Friday, June 20, 2014

Step aside Dear Abby

Gone are the days when even the simplest question, or bar bet, necessitated a drive to the library. One could spend hours searching through Dewey decimals, hopefully finding  the book or magazine you needed had not been checked out, then actually writing down your answer and head back home to complete a book report, or collect on a wager.

Now within nanoseconds the wisdom of the universe is as close as your keyboard.

The computer and the Internet is our “genie in a flat screen”, there to do our bidding on a whim. 

Knowledge surpassing the ancient library at Alexandria, or even the Vatican, and yet there exists a component of this wonderment containing a glitch preventing it from ever becoming our master, despite all the ominous sci-fi predictions (like HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey).

The fly in the ointment is in the delivery system, specifically the ISP, certainly not a “HAL”, more like the “Fredo” of the industry.

I have been on the Internet a long time, maybe even longer than AL Gore, and have tried almost every available service since the get-go.
Recent university graduates are favored never knowing the dial up days when you would begin downloading a photo, then take in a double feature, steak and "Bloomin’ Onion" at the Outback and return home just in time to grab the print as it was exiting the tray.

These were our salad days when we considered state of the art to be the “Hamster-Dance”.

The Internet becomes friendlier each day.  I only wish many of my ancestors could have lived to witness where this technological marvel has brought us. 

I believe that many of them would stand in awe the same way they had at the advent of radio, television, the toaster and the demise of the telephone party line.

With all that high speed and accumulating wiki-knowledge, I occasionally appreciate pushing myself away from the monitor just to get back in touch with my humanness. 

My human emotions surface the moment I dial my Internet Service Provider to discuss another puzzling incorrect billing statement; knowing full well I will be attempting a resolution using the greater part of a vacation day and a never-ending "please hold for a few moments" recording.

I keep calling my provider just because I have to wait a few extra hours for my newspaper’s website to load.  This is due, I am told, to our company's attempt to place 30-50 flashing, jumping, blinking, video-ads on the main page.
Hedge fund investors, accountants and ad reps that have pushed aside editorial integrity for advertising placement, now run newspapers.
Yes, I am no communist, I know it takes bucks to run a newspaper, even a digital one, but why can’t we just move all those jumping ads next to items no one under the age of 75 reads today; like Dear Abby, obits and the letters to the editor.

Newspaper handlers tend to salivate over any new idea that will propel them into appearing current and hip. They long for a piece of the youth market. These idealists are convinced that when the current batch of seniors finally move on, the current future octogenarians will have embraced digital publishing as their preferred choice for news and views.  Today's teens and hipsters, they believe, will be able to help them maintain a healthy on line customer base.

This all sounds ideal until the realization that today’s young’uns have little desire to follow something as boring as news on their smart phones.  Their choice goes even beyond what the elders call “social media” (i.e. what the parents and grannies do now that they finally left MySpace & AOL and got Facebooked).
Kids choices have moved light-years beyond to avoid the peering eyes of their helicopter parents.  Their one constant appears to be video gaming.  Youth of all ages still seem to embrace it.

My suggestion is that publishers rearrange ad placement elsewhere and make it interactive.  Program those annoying pop ups to become targets, just like an old video arcade game.

We all win. The youth will finally open a newspaper, Ad reps can truthfully convince business owners that someone is actually reading on line newspapers, and my only reason for contacting Comcast will be to complain about their billing.

Step aside Dear Abby; I am taking aim at an IKEA ad.

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