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Columnist predicts the Imminent Death of the Internet
August 27, 2003 9:24 AM   Subscribe

So you know all those worms that have been circulating recently? Well, turns out that they mean that the Internet has failed. (via the Obscure Store)
posted by Johnny Assay (35 comments total)

 
He didn't convince me until he advocated fun at the end of the article.

I'm sold.
posted by jon_kill at 9:28 AM on August 27, 2003


Fun is what's destroying this country.

Fun and Republicans.
posted by xmutex at 9:38 AM on August 27, 2003


Considering they're all Microsoft OS worms and Outlook viruses its kind of amusing to replace "internet" with "Microsoft" in the article.
Well, this assumes that the reading public would notice; still, the problem with precautions like those is they don't go nearly far enough. So I have a modest proposal of my own: Let's all disconnect from Microsoft! It's nothing but a well-known source of contagion, and frankly, the whole thing is starting to get a bit old anyway.

....

Maybe it's time to admit that the whole Microsoft thing has been a grand experiment, but an experiment that's failed -- like hydrogen-filled airships, or the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, or Betamax. We'll all find something else to do, and in many cases it will come as a great relief.

After all, one of Microsoft's most popular applications -- e-mail -- has become just another arena in which to feel constantly behindhand, particularly when one's in-box is already jammed with dozens of mysterious messages whose subject lines are something like "Undeliverable: Returned mail: User unknown," because they were generated by a worm or a virus and appear to have come from your account but really didn't.
posted by skallas at 9:42 AM on August 27, 2003


Works for me.
posted by Joeforking at 10:13 AM on August 27, 2003


very few people are deriving much actual pleasure from the once-vaunted information superhighway.

It think 94.564% of this is BS.
posted by Quartermass at 10:20 AM on August 27, 2003


This article is garbage. I've seen better opinion-based writing from foaming fundamentalists. Somebody please slap this writer upside the head for me in San Francisco. Thanks.
posted by angry modem at 10:23 AM on August 27, 2003


If articles like this mean that people like the author will unplug their computers and never turn them on again, I'm all for more of them.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:26 AM on August 27, 2003


Oh come on, angrymodem (and on preview crash) it's funny.

I mean, disconnect from the Internet. Phaw! I'd sooner stop eating.

Uh... or not. Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by jokeefe at 10:27 AM on August 27, 2003


Ms. Wellman was consistently much more entertaining as the San Francisco Weekly's Dog Bites columnist. Since hopping on the Chronicle's bandwagon, she's been mostly disappointing, putting out the kind of softball humor that typifies most dailies.

I realize this is the S.F. local-journalist equivalent of "dude, their earlier stuff rocked so much harder before they sold out," but unfortunately that's more often the case than it isn't.
posted by majick at 10:29 AM on August 27, 2003


This is clearly one of those articles where the author's talking about how he feels while pretending to be actually describing the opinion of a multitude. On the other hand, I do think the Internet is stagnant since broadband became available for personal use.
posted by 111 at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2003


1. Free porn.
2. The internet has failed.

###Does not compute.###
posted by Blue Stone at 10:36 AM on August 27, 2003


I think the author spelled "interweb" wrong ... many times ... throughout the article.
posted by devbrain at 10:39 AM on August 27, 2003


I have an email address that I've had for 8 years that has never, ever had a single virus/worm delivered to it, and I don't use email filtering.

Just don't give your email address to known idiots and spammers and you'll be fine.
posted by Veritron at 11:00 AM on August 27, 2003


the Internet has failed

So what are we using here? The imaginternet?
posted by insomnyuk at 11:20 AM on August 27, 2003


Maybe it's time to admit that the whole Internet thing has been a grand experiment, but an experiment that's failed -- like hydrogen-filled airships, or the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, or Betamax. We'll all find something else to do, and in many cases it will come as a great relief.

yes. sayonara. please leave now. take your hordes of inane email forwarding morons, your armies of external-link-policy-writing lawyers, and your tsunami of information-fearing, first-amendment-ignoring, censorship-imposing workplace gnomes and go back to the fucking television sets you never really left, and leave the internet to those who get it. thank you, very, very much.
posted by quonsar at 11:21 AM on August 27, 2003


qounsar gets the internet?
posted by a3matrix at 11:27 AM on August 27, 2003


+++NO CARRIER
posted by titboy at 11:29 AM on August 27, 2003


"qounsar gets the internet?"

Every week, on tape. This week it's read by Ted McGinley.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2003


What quonsar said...
posted by LowDog at 11:36 AM on August 27, 2003


If the Internet has failed we should turn it off. Go ahead. I dare you *places small cylindrical Internet on shoulder, bares teeth in menacing fashion*
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:42 AM on August 27, 2003


take your hordes of inane email forwarding morons, your armies of external-link-policy-writing lawyers, and your tsunami of information-fearing, first-amendment-ignoring, censorship-imposing workplace gnomes and go back to the fucking television sets you never really left, and leave the internet to those who get it.

This is the best screed I've read in days, weeks, perhaps ever. I heart you, q.
posted by jokeefe at 12:08 PM on August 27, 2003


A little context here...

Laura Wellman's column appears on the back page of the "Datebook" (entertainment) section of Chronicle. Near the comics, the crossword puzzles and, of course, Jumbles, eveyone's favorite wacky mixed up word game...

