Experience - Finance - Society - Thank You Sir May I Have Another

The Malignant Tumor Grows in Size – Pt. 2

ghetto blaster with television imageWhile it may seem disingenuous to be writing a blog post about the evils of spending too much time online and how Amazon will end the human race, take a good look at this site. We advertise the books we wrote. All of us together put out less than 5 books per year. We aren’t a Facebook feed with Russian ads nor are we popup notifications about “free download for an hour” or suddenly reduced prices, etc. We are a measured quantity. At best, 1-2 posts per day on here. Many days having none. If the visitor traffic graph can be trusted, many of you are now treating this site as your Sunday paper. Coming in when you have time to relax and want to read something thought provoking which is longer than a Tweet.

This whole “advertisers pay for the content” model started long ago with newspapers. It was a necessary evil to get newspapers printed. While many governments didn’t realize it, they needed newspapers. Do you know that even the Romans had a town crier? It’s true. That was one thing I really liked about the HBO series “Rome.” If you paid attention, at least in the early episodes, each episode had a brief scene where this fat dude read from a slate loudly to a crowd. At some point he would say “this news sponsored by some bakery” they even had a slogan. Something like “Good Roman bread for good Romans” or along those lines. Our town crier was a measured quantity. He/She could only write so much on the slate and only talk so long without a drink of water.

antique radio imageEventually newspapers came along. They too were a measured quantity. Yes, there was a time newspapers had an early edition, a late morning or afternoon edition and an evening edition, but they were thin. The morning and afternoon editions were designed to occupy a person’s mind while commuting. The evening edition was for reading while listening to the radio after supper. Radios weren’t yet portable. They were pieces of furniture to be displayed in the living or sitting rooms shared by family and guests alike. We were many decades from ear buds on the train.

Along came television. Large hulking yet sometimes beautiful pieces of furniture which carried images. People no longer had to use the television in their mind while listening to radio. Television, however, went off the air each night. There wasn’t enough programming available and even if there was, most stations couldn’t afford it. You can still find tiny stations scattered around the country which continue this tradition. Probably not because they wish to, but they still go off the air. They too are a measured quantity.

Hopefully you can see the image which starts this post. During the late 1970s through mid 1980s society became enamored with battery operated portable entertainment. While “portable” televisions which required a wall outlet may have came first, the Ghetto Blaster era took portable radio and cassette players to a new battery eating level. My cousin had one of those, sans the television. It took either 6 or 8 D-Cell batteries and on its best day lasted 4 hours before you had to be a wall hugger. Thanks in large part to our fascination with these things, landfills became toxic time bombs full of discarded batteries.

There was no end to creativity when it came to making these devices. Sony came out with the Watchman which was a follow on product of the Walkman portable/wearable cassette player. This vintage site is a real trip to look at, especially if you happen to be old enough to remember many of these things. Apparently some people still have working versions of these devices and they use new devices to create You-tube videos of them. Once again, when they were run on batteries, they were measured quantities.

We do not have measured quantities when it comes to Facebook and Amazon. The design of the sites is intended to keep you there as long as possible. Researched and timed attention grabbers. In the case of social media it is leading to large increases in depression, opioid abuse and suicide. Greatly damaging the society it claims to be helping. In the case of Amazon it is first destroying society, then the human race.

Humans are addicted to these things. We cannot expect society in general to simply give up its addiction. What we can expect is a Federal government to impose hours of service rules. Forcing the sites to shut down for several hours each day. The government already imposes hours of service on truck drivers, actually all commercial drivers, and I would not be surprised to learn the same is imposed on commercial pilots. The self regulation of these industries proved to be no regulation at all. Many people died when fatigue took its toll on the person in control of tens of thousands of pounds of death moving at good or even great speed.

Such an hours of service rule needs to be imposed on popular sites, above a certain traffic level. We need to force the addicts to realize they have a problem. Hell, this site used to be down on a regular basis before I switched hosting companies. I’d find out when I tried to log in to write a post and couldn’t get their from here.

The end.

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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