The ins and outs of Internet
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 21:47:17 +1000
Crispin Hull <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes in "The Ins and Outs of Internet"
in the Canberra Times newspaper, page C3, Saturday 11 March 1995:
>The Information Highway is a long way off for most Australians...
I enjoyed the article and it raises some important points:
* COST: You suggest that information in printed newspapers is cheaper than via
the Internet ($4 v $500 for Saturday's newspapers). However I only read
about one page total of Saturday's newspapers (out of about 500 pages). This
would only cost me about $1 for the Internet equivalent, at the rate quoted
in the article. This makes the Internet cheaper than the newspapers. Also
there wouldn't be all that old newspaper to get rid of (I use mine for
garden mulch, but the roses can only take so much).
* DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERNET: I liked the analogy of the Internet being a set
of filing cabinets linked together.
* INTERNET CONTAINS JUNK: You make the point that the Internet contains
material which is self published and so contains no stamp of approval.
Sorry, but hat's what you get in a democracy: with freedom of speech the
citizens must decide for themselves what to believe.
For those who want others to censor their information, there are various
services on the Internet for filtering information. Currently these
mechanisms (such as moderated newsgroups) are mostly voluntary, but I have
no doubt more will appear as commercial services.
Unlike paper newspaper publishing, setting up an information service on the
Internet is relatively cheap and easy. So we might see an increase in
diversity in the media.
* INTERNET HARD TO NAVIGATE: As you suggest, the Internet is difficult to
navigate. This partly because the tools to do this are still being developed
and partly because there is so much information. You gave the example of the
topic "arsenic contamination and Nepal" and said it would be difficult to
find out everything about this on the Internet. So I checked and I couldn't
find any entry for it. But I did find lots about arsenic contamination in
other places and several UN/World Bank reports on environmental issues in
Nepal. Don't know where else I could have found this information on a Sunday
* DEPENDS ON TWISTED COPPER WIRE: As you point out the connections to the
Internet for most people is by ordinary phone lines, which have limited
capacity. However it is remarkable how much an ordinary phone line can carry
(e-mail and the Web are about ten times as efficient as using the same lines
for facsimile and one thousand time more efficient than the spoken word).
The Web encourages pictures and sound. If you have an ordinary phone line then
you can appreciate how much bandwidth these take. There are ways to squeeze
a useful service out of a normal phone line. For tips on more efficient
documents see: http://acslink.net.au/~tomw/atmhow.html
* COEXISTENCE: I agree that old and new technologies can coexist. One example
is that you can easily (and cheaply) send faxes from the Internet. There are
some things we can do to make coexistence work better in Australia. One
would be to have gateways between the Web and older technology, such as
* AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS AND BUSINESS FURTHER BEHIND: I don't agree, as you
appear to suggest, that Australia's use of Internet is inferior to the USA.
As an example is the "whole-of-Government" home page at the National Library
of Australia is being built to provide an index to local, state and
Commonwealth agencies. This doesn't have gimmicks, like the US White-house
(with photos of the President's cat), but it is a practical and useful
If you would like to know more about where the InfoBahn, the Internet and
multimedia are going, (particularly for Government use), then come to the
ACS's conference on 13 May. For details:
Tom Worthington Ph: +61 6 2474830
Director of the Community Affairs Board Fax: +61 6 2496419
Australian Computer Society Inc.
G.P.O. Box 446, Canberra A.C.T. 2601, Australia
E-mail: email@example.com Home page: http://www.acslink.net.au/~tomw/