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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: A return to cyberspace

  • Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley needs a faster "roccket" for cyberspace.
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  • When the United States’ manned space program was going gangbusters, I don’t ever recall hearing one of the astronauts climb out of a capsule or space shuttle and exclaim, “Wow, what a ride! Strap me in and let’s go again!” Obviously because some astronauts made more than one trip into space, something about the experience must have been appealing.
    Unlike the select few who have had the opportunity to go into outer space, scores of souls regularly venture into “cyberspace.” By definition cyberspace is "the national environment in which communication over computer networks occurs."
    Unlike the millions upon millions of dollars it costs to send just one person safely into outer space, by comparison it’s downright cheap to reach cyberspace. For a few hundred dollars one can purchase the hardware and software necessary to do the trick. And whether you “rocket” through cyberspace, or simply plod along, it comes down to how much of a capital investment one is willing to make.
    Cyberspace, like outer space, is full of wonders. As amazing as it was for the crew of Apollo 8 to view earthrise for the first time while orbiting the moon on Dec. 24, 1968, in cyberspace it’s now possible to see the photos that crew of astronauts took that day, plus hear the amazement in their voices at seeing a sight no human before them ever had.
    Cyberspace and outer space both hold their own unique risks, too. Just as a small bit of space debris can put a crew of astronauts at risk, it doesn’t take dishing out much personal information in cyberspace before a family’s financial future is in jeopardy.
    Recognizing the potential benefits and risks of being in cyberspace, a few years ago my wife, Nancy, and I decided to connect our home computer to the internet.
    Out teen-age daughter, Anna, was delighted at being able to use cyberspace to connect with family and friends, and to download her favorite tunes. It also proved handy when it came time to do academic work, although I’m confident in saying that wasn’t one of her upmost priorities.
    For me, a connection to cyberspace meant more access to Cardinals and Rams news. No longer did I have to wait for “Local on the 8s” to catch a glimpse of radar, helping me decide whether or not to grab my cameras and venture out on a dark and stormy night. It also has allowed me to e-mail my weekly columns down to work, instead of having to carry them on a data stick, as I did for years.
    Initially, I don’t think my bride saw cyberspace offering many potential benefits to her. Now, however, she regularly uses it as a research tool, whether it be to find out something about a product, or to learn how to fix a clothes dryer or re-ignite a furnace’s pilot light.
    Page 2 of 2 - Recently, however, a broken internet router meant our connection to cyberspace was severed. The most alarmed by our loss of connectivity was Anna. But rather than fussing at her mother to do something about the problem, Anna took the bull by the horns and called Charter and AT&T to find out what options we had.
    When Nancy advised our daughter that we might wait until this fall, when the school year started, to re-connect to cyberspace, Anna’s eyes reportedly became saucer-like. Even after being told it would be just a few days, rather than months, before our internet service was restored, Anna apparently couldn’t wait. She went out and purchased herself a “track” phone, which gave her an immediate texting option.
    When the service man came to our home to install our new router, he told Nancy it would provide us with faster internet service. However, upon seeing our old computer, he revised his prediction.
    “Your daughter’s new computer should run much faster,” he said.
    Sounds like I’ll need to invest in a faster “rocket” if I want to explore cyberspace any quicker.
     
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