newlogoJune06.jpg (31063 bytes)

Today in My History

2000:  I Have a Dream
2001:  Does Size Really Matter?
2002:  Pelican Brief
2003:  Hit Men
2004:  Follow the Yellow Brick Road
2005:  Gilbert Was Right
Idle Questions

"Fat Pig"

Books Read in 2007

Updated 7/1:
"It's OK to Miss the Bed the First Time"


"Happy Birthday, Schlomo"

Happy Birthday, Schlomo
click here to download

YouTube Version

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
Keith Olbermann on Libby Pardon
Britain's Got Talent - Dominic
Nessun Dorma
(more from Britain's Got Talent)
Britain's Got Talent
(you MUST watch this!)
O Mio Babbino Caro

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 6/17/07)

New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

4th of July Barbeque

That's My Answer

Have you answered
the Question of the Day?

STOP!!  Before you do anything else, go and see Sicko.  Even if you hate Michael Moore, every American should see this film.


7 July 2007

I've been on the Internet a long time.  When I was first introduced to the Internet, it was with e-mail that I couldn't even download to my own computer. (I wonder, now, who it was that I was writing to!)  It was months before Ned's friend Jon introduced me to this strange new thing called "the worldwide web."  "You're gonna love it," he promised.  Gee.  Ya think?

Jon installed software he had pirated from someone and suddenly instead of yellow letters on a black screen, there were graphics!  What a wonder! 

I learned something Jon called "Eudora," which let me download e-mail and keep copies of my answers.  This was incredible progress.

My friend Mike built himself a web page and I thought it was so cool that I wanted to learn how to do that, so I bought a little book, asked him lots of questions and took a beginners course.  Soon I had my own web site on my local server.

We were all stumbling around in this new medium, making it up as we went along and having a wonderful time doing it.  I remember when web URLs first began appearing on billboards, and packages of various products.  What a clever idea, I thought.

We never dreamed at the time that there would be search engines as efficient as Google (which wasn't even a gleam in its server's eye when I first went onto the internet.  Search engines were clumsy and slow and incomplete.  I was thrilled with Metacrawler, which actually searched more of the Internet than most.). 

At Tom's BBQ they were laughing about the time Tom went to a meeting at his office and his boss said that before they started he wanted to show everyone something.  Suddenly, on the screen, was a video of Tom in high school performing in Kiss Me Kate.  Fortunately Tom seems to have enjoyed it as much as his co-workers, but it makes you realize that anything you put on the internet is there...forever.

Supposed anonymity will sooner or later bite you in the butt.  I've known more than one friend who thought s/he had taken all precautions to guard their privacy, only to have someone recognize a pattern in the stories and put 2 and 2 together, occasionally causing a lot of problems.

We didn't realize all that when we were all just playing around, creating, learning, and shaping this powerful medium.

For me, the time is long past when I can be anonymous on the Internet.  Do a Google search on "Bev Sykes" or "Beverly Sykes" and there are over 1,000 entries.  I even once found a mention from an old Herb Caen column in the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980s.  Apparently the Chronicle decided to publish all of Caen's columns.

Fast forward about 10 years or more.  Today I spent time looking around for an address book program, one of those things where I can keep the names and addresses of all my Christmas card contacts and have it print out labels for me if I need them. 

I had a great little no-frills program before all the recent computer problems, but I had borrowed the program and no longer had it available to me, so I have to find a substitute.  I found several which each will give me 10 days free trial, but then they want $30 from me.  (I suspect the original program was about $10).  I was hoping to find something a lot less expensive with no frills at all.  Just your basic name / address / phone / e-mail record.

In my searches, I came across an interesting thing -- a site where you can store your address book on line -- for free.  You never have to worry about your computer crashing.  It's like, which will keep track of all of your bookmarks for you so they are always available no matter which computer you are using.

My first reaction to an on-line address book was that it was a great idea.  My almost instantaneous second reaction was that it was a terrible idea.  Can you just imagine it?  Suppose that, unlike me, you have made a great effort to keep yourself anonymous on the internet.  You don't order on line.  Your address doesn't show up anywhere, your telephone number and cell phone number are unlisted.  And then along comes someone who decides to store his/her address book in some on-line service and there it all is:  your name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, spouse's name, birthdate, etc.  Of course I'm sure are all sorts of security measures, but we've seen how well those work. 

Well, I won't be using any on-line address book service.  But it exists.  There are people who do.  And it's scary to think that your privacy is in the hands of your computer-savvy friends.

I'm lucky that I have understanding kids who usually think that the things I post about them on the internet now--or posted ten years ago--are funny.  Or at least they don't complain to me about them...too often.



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