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Cyberspace in perspective

1.

If a survey were being done on how people experience cyberspace, one would immediately notice that no two answers would be the same. Experiencing cyberspace is something that is different for every individual. I myself experience cyberspace psychologically, I experience it in my mind. There have been many attempts at trying to define the abstruse term, but up to date, no one has pinned the tail on the donkey. There cannot be one solid definition for a word that possesses so many meanings. I personally associate the word cyberspace with the idea of being able to travel to distant places without ever leaving my chair. Obviously, I know that there is no possible way of visiting different places or countries via my home computer, but in my mind, when I see the location that I am connected to, it feel as though a part of me is there. The best part is that I can switch from scenario to scenario without having to travel any ground. I do not feel a sense of distance or location, except when it takes a prolonged amount of time to connect to a host. When I travel from place to place (site to site), I do not cover any known physical distances, but instead I cover visual distance.

Just as many people do, I refer to the places that I visit as virtual worlds. I like calling them this because I never actually get to see the reality of the "world". I only get to see it electronically and digitally. The feeling that I experience while in cyberspace is knowing that I possess the power to visit any where I want. When I click one of the buttons on the mouse, or what I refer to as a transporter, I feel as though all the power in the world rests at the end of my fingertips. I am in my own sort of fantasy land. Once I land in a desired location, or website, I have the opportunity to click on pictures and words that take me to new worlds. These pictures and words have the power to make my virtual tour even more pleasing by introducing me to new and exciting things. People have referred to experiences in cyberspace, experiences such as mine, as a basic extension of the mind. I definitely agree with this statement. I believe that it takes imagination and creativity to experience all of the things that cyberspace has to offer. With all the colors, strange text and mind-boggling graphics, cyberspace is something that everyone must experience on their own. No two people experience it in the same way and it takes practice to learn different ways of experiencing all that it has to offer. I guess everyone must find their own little 'cyber-niche'.

2.

In today's technological oriented society, it is difficult for one to go about their daily lives without interacting in some form or another with digital components. Communication is the perfect example of how people interact with digital technology. Talking to loved ones who live on the other side of the globe, faxing a friend, or simply calling in sick to work, are all forms of communication, but these examples are taken for granted.

A popular form of digital communication, whether people realize it or not, is the cellular phone. Cellular phones have become very popular toys over the past few years and they are 100% digital. For people who are constantly on the go, the "Cell Phone" is a convenient digital advancement. I find the cellular phone to be of much help in the stickier situations; like when I am being forced to change a flat tire in -20o weather, when there's heavy traffic, when I want to find a quicker route to where I'm going, or when I get lost in an unfamiliar region. They are relatively expensive to use, but in most cases, I would say that they are well worth their price. I don't have five hour conversations using them, but I can let people know what I want to tell them in a short amount of time, which I find extremely handy. Before the ease of world-wide portable phones, there was a different breed of digital communication devices: beepers. Beepers, or pagers as they are commonly called, go hand in hand with cell phones. If a person does not own a cellular phone, a pager is a great alternative. It is a piece of digital equipment that allows the carrier to be notified when someone is trying to get in touch with them. I find that pagers are better in the sense that they cost less than cell phones do. I was given a pager years ago, and I still use the same one today. It's much easier to answer a pager than a cell phone when I am driving. Even though they are not as great of a communication tool as a cellular phone, I would probably never give mine up. I also communicate with the pager because I read it's LCD display when I am interested in finding out who is disturbing me.

Still on topic of communication, I cannot forget to mention television. It is a huge form of communication today, more so than ever before. Although televisions have changed dramatically in a short amount of time, TVs communicate several different messages. Everyone watches television at some point in time, and when they do, they are most likely interacting with a digital TV. I watch television for relaxation, or to keep up to date on world events. By simply changing the channels, or more complex things such as programming channels/time/date, I am interacting with the television. Television is visually pleasing. My concentration becomes affixed to the point that I have no idea, or very little idea, as to what is going on around me.

