Monday, 15 November 2010

Problems & Solutions: The Internet

The Internet. It's the communications medium we love to hate. From social networking illustrating just how vapid 80% of your mates' existences are, to giving morons a voice (cheers for that), all the way to MySpace giving bands a false sense of accomplishment, it's given us some classic ranting material. Today, E14 looks at ways of combatting the spread of Internet Stupidity, and making this portal a less soul-destroying place to be.

Problem: Junk Mail

We've all had those emails that instantly get blocked and deleted, or sent straight to the "Junk" folder. Half the time, though, the people affected by these emails the most are the ones who go "I'm pretty sure I've never met a Doctor in Nigeria, but if my email says so, then it has to be true. Plus he's offering me a ton of money to do very little work, which sounds like a plan with no drawbacks whatever the situation!"

There are all sorts of these sites all over the place, with some being genuinely hard to discern from the real thing, providing that you're not able to do things like, say, read the address bar. One of the hardest things to do in my job is to listen to Apple fanboys saying that there's no such thing as a Mac virus, and all I want to do after smashing the fanboy's face in is just to shout from the top of my lungs that if people weren't so fucking stupid, no malware would be able to do anything!

Solution: Make Junk E-Mail Legally Binding

Imagine the world in this situation. Do you imagine that you would ever receive an email offering you a ten percent share of a multi-million dollar bank transfer if they were legally obliged to actually pay the amount? Surely not, imagine how many emails they can get out in a day.

Sceptical? Alright. Every day 320,000,000 junk emails are sent worldwide. Straightaway you have an absolute ton of individuals who would be declared bankrupt within the hour if they actually had to follow through on their false promises.

If you like that, you'll love the cheap Viagra I can offer at only 10% of the market price!


Problem: Stupidity

As I've established above, I have an issue with some elements of societal intelligence, specifically the lack thereof. I don't blame people, per se: I think that the teaching methods have been shitty. For instance, I have a copy of a book entitled HTML 4 for Dummies (and the fact that I'm using a Blogger template should give you an idea of how much time I've devoted to learning it), and it's one of the most confusing books I've ever read within the space of about four pages! Remember when Mr Burns did a really complicated and elaborate dance to illustrate to Homer that a certain type of pitch was coming in The Simpsons? Sort of like that.

Relax, by the way, the video's coming. You didn't think I actually expected you to remember did you? Oh, you did...

Anyway, I think that people are allowed onto the Internet too easily. One of the things about the Internet is that it's billed as one of those things that's really easy to master as well as learn. Unfortunately, from my experience of forums, neither common sense nor spelling and grammar are apparently as easy to learn or master. In fact, the scary thing is that I suspect that the foreign users speaking English as best they can are actually not the ones that are pissing me off, it's the lazy native speakers what do it, and that makes me well sad!

Solution: Softly Softly Trainy Troll

Remember when you first learned to swim? You weren't just lobbed into the deep end and expected to cope, unless you had harsh parents or were victim of a particularly devious swimming pool where the deep end suddenly dropped a foot rather than a gradual incline, and the only way that you can process the humiliation you suffered is to write for an entertainment blog and hope that nobody picks up on the direct reference you make to your previous trauma. Scarily, all joking aside, though I've not thought of that incident for about five years, it was the first thing that ran through my head as I wrote the words 'deep end' for the first time. Could be worse, I guess, it could have been anal sex.

Anyway, instead of having people just jump onto the Internet without being ready to actually provide a positive experience for other people, there should be a sort of Training Internet. You wear your virtual water wings and all the time you have someone helping you along who interjects with things like "Well that's no good, it's a double negative" or "that was silly, you've got yourself involved in a theological debate over a Tears for Fears video". Essentially, it's like having Tech Support, but for your brain. And under no circumstances should any signals be used. Here it comes, boys and girls, the reward for your patience!


Problem: Anonymity

Too many people have it easy on forums. You can literally go anywhere and read a discussion, and you'll come away stupider for the experience. Every YouTube video turns into a religious debate or outright racism. All comments sections on news articles degrade all too quickly into slanging matches between twats. What's the ultimate cause, aside from an emotional IQ in the single digits? Anonymity.

Would you go up to a person reading the Bible on a bus and say "Excuse me, mate, I think you're the stupidest person breathing today; frankly, I'm amazed you can remember how"? Well, I know a couple of people who might consider it, but in their defence, they're pricks. You'd never consider doing that to a person on the bus, and the only reason is that as soon as you start, they can see your face and identify who you are and what type of person you are. Generally, if you're the kind of person who shouts at someone based on their reading habits, I can tell you what kind of person you are, and it ain't nice.

Solution: Remove Anonymity - with a twist
The first part is simple enough: We remove anonymity. Blizzard were threatening to do it in World of Warcraft, but pussied out at the last minute like a bunch of nancies. I mean, what is the worst that they could have expected in terms of backlash? Some ten year old kid taking a pop at them on a message board? Simple: They'd know who he was now, so they could just ban him. Or just have his in-game character chased by a man dancing around in a posing pouch. I guarantee Chris Pontius from Jackass would do the motion capture for free.

Anyway, this sort of leads into the second part of the exposure. Everyone would be legally obliged (perhaps in the form of an e-mail) to pose with the happiest face they could put on possible, where the team at The Internet would photoshop it onto the creepiest looking image possible.

Example:

Problem fucking solved.


LETHAL WEAPON GIVEAWAY!

Oscar-nominated Lethal Weapon explodes on to Blu-ray on 15th November in an action-packed line-up featuring all four films for the first time ever. To celebrate the release we’ve two sets of The Lethal Weapon Collection on Blu-ray up for grabs for two lucky winners.

Starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and directed by the dynamic Richard Donner, the genre-defining franchise was a phenomenal success with each instalment achieving a greater box office success than the last. Today, the series still packs a punch and the new box set is sure to hit the spot for movie-lovers of any generation, with all four explosive films available on razor sharp Blu-ray for the first time, as well as an incredible range of extra content to give even the most devoted fans something they’ve never seen before.

For a chance to win The Lethal Weapon Collection on Blu-ray, answer this simple question:

Lethal Weapon was first released in which year?
a. 1987
b. 1977
c. 1997

Send your answer to lethalweapongiveaway@yahoo.co.uk before midday on Monday 22nd November. The first two names pulled out of the electonic hat after this time will win a copy each!


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