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Bump on a Stump Internet Life and Times
with Jeff Clark, half (wit) of Internet Brothers
Volume 1, Issue 1 — late February 2000

     A recent survey conducted by the Stanford Institute of Quantitative Study of Society concluded that "Internet time is coming out of time viewing television but also at the expense of time people spend on the phone gabbing with family and friends, or having a conversation with people in the room with them." Brilliant. As you follow the world-class Olympic athletes competing in Sydney, Australia this summer, ask them if their training interfered with socializing. How much time do you think the space shuttle astronauts who repaired the Hubble telescope spent watching TV?

     Ask yourself what affect your Net usage is having on activities you used to enjoy. I'll help you get started by telling on myself. It is fair to say I'm addicted to the Internet. OK, are you satisfied? I said it. I am powerless over the Internet, and my life has become unmanageable.

     Television really does suck these days, but when did that start? Hmmm. Suddenly golf and camping and day-trips have become too expensive. No, actually they've become too time consuming. I had a second phone line installed at home dedicated to the modem. Now I wish I still only had one, so the dang voice line would QUIT RINGING! I have longer conversations via email with people I've never met than I do on the job with folks I've known for 25 years.

     You know, maybe there's something to that sociology study after all. The Internet certainly has changed my life. Let's try to decide if that's good or bad. Scorecards ready? I used to spend an hour every day reading my local newspaper, and close to another hour watching television news. Now I get a daily digest of the topics that interest me in a matter of minutes through my personally configured Web news portal. Add one point.

     Every other day my wife says I don't love her anymore. Would I rather be debugging that tricky CSS browser compatibility problem or having a meaningful conversation about the grout in the bathroom? Should I finish that digital photo edit I've been working on for four days, or give her that "just hold me" lovin' that women seem to need? Well, maybe she makes a case. Better subtract one point.

     Did you know that "If the head of a cockroach is removed carefully, so as to prevent it from bleeding to death, the cockroach can survive for several weeks? When it dies, it is from starvation." I didn't, until I found the Useless Knowledge web site. Definitely a point for the Internet.

     Talk about annoying. Lately every time it rains around here my back porch floods. Oh, you mean it's because I haven't cleaned out the gutters in over a year? Well, I can only do one thing at a time. Yeah, but why is that one thing always the Internet? Oops, please excuse me while I scee-daddle out back, and take away a point while I'm at it.

     I am supplementing the income from my day job through all the fabulous things I'm doing on the Internet. I've made $400 in site design commissions the past two years. Just in the last three months I've received affiliate checks for $105, $28.30, $17.80, and that one I've been working on for fifteen months that finally pays out at $25 is only a few weeks away. Can't beat that with a stick.

     Maybe I better look closer into this one. Let's see, $215/year web hosting fee, $19.95/month ISP charges, $800+ on graphics design software I'm still no good at. Gee, I'm not even covering my expenses am I? But the potential's out there. Yep, that's what I'll keep telling the bill collectors. You just wait. I'm going to hit the big one any day now.

     Well, that's me. How did you score? Now that we've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the positive influence of the Internet on our lives, we can move on to shared experiences of times in the technological fast-lane. They don't call it the cyber highway for nothing. I hope you'll join me again as I talk regularly about Life and Times on the Internet. I'll be back as soon as I move my desk out of the corner, and right beside my bed, so I can save time checking email when I get a nature call at 3AM.


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