On the left of the page is a column by Jon Carrol, who today continued an earlier article praising turkey vultures. In the middle of the page is a gossip column with breathless items about celebrity sightings and attempts to find a local angle in everything.

Oh, and right below Wellman is everyone's favorite advice columnist, Dear Abby, who today was advising a young woman to contact a rabbi, so he could say a prayer to calm a dead aunt so she'll stop jinxing a family because they weren't following her instructions regarding a bequest of silverware....

Anyway, this is (supposed to be) a light humor type piece by a sometimes amusing lightweight writer...
posted by jasper411 at 12:08 PM on August 27, 2003


I like bluestones post. Makes me smile. quonsars post makes me nod my head. My head has stitches in it, so nodding makes that area hurt.
It is an excellent comment unto itself though.
posted by a3matrix at 12:23 PM on August 27, 2003


indeed - thank you very much, quonsar. That's a petition I'd sign, as long as it was circulated on paper and not on a web site.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:33 PM on August 27, 2003


I like how the article extolls the reader to go outside and enjoy the fruits of human existance, then asks the reader to send an email. Beautiful.
posted by phong3d at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2003




Why are humorists never funny?
posted by solistrato at 3:29 PM on August 27, 2003


With regards the oh so insecure Windows boxes it should be noted that Linux accounts for a far larger percentage of hacks (today it's 80%) according to zone-h

The latest one being MIT that was attacked via a wu-ftp or sendmail exploit (they run Apache on Linux)

Yes there have been some nasty worms propogated thru Outlook but don't think for a moment that Mac and Linux are somehow immune to attack, bottom line is that Microsoft is the biggest target and when you are writing something whose raison d'etre is to spread as quickly as possible it makes a lot more sense to target the big barn door that is MS.
posted by zeoslap at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2003


>With regards the oh so insecure Windows boxes it should be noted that Linux accounts for a far larger percentage of hacks (today it's 80%)

They should account for more because Linux is primarily a server OS usually running a whole slew of services. Windows on the other hand is an OS marketed at technophobe home users not running any exploitable services, well, ones that the users know of.

There's a big difference between "Shit, someone forgot to patch the ftp server" and "What the hell is RPC? Why is this on my internet connection?"

Client computers shouldn't be this vulnerable and defaulting to windows file and print sharing on the wan connection is just dumb and ignorant of good security practices. Not to mention MS's "integrate everything" philosophy that is blurring the line between your computer and the outside world. IE/Outlook/ActiveX/Vbs scripting all in one borg-ish entity ready to be exploited by 15 year olds in the third world countries.

Yes, MS is targetted because of its ubiquity, but its also a very easy target.
posted by skallas at 4:47 PM on August 27, 2003


I pray to the silicon deities that people will maybe wake up and learn from this. It isn't hard to not open every attachment you get. It isn't hard to run realtime virus protection on both individual systems and networks, it isn't hard to remember to update both the virus protection and the scanning software. Nor is it hard to manually or automatically run scan every few days.

It's like sex. If you are a responsible adult you take simple precautions to avoid infection. If you discover you are infected you take steps to avoid spreading that infection. Kids should be learning about safe data handling in school at the same age as they learn about safe sex.

/end rant
posted by Grod at 8:01 PM on August 27, 2003


qounsar gets the internet?
quonsar is the internet.
posted by dg at 10:20 PM on August 27, 2003


...So then, the parochial school kids would be the only ones opening infected emails, huh. ;)
posted by notsnot at 10:43 PM on August 27, 2003


notsnot: don't forget that texas kids would be opening them too.

I know that the idea of the internet having "failed" is a big oversimplification, and that unplugging from it is dumb. I also know that the local network at the University of Virginia has been so affected by SoBig that, over the course of move-in weekend, something like half the traffic over the lan was worm emails getting sent back and forth. The ITs responded by shutting off access to the outside net in huge, dorm- and building-wide swaths. And this from a university that three years ago was the most wired school in the nation. Fortunately, I don't live on campus, and my broadband is fine.

Remember: the internet is beautiful, but stupidity has never been beauty's bitch.
posted by thecaddy at 10:58 PM on August 27, 2003


Re: Grod's post.

Okay "they" shouldnt open an attachment from people they know. Natch. "They" should know networking 101 and be aware of every patch that comes up. "They" should have lots of anti-virus software and do weekly scans. Hell, why don't "they" go out and get a degree in CS while they're at it.

It sounds like you're blaming the victim here. The market should be working for "them" and giving them a secure computer out of the box. Boot it up, the firewall puts itself up, it updates automatically, etc.


Windows just doesnt do that and we're in the infantile stage of computing. Computers are confusing compared to most of the machinery we deal with in everyday life. Networking is a mystery. Vendors don't know how to simplify things using the desktop model of computing.

The next successful conputer revolution will be a much less complex device with a simple interface more akin to a VCR than a full-blown computer. Maybe we're seeing it with the mobile market right now, but I have some sympathy for the users especially when they are suddenly forced to understand a lot of techinical low-level stuff just to write an email or surf the web.
posted by skallas at 8:58 PM on August 28, 2003


One problem with your vision though, skallas, is that most people are still unable to program their VCR either. Other than that, you are right on the money.
posted by dg at 2:48 AM on August 29, 2003


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