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Living in a World of Technical Innovation, Be Happy, Be Aware of the Risks.

By Hakamike @hakamike
Some thoughts about technology and the way it has enhanced our lives: How technology has grown, It's usefulness and the associated risks.
Living in a World of Technical Innovation, be Happy, be Aware of the Risks.
For all of us, there is little doubt that computers have enhanced our lives. The ability to jump online and do a google search on any topic that interests us has been useful to say the least. The internet has opened up the world to so many of us and the possibilities are nearly endless. The only real limitation now is our imagination.
I know for myself, I would not have been able to start writing without the tools the internet has freely given me. I would not have online friends in over 20 foreign countries and my point of view would be far narrower without computer technology. Facebook, although becoming invasive and controlling lately, has smashed down the barriers of distance, language and nationality and without it and online forums, interactive websites and voip technology there is no way I could keep up the level of contact I have with my extensive family and friends network.
I have ridden the wave from the outset. I first got into computers at the age of 16. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81 which was basically a 1/2 size keyboard with a cassette tape drive and ran BASIC as an operating system. It had no monitor, the output had to be jacked into the TV for visual display. I would write my own code and back it up to cassette tape in order to do things. This little machine let me play my home grown versions of asteriods and moon lander in all their line rendered glory at home and saved me money I would have fed into arcade machines otherwise.
Living in a World of Technical Innovation, be Happy, be Aware of the Risks.    I learned early about the rapid pace of development in computer technology. The Sinclair was replaced by an Amstrad, which in turn was replaced by my first "real" PC a 286 IBM with two 5 1/4" floppy disk drives. This machine was my first to get connected online. The internet didn't exist back then beyond military and university uses. I used a 1200 baud modem to connect to BBS sites. Bulletin Board Systems were incredible openings into a world of (mostly useless) information. I was hooked!
The 286 was replaced by a 386 these early machines ran DOS, then a 486 which ran windows 3.0 my first windows machine. My first Pentium machine was also the first connection via dial up to the internet. I was online with a vast community of nearly 2 million users! I had my first system failures due to computer virus activity that same year, it was 1994. The internet has of course grown a little since then. The figures released in March 2011 have pegged 2.0195 Billion users online now, that's around 30% of the population of the planet.
Our home is very connected now, running a high speed broadband connection wirelessly serving two very high spec desktops and a 2nd gen i5 Toshiba laptop as well as a Nexus S google smartphone running the latest Android system. My 12 year old son is completely computer literate and I am still pushing the boundaries of available technology every day. I have dealt with over 200 varieties of computer virus, trojan and worm attacks and our systems are seriously secured with firewalls, software and hardware gates.
Living in a World of Technical Innovation, be Happy, be Aware of the Risks.
I have seen, personally dealt with or read about every hack, scam , rort, conjob, and bullshit business opportunity there has ever been online. They never ever stop. Every day new people get online who think that they can selfishly use this technology for personal gain while they safely hide behind their keyboards. Facebook is a breeding ground for these amateur con artists and sadly it is also the first point of contact for so many of my extended family. 
A word of advice for those who care to listen: Never trust anyone online. Never click on email attachments. Never let third party software, applications or executable (.exe ) code run on your machine without sussing it out thoroughly first. Never stick a flash drive into your network and copy files without scanning them first. Assume from the outset that anything from outside your system is already compromised. Act accordingly.
Enough doom and gloom, In general your online experience will be full of fun, learning and exploring the infinite possibilities of this technology bounded only by our collective imaginations. The whole world is at your fingertips, literally, and there is no conceivable limit to what you can create, achieve, see or do here!
As a parting shot for this little article I'll leave you with this:
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, 'If Ford had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.'
In response to Bill's comments, Ford issued a press release stating:
If Ford had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash.........Twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single 'This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation' warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask 'Are you sure?' before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the 'Start' button to turn the engine off.
P.S. - I'd like to add that when all else fails, you could call "customer service" in some foreign country, most likely India, and be instructed on how to fix your car, yourself!

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