The dangers of neuroscientists.

Thanks to Kent Newsome for pointing me to this article quoting a British neuroscientist:

Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.

[...]

But they will strike a chord with parents and teachers who complain that many youngsters lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.

Hmmm. Twenty years ago MTV got the blame. Forty years ago it was rock and roll music. And we’ve always been able to blame the problem on an attraction to the opposite sex. Now it’s social networking. Yet these young users sound like average everyday people to me.

I am worried though about the alarming changes Facebook seems to cause in the brains of neuroscientists.

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Apparently Internet=Television.

The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) wants to carve out a Canadian identity online in the most Canadian of ways – by creating a tax:

Amid fears that Canada’s culture is being drowned in a sea of online video from around the world, federal regulators are looking at setting up a $100-million fund to support homegrown programming on the Internet.

The controversial proposal, which is aimed at staking out a more distinct national identity online, has pitted the television production community against Canada’s Internet service providers, who may ultimately have to foot the bill, or pass those costs onto customers.

This is of course prompted by Canadian artists who want a share of the pie:

Organizations representing Canadian artists told the CRTC yesterday that the evolution of the Internet in the past decade has rendered it no different from television, given the amount of online video being consumed. The average Canadian spends 46 hours a month online, and 83 per cent of people now watch video content, data from the regulator suggests.

“The Internet is just another media-distribution platform like any other that we’ve had,” said Stephen Waddell, executive director of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. “And in our view, if the CRTC doesn’t give some opportunity to Canadian content to have a place on that platform, we’re going to be immersed in non-Canadian content.”

This completely misrepresents the point of the quoted statistic. The interned may be another media platform but if so, it is one where the average Canadian spends 46 hours per month avoiding existing television, including Canadian content.

The production community says that such a fund will support jobs across the country, though it seems difficult to understand why that is the responsibility of the average Internet user.

These people fail to realize that the Internet is not a place that exists to support jobs; it is a place where kids with a cheap video camera create their own "Canadian content." They also fail to explain how they would change that.

If Internet users want Canadian content they will simply create it. A new tax isn’t going to change that.

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Peace of mind.

I have several different web sites, using several different web hosting services. My longest running host has been Premier Focus, a little local shop run by a friend. He is expensive – about $170 annually – but his service has been good.

A few months ago I set up a site for my friend using A Small Orange. The price was $50 annually, for more disk space and bandwidth than I was getting for three times the price. So I signed up too. All was great, and I was about to drop Premier Focus – until last week.

I was using one of my SQL databases at A Small Orange when I suddenly got an unexpected error. When I checked, my databases were gone. Which also mean my blogs were unavailable. I quickly sent them an email – unlike Premier Focus there was no number to call. They responded fairly quickly via email, telling me that they could see no problem or reason for my databases to be gone.

After a few back and forth emails they restarted their SQL server which fixed the problem. They told me that I shouldn’t be concerned as this occasionally happens.I have indeed had other similar problems.

But I need a web host that is as concerned with my website uptime as I am. They didn’t seem to be. And I realized that in five years, I’ve never had a similar occurrence with Premier Focus. So I’m going to pay them their annual fee again – for my own comfort.

The lesson I learned? You can choose a hosting provider to save money. Or you can pay a little more for peace of mind.

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If a tree falls in the forest…

A friend noted that January had been my first blogless month in years, and he was certainly correct. Sometimes you get really busy and you just can’t find the time. Other times you realize that you don’t have anything important – or anything at all – to say. And a massive reshufflling of web hosts doesn’t help either.

So if you follow me then I apologize, though I’m sure the lack of my voice may have been a well deserved break for everyone.

I’m sure that I’ll have a few more things to say now. :)

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