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Lost in Cyberspace

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by Kass Johns (November 1995, for WWWiz Magazine )

Have you ever noticed how quickly you become lost in cyberspace? Through the beauty of hyperlinking, we end up who-knows-where in a very short amount of time! I find myself bookmarking almost everything to remember the return path. Bookmarking has become the bread trail of the 90s!

Hansel Hypertext & Gretal Gif are happily playing around at Grannie's (on her Pentium desktop machine with 28.8 baud access!), looking at a fishcam on the web. They set off on a trail of links that takes them to an online info service about an aquarium, then to a site about animals. That may lead them to a site dedicated to the mating habits of the black rhino! Now we see them at a link with information on how ground rhino horn powder is an aphrodisiac in some Asian countries.

But wait, from there they link to China, which, in turn, takes them to Mongolia. Here they learn about Ghengis Kahn and the Great Wall! A link from there takes them to other monuments and the Pyramids of Egypt. A link to hieroglyphics takes them to a page about papyrus. Before you know it, they have learned to make paper from papyrus. (I used to grow papyrus in my house a few years back. I was gonna be the first kid on my block to grow my own paper!)

The papyrus making leads to water plants and lotus plants. Which then lead to water ponds and koi fish. Before you know it, they have returned to the fishcam! Wow! A trip around the world--the long way! But, how did they get that information about The Great Wall again? Oh please, don't make us go back the long way... We forgot to bookmark our way! Arggghhh!

Yes, it really is amazing how you can start one place and hit so many seemingly unrelated places. Yet, they are all connected in the great 'web' of life! [With apologies to The Lion King!]

But, how many times have you been lost 'out there'? I know I have! I got my original bookmark to the (seemingly now defunct) Monty Python Page, but I have no idea how I got there! I tried to find it for a friend one day on his system and couldn't remotely figure out how I had done it! Sometimes I feel so lost, I await a rescue to 'back me out' of the black hole of links I have found myself spiraling through.

"911. What is your emergency?"
"Help, I've linked and I can't get back!"
"Where are you linked to right now?"
"Uhh, looks like http://www.timbuktu.edu/~nether/obscure/void.html. Help me!"
"OK, calm down, we'll try to talk you out of there until help arrives..."

Am I the only one who sometimes feel like I am in so deep, I can't come back?! I remember when I first learned the Macintosh. I was actually dreaming in Finder/the Desktop. I couldn't wake up in the morning because I couldn't find the right pull-down menu!

Now, I am beginning to feel like I am locked in a cyber-vacuum and the gravitational force is too strong to pull out of! Aaaeeeeiii, I'm going down... Nose dive, nose dive... pull up, pull up! Like an old WWII movie (no, that isn't the precursor to the WWW! [rolling eyes!]), I see myself pulling out of the dive just in time! I sometimes think I actually hear a suction pop as I jerk back in my chair while pulling out! [ggg]

Sitting around at the local virtual cantina... "Yep, I thought I was a goner. I was spinning out of control. But then I got an e-mail beep and I pulled out just in time. It was a close one! That message from Mom was my salvation!"

Of course, at least we don't ever have to worry about going in too fast! Like the baud rates will ever be too fast! "I can't 'old 'er cap'n. I've given 'er everythin' we got. She's outta control!" Nah, the web is a slow pull... an addictive pull. Mesmerizing, that slow pull in "computer time" (you remember computer time... "just a few minutes..." is really several hours!), it just sorta sucks you in. "Yeth mathster..."

Can your neighbors tell? Are you pale and pathetic or tan and healthy? At least I PowerBook surf on the patio so I get some sun! It's just that dragging that phone cable behind me limits my range outside! [g]

A friend rode his bike past my place a few weeks ago. I was sitting on my front patio at 11 pm with patio accent lights and bug torches ablaze (anyone got a roast pig--let's luau!). I was web surfing on my chaise lounge (face lit up by the soft glow of my active matrix display). "What are you doin'?" he cried out. "Webbing!" I replied. "Really? Outside?" "Sure, why not, it's much cooler out here." If I am going to lose it in Cyberspace, I can't think of a nicer way... surfing at 6000 feet above sea level, under the cool summer sky full of stars, by the light of my tiki torches... someone, please pass the daiquiris!

© Copyright 1996-2001 by Kass Johns, all rights reserved world wide.
The opinions and recommendations stated here are solely those of the author and are not the responsibility of anyone else. This is an independent publication not affiliated or otherwise associated with, sponsored by, or sanctioned by any vendor. We state here that we have used trademark names in this publication for editorial purposes only, with no intent to infringe on those trademarks. Permission is granted to copy this document for personal use only for *non-commercial* purposes, in electronic or printed form, provided that this copyright notice is not removed. This work may not be used on another Web site or online service, sold for profit, included within commercial works, or altered or changed in any way without the express written permission of the author.



© Copyright 1996-2001 v.7.5.00
Kass Johns
Technical Writer & Consultant to the Publishing & Telecommunications Industries
Colorado Springs, CO • www.kassj.com • 719/635-1306 (vc)
kass at kassj dot com

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