Archive for the ‘Internet relay chat’ Category

Literacy!

February 27, 2015

Stop right there.  Think about what you’re doing when you come here.  Why did you come here?  It wasn’t for pictures was it?  Well you didn’t come here for anything other than that.  It’s obvious.  You came here to read what words I may post.  You do this everywhere you go.  Not just here or online.  You read everywhere.  Signs, books, newspapers, even text on your phone.  But have you ever thought of just how literate you or anyone else is.

Dictionary.com gives three separate meanings for literacy.  They are as follows:

1.     The quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.

2.     Possession of education.

3.     A person’s knowledge of a particular subject or field.

Let me go one step further here.  Without the first you will NEVER have the latter two.  If one can not read nor write as I’ve shown you here then one does not have even the barest of education nor do they have knowledge of a specific field or subject (well in some cases this can be learned without reading in the case of on the job training).  Both skills are taught in school or at home.  In the case of the later, we usually learn that in school.  In the case of the prior, we should ALL know how to read at least by no later than four years of age.

Reading is by far the most important part of literacy.  If you can’t or won’t read then you’re missing out on an entirely different world view and distort your own perceptions of the world.  We as adults should foster the need for reading and literacy in children when they are of the most impressionable years of age (usually from three to twelve and I’m just guessing on the high end).  Even if you can’t read yourself seek help learning.  You’ll be glad you did.

I did some interesting research prior to writing this.  I’ll give two particular sites here for information:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/

http://world.bymap.org/LiteracyRates.html

The first site gives a pretty appalling report of literacy in the United States alone (as of 2013).  The second is a map that shows the literacy of the world.  Overall, our world looks good for reading and writing.  Now take into account the levels at which you, your children, and myself read at.  Today’s children can read no better and in many places worse than those that grew up when I was a child.  The best most people can read at is a 6th grade level and often times there are places where people can’t even do that.

There are things we can do to stop this backwards slide of illiteracy.  Parents must spend more time reading to their children till they are of an age to understand symbols (a.k.a. the alphabet) so they might be able to read on their own.  If this can’t or doesn’t happen, then perhaps the grandparents could assist.  I personally know one grandmother who has all her grand kids reading alone by three.  I’ve met some of her grand kids.  They are very bright indeed.

Alas, corporations as well as government attempts to dumb down our society in order for them to better control your lives (it’s part of a POWER play).  Even the newspapers (corporate owned) only print to a sixth grade level and some even print articles at a fourth grade level.  It’s no wonder people are not learning nor are they capable of learning if you’re reading comprehension is at that level.  It follows that your quality of life will suffer as well.  It’s also no wonder that companies are either outsourcing or screaming bloody murder about the lack of education in new employees.  We must do better than this.

As a child, I for one spent more time with books than most kids my age.  By the time I was twelve I read at a college junior’s level.  Funny thing was I was understanding those books as well.  If I were reading a book you would find a dictionary nearby in order for me to find out something about a word that puzzled me.  Even now that I’ve aged, I still read pretty heavily.  A lot of life’s lessons can be found through reading.  I’ve read from fantasy, science fiction, biography, as well as technical manuals to self help books (transcendental meditation).

Reading has a vast affect on society as well.  Those less learned than even myself find themselves out of touch or just plain ignored by the more learned.  The bad thing is people who are learned should instead of turning away and ignoring the issue should be less rude and more pro-active in helping those that can’t read.  We (due to the fact we can’t read) are sliding down a slope we need NOT be on to begin with.

The philosophy here is to spend more time reading and less time on the television (boob tube is the aptly given name for it because of the low quality of it’s educational purpose).  Spend that time researching the web or with a good book for an escape.  You’ll be better off for it and may just develop into a good human being instead of devolving.

Communication!

May 4, 2012

It seems the more forms of communication we have the less we actually talk to each other.  First it was the postal mail system.  Then it was the telephone.  Now with the advent of the Internet we have more forms of communication than ever before.

There’s email, instant messaging, Internet Relay Chat, Twitter, Facebook and even more.  Of these forms of communication there only a few where people actually talk to each other or in groups.  I can actually narrow it down to just one form.  The others don’t count as you’re only talking to selected individuals.

My thoughts on so called social networking are this.  First off there is no such a thing as a true Internet born social network as Facebook, My Space, and Google+ calls themselves.  These places only let you surround yourselves with like minded people.  They offer few if any tools to communicate even with individuals that don’t share your point of view.

The only form of true social networking on the Internet is Internet Relay Chat.  That’s right.  It was developed even before what today is called social networks as a way for people to communicate faster (via online) about ideas they wanted to share with others even in the development days of the Internet under DARPA.  Today it still exists in many different networks though not what it once was.  There are a lot of themed networks.  The oldest is said to be EFNet which I won’t dispute.  A couple of themed networks come to mind.  The biggest themed network is Freenode.net.  Freenode is probably what has become the original software/hardware network on the Internet today.  If you have questions about operating systems, hardware, or even various software packages like Adobe Illustrator for one, Freenode is the place to go for answers before you go to a forum or other discussion group.  Often times you’ll find the help you need here almost immediately.

If asked if I’ve used various social networking before, I’d admit to trying Facebook and LinkedIn.  Never tried Google+, Twitter, or some of the other rarer forms of communication.  I’ve even used instant messaging and I’ve had Skype on the computer before.  Never got the chance to use it however (Skype).  In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer I guess.  Myself, I still prefer Internet Relay Chat over all forms of social networking.  It’s fast paced (in busy rooms), gives you the advantage of being able to talk with people around the world almost instantaneously, as well as talking to people with different points of view in the same place.  It can also be quite addictive if there is such a thing.

Anyway, go out and find yourself a conversation on Internet Relay Chat.  All you need is chat client software or you can use a couple of web based chat clients.  There are several clients for all platforms.  The biggest for Microsoft Windows arguably is mIRC.  In Linux you’ll find a vast array of different clients.  The same I believe is true for Mac OS X as it’s very similar to Linux.  Don’t let corporations like Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn use your personal data to SPAM you with or make money from.  And believe me they are doing just that.  Though not as bad as the United States government, they are making money from you.  Internet Relay Chat has it’s share of spammers but it’s well metered.  Not only that, but you won’t have your personal information exposed to anyone you don’t want it exposed to.  Enough said.