cat would probably find her own way down in the next few of days, since rain is expected in the L.A. area. Will she make it safely? Let’s hope we all do!

I wanted to view the clip again on the Internet, but I haven’t been able to locate it. I checked the websites for the TV stations on which I watched the news that night but couldn’t find it there, either.

I’d imagine I’ll run into the story again, probably after I get this posted. But I also want to express frustration that is born of our technological lives today.

Yesterday morning, when I turned on my computer, my Internet access wasn’t there. I did the usual rebooting, unplugging and plugging my modem back in. Nothing. We’ve had problems now and then with the company we use for our Internet service, so I called them. I’m still not exactly certain what the problem was, but the very nice lady at the other end (in some foreign country, I’d imagine, although her accented English was quite good) put up with my grumping, checked whatever she was able to check, gave me some additional instructions for turning things on and off, and--voila! It came back.

But I didn’t find the story I sought. Also, yesterday, I tried to look up the name of a particular employee at a government agency to confirm the spelling of his name and couldn’t find it on the agency’s website. Years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered trying to watch a TV news story again, unless it was rerun on the same channel. And I’d have looked up the government agency in the phone book, called its number and asked my questions about the employee. All potentially time-consuming.

My conclusion: The Internet is spoiling us! We get so much from it that we expect even more.

I saw this week that Google Earth is now launching Google Ocean, so we’ll not only be able to zero in on even small buildings at most locations on this planet, but also see undersea mountains and formations and sealife as well.

Talk about being spoiled!

What are your favorite things about the Internet? Your least favorite?



Lyndsay Cabildo said...

Speaking of the customer service, if she speaks quite good accent, may I say it's from rigorous training that they put us through before, I was one of them almost a year ago.

Anyways, back to the Internet...You're right taht we're spoiled, but I love it though, I heard about the Google thing few days ag from CNN, and it's awesome.

Ellen said...

The Internet is rapidly becoming the sum total of human knowledge. Unfortunately, it is also becoming the sum total of human stupidity and perverseness. Think of it as the smart (but frustrating) nerds you have known.

Sheila Connolly said...

I love the availability of all sorts of information, fast. I hope it doesn't make writers lazy, because they don't have to go out and actually visit places and talk to people. No, they can sit at their desk and pull up 360-degree street-level images of a lot of places (even obscure ones) and aerial photos and write perfect descriptions of a place they've never been. They can check police reports from distant locations. They can describe gruesome medical conditions without ever visiting a doctor.

Of course, you ought to check multiple sites on line, because half of them probably contain the same incorrect information, and they all borrow from each other. Use these resources carefully!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Interesting, Lyndsay. I assume from the utter politeness of most people at the other end of the line when I call to complain that they're under the threat of firing if they say what they really think. And even those with accents speak excellent English.

And the Internet--I agree, Ellen, that we're relying a lot on nerds for our info. And I agree with you, too, Sheila, that writers can get lazy--and use incorrect info--if they do rely on it. But it is a helpful starting point, at least...usually. And it's really frustrating when what you're looking for isn't there!

Janie Emaus said...

Great post Linda!

I love looking things up on the Internet but I hate when it takes me to places that have nothing do to with what I am looking up.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Janie, although sometimes those irrelevant sites are interesting enough to capture my attention for a little while--which again eats into my writing time!

Camille Minichino said...

Nerds need love, too. :=))

Seriously, I think the incorrect stuff comes from the non-nerds who just want their voices heard.

Betty Hechtman said...

I heard the same story about the cat. I didn't hear any follow up either. I thought they tried to rescue it but couldn't and were going to try something else the next day if the cat didn't come down on its own.

One of my cats got caught up a tree once. I thought we were going to have to call tree trimmers to get it down, but he came down all by himself.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I wonder, Camille, if some of the incorrect material is from people who just like to make things up--like we do sometimes! Or maybe it's occasionally more insidious than that. Maybe there's a story idea in this...
And, Betty, my new daughter-in-law just forwarded a cute e-mail that contains journals from a dog and a cat. The dog's was mostly about how much he loves his life and everything his guardian does for him. The cat's was more about how she deals with her incarceration. Maybe cats sometimes escape up trees to get away from it all!

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