VCRs go hand in hand with the television. As I do with the TV, I have to give the VCR commands as well. Whether I tell it to PLAY, STOP or REWIND, I am interacting with it. As with the television, I am fixating all of my attention to what it is showing, or playing.

Going back to raw communication, a real piece of digital equipment that I have found to be handy is the fax machine. Fax machines transmit messages back and forth from one party to another. Fax machines are not as accessible as TVs or VCRs, but those that use them get the chance to interact with digital technology. I have found this type of digital equipment extremely useful when looking for a job. I have, in the past, faxed resumes to different employers who were looking for workers. I have also used them on many other occasions, but getting access to one is relatively difficult with out spending money to send copies. Another type of digital component that I interact with is my computer. I use it on a daily basis to type out assignments, e-mail, and to gather information off of the Internet. Also, being a student at Trent University, I have a student card which digitally allows me to take out books, eat, and get in and out of special events all by simply swiping it through a scanner. Digital pocket agendas have become quite common for students. I use one almost every time I use the phone. It contains several phone numbers, important dates, and many reminders that make organization much easier. There are many other digital components that I interact with, but I feel that the ones I have mentioned are the most prevalent in my life.

3.

Just as there are many forms of digital components that I interact with, there are many analog components as well. The most popular analog component that I use is the telephone. Some use fiberoptic lines, but I will refer to the older, more traditional phones. There are many reasons why I use the phone such as keeping in touch with family and friends, calling my boss at work, or ordering a pizza. In today's hi-tech environment, I can even call JoJo to find out what tomorrow will bring. For me, the telephone is the easiest way to get in touch with people. I find that it is much easier to express feelings over the phone for the simple fact that I do not have to be vis-à-vis with the person. Being face to face is sometimes much too personal, and I am far more interested in telling the boss that I cannot come into work without him having to see that I'm not actually sick. Therefore, it is clear that there are many reasons for using a telephone, and that these examples do not only apply to myself, but to many others who use a telephone.

Some feel that because we are in such a hi-tech world, they have to purchase the new high priced advancements. For example, buying a high quality digital watch. I think this to be very unnecessary. I own an old fashioned analog watch. The good old fashioned glow in the dark dial works best for me. I think it's just a status symbol to have the best watch, but then again, I've never seen a 24K gold digital watch. Also, when I am not listening to a CD, I still use cassette tapes. For me there is not much difference in the sound, but I can tell a difference when I want to cue (fast forward or rewind) a song. Obviously, CDs are the 'hip thing' of the 90's, but I find nothing is wrong with a cassette. There are many forms of music that I listen to that are not digital. Many people still have tape players in their vehicles, which goes to show that I am not the only person who still does not mind analog.

4.

When trying to figure out how far apart two phones are from each other, many forms of calculation come into play. It is easy to estimate that your phone is approximately thirty feet from your neighbors, but that is not very accurate, there are ways to measure the exact distance between two phones. When the police send out a signal that bounces off a moving object and then back to their radar gun, a computer program measures how long it took for the signal to come back and thus executes the calculations. A programmer could easily write a loop program that sends a signal to a far away computer (modem) and then wait for the signal to come back. This loop would allow the computer to figure out how long it took for the signal to reach it's destination, and come back, thus telling the person how far apart the two phones are from each other.

By looking at two phone numbers, one can tell by their dimensions how far apart they may be. For example, if two phones were being compared and one of the phone numbers was (519) 498-0872 and the other phone number was 011-356-7951, one might take a wild guess that these numbers are far from each other. Long distance calls, for some reason, seem to sound a little different than close connection calls. When one notices that the person on the other lines voice sounds faded or with static, they can guess that the call is coming from far away. One could get extremely technical and measure the resistance between two phones, but that is difficult for the average person to do. The easiest ways to tell how far apart two phones are is to estimate. People can estimate this by: voice quality, length of phone number, or by running a loop program.



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