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|Originally Published: Friday, 13 July 2001||Author: Kristina Pfaff-Harris|
|Published to: opinion_articles/opinion||Page: 1/1 - [Std View]|
Kristina in Space: Linux Ate My Brain
Friday in summer, for those of us in the western hemisphere, is always good for a lark. This Friday is no exception as we ask the indomitable Kristina Pfaff-Harris to talk about getting just a little too dependent on Linux and the Internet. Are you ready to define yourself as a cyborg? Do you really have any choice in the matter?
Then again, why should I? If someone asks about where they can find an ESL teacher certification course in Toronto, Ontario, a quick trip to Google will let me send them to the Toronto association of ESL teachers. If someone asks where he or she can find a Flash development environment for Linux, another quick search will almost certainly find something. If someone asks me to solve the quadratic equation x^2 + 2x + 1 = 0, I can bring up any number of quadratic equation solvers on the web. (x = -1 according to "Quadratic-O-Matic", for those of you who care.)
I guess it's not really Linux that ate my brain, but Linux boxes or big Linux arrays like my favorite: Google. Then again, there's also my Linux workstation at home where I have phone numbers and email addresses in little text files and MySQL databases so if I need to know something, I can just
grep for it. Then of course, there are all those other servers out there with little bits of code or old emails which I know I can still go and get. It's my brain -- all my knowledge just out there all over the place.
I guess I shouldn't worry about forgetting dates, ages, and so forth, since I can still run and search Google. The bad part is, Google seems to know more about me than I do. I didn't really think I was that far gone until just recently when I was searching through Google's collection of Usenet postings. I found a post I made to
rec.pets.cats back in 1996 about integrating our new puppy into the two-cat household. Until I saw that post, I couldn't have told you how old our dog is now! (He'll be five this June.) I was thinking that he was about three. My friends, this is just frightening, and in some odd way, pathetic.
I wouldn't ordinarily worry about this, but you know, people are starting to talk about the death of the Web. To be honest, I have lived most of my life without the Internet or any sort of computer whatsoever, and I've done just fine. But now I'm starting to think that I may be about to lose my mind. I mean, one lightning strike on Google.com and I'll be like Rush Limbaugh only worse -- more than half my brain tied behind my back.
This week, I tried to get my brain back. I decided that I would not answer a question that I didn't know. I resolved firmly that if someone asked me something I didn't immediately know, I would just say, "I don't know," and leave it at that.
This experiment lasted all of two hours. I mean, people have questions; I have answers! I can't give that up! I am my Mom's knowledgebase, for Pete's sake. How can I deprive Mom of that just because I'm feeling leery of having my brain somehow tied into the Web? Still, this can't be good. I mean, I know that Google has mega-backups, but still, I simply can't continue to depend on an outside company for something so important as my mind.
Therefore, I'd like to appeal to everyone now: If anyone has any multi-terabyte disk arrays lying around that you're not using, and some whopping backup batteries, please send them on in so I can cache Google's cache on my own workstation at home. Then, even if the Web dies, I can still continue answering all the questions people ask me, and convincing my Mom I'm brilliant.
Now, I'm off to find out how old my cats are.