Communications. I could barely spell the word, much less comprehend its meaning.
Yet when Mrs. Rubin made the announcement about the new club she was starting at
the junior high school, it triggered something in my mind.
Two weeks later, during the last month of my eighth grade year, I figured it out.
I was rummaging through the basement, and I ran across the little blue box that
my dad had brought home from work a year earlier. Could this be a modem?
I asked Mrs. Rubin about it the next day at school, and when she verified my
expectations, I became the first member of Teleport 2000, the only organization
in the city dedicated to introducing students to the ...view middle of the document...
Companies are organizing Local Area Networks and tapping into
information resources through internal networking and file sharing, and children
of all ages are entertained by the GUI-based commercial systems and amazed by
the worldwide system of gopher and search services. As a result, a million more
people join the 'net every month, according to a 1994 article by Vic Sussman in
U.S. News & World Report.
They say that the worldwide community used to double its knowledge every century.
Right now, that rate has been reduced to seven years, and is constantly
decreasing. I've learned more since I started traveling the information highway
than I could have possibly imagined. Through File Transfer Protocol sites, I can
download anything from virus-detection utilities to song lyrics and guitar tabs.
I receive press releases, proclamations and international news from the White
House via a mailing list. I even e-mailed President Clinton recently and
received a response the next day. And it was just a few months ago that I hung
up my 2400-baud modem for a replacement six times as fast.
The essence of this international system of systems was neatly summed up by
David S. Jackson and Suneel Ratan in a recent Time article: "The magic of the
Net is that it thrusts people together in a strange new world, one in which they
get to rub virtual shoulders with characters they might otherwise never meet."
To me, this electronic "Cyberspace" was like kindergarten all over again. It was
not only an introduction to a whole new world of exciting opportunities, but it
helped me take a step further into maturity. Communicating with others on this
alternate plane of reality was so different, yet so similar, to the world I had
already experienced. The Internet is a place where the only...