TECHNOLOGY 6 Comments »

This blog post is outside my normal topic niche.  Instead I’m offering a public service to my comrades who reside the sorry state of Illinois; perhaps the worst managed state in the United States.  Our governor Pat Quinn is clearly the worst governor in the United States.  Our neighboring state of Wisconsin is trying to recall governor Scott Walker.  I’d trade Mr. Walker for Mr. Quinn in a heartbeat.

Pat Quinn approved doubling the Illinois Tollway fees during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.  Everybody I know who drives the Illinois Tollway is looking for a way to avoid the Tollway.  I’ve noticed half the cars are gone from the tollway.  People are rapidly finding other avenues.  The nice thing about a toll way tax hike is it’s voluntary.  We can avoid it.  Let’s do it!

Here is a great way to avoid the Illinois Tollway fee increase:

1.  Go to Google Maps:

2.  Click “Get Directions” and put in your start and end addresses.

3.  Here is the trick to saving HUNDREDS of dollars in unnecessary tollway fees: Click “ Show Options” under final destination but above the “Get Directions” button.

4.  Then click the “Avoid Tolls” with your directions.  Suddenly you’ll get a map that shows an alterative route that avoids the tollways.

If you have a GPS, it should have something similar, an option to “avoid tollways”.  Let us all make a resolution to avoid using the Illinois tollways if at all possible.  I will be doing that starting Monday.  Screw the Illinois Tollway!

Ghosts of the Internet

TECHNOLOGY 5 Comments »

The Internet is filled with ghosts.  There are graveyards on the Internet not unlike what we have in physical life:  abandoned blogs, discontinued websites, dead links.  Mostly these sites are abandoned out of disinterest.  However, sometimes the individual has died.  What happens to a blog after the blogger dies?  A paid hosting service will deactivate an account when payment eventually ceases.  What about free services?  There the voices of the dead may linger a very long time.  Some blogging services may deactivate an account after a period of no activity.  Other blogs may last as long as the blogging service exists.  If family members don’t know the password, they may be unable to update it and let people know.  A ghost blog may linger frozen in time as a testament to an individual’s life.  Could it last for centuries?

Even ghosts eventually fade away.  How long will any blogging service remain in the blogging business?  Sometimes a major Internet presence completely abandons their product.  This happened when Yahoo dropped Geocities.  Geocities was once one of the major sites in the world.  Who could imagine a decade afterward Yahoo would choose to shut it down?  Every thought, emotion or idea expressed on Geocities vanished overnight.  Like life, information is not immortal.

Could this happen to Facebook one day?  Will Facebook cease to exist after singularity eventually arrives? Singularity represents the moment when true artificial intelligence becomes reality.  I doubt Facebook will be any different then Geocities when the latest technology renders it obsolete.  Except with Facebook, this would be far more serious.  Geocities was an ant compared to Facebook.  Yet, tomorrow’s artificial intelligence will render both Google and Facebook irrelevant.  Hopefully human history, as expressed on the Internet, will have their “ghost” saved on a server somewhere.

An emerging Internet ghost is Yahoo’s Groups.  What, you may ask, exactly is a Yahoo Group?  Never heard of it?  I doubt many people have.  Yahoo Groups is an Internet-Ghost-In-Process…abandoned and forlorn, not unlike a desolate, unkempt cemetery.  It is filled with dead Groups.

I was once active in Yahoo Groups back in my ghost hunting days.  Until Yahoo ruined Groups trying to make it profitable with annoying adds that truly disrupted the experience.  So I left participating in their Groups.  My own contributions are now phantoms.  However, I’m still a member of a few Groups including this one:


This was once a happening Chicago based ghost-hunting Group and it still has activity going on.  Most Yahoo Groups are barely alive, but a few still breath against the odds.  I suspect Yahoo will get rid of Groups one day, and it will join the realm of the Internet dead.