Cyberspace in Perspective

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      If a survey were being done on how people experience cyberspace,
one would immediately notice that no two answers would be the same.
Experiencing cyberspace is something that is different for every
individual. I myself experience cyberspace psychologically, I experience
it in my mind. There have been many attempts at trying to define the
abstruse term, but up to date, no one has pinned the tail on the donkey.
There cannot be one solid definition for a word that possesses so many
meanings. I personally associate the word cyberspace with the idea of
being able to travel to distant places without ever leaving my chair.
Obviously, I know that there is no possible way of visiting different
places or countries via my home computer, but in my mind, when I see the
location that I am connected to, it feel as though a part of me is there.
The best part is that I can switch from scenario to scenario without
having to travel any ground. I do not feel a sense of distance or
location, except when it takes a prolonged amount of time to connect to a
host. When I travel from place to place (site to site), I do not cover
any known physical distances, but instead I cover visual distance.
Just as many people do, I refer to the places that I visit as virtual
worlds. I like calling them this because I never actually get to see
the reality of the "world". I only get to see it electronically and
digitally. The feeling that I experience while in cyberspace is knowing
that I possess the power to visit any where I want. When I click one of
the buttons on the mouse, or what I refer to as a transporter, I feel as
though all the power in the world rests at the end of my fingertips. I
am in my own sort of fantasy land. Once I land in a desired location, or
website, I have the opportunity to click on pictures and words that take
me to new worlds. These pictures and words have the power to make my
virtual tour even more pleasing by introducing me to new and exciting
things. People have referred to experiences in cyberspace, experiences
such as mine, as a basic extension of the mind. I definitely agree with
this statement. I believe that it takes imagination and creativity to
experience all of the things that cyberspace has to offer. With all the
colors, strange text and mind-boggling graphics, cyberspace is something
that everyone must experience on their own. No two people experience it
in the same way and it takes practice to learn different ways of
experiencing all that it has to offer. I guess everyone must find their
own little 'cyber-niche'.

      In today's technological oriented society, it is difficult for one
to go about their daily lives without interacting in some form or another
with digital components. Communication is the perfect example of how
people interact with digital technology. Talking to loved ones who live
on the other side of the globe, faxing a friend, or simply calling in
sick to work, are all forms of communication, but these examples are
taken for granted.
A popular form of digital communication, whether people realize it or
not, is the cellular phone. Cellular phones have become very popular
toys over the past few years and they are 100% digital. For people who
are constantly on the go, the "Cell Phone" is a convenient digital
advancement. I find the cellular phone to be of much help in the
stickier situations; like when I am being forced to change a flat tire in
-20o weather, when there's heavy traffic, when I want to find a quicker
route to where I'm going, or when I get lost in an unfamiliar region.
They are relatively expensive to use, but in most cases, I would say
that they are well worth their price. I don't have five hour
conversations using them, but I can let people know what I want to tell
them in a short amount of time, which I find extremely handy. Before the
ease of world-wide portable phones, there was a different breed of
digital communication devices: beepers. Beepers, or pagers as they are
commonly called, go hand in hand with cell phones. If a person does not
own a cellular phone, a pager is a great alternative. It is a piece of
digital equipment that allows the carrier to be notified when someone is
trying to get in touch with them. I find that pagers are better in the
sense that they cost less than cell phones do. I was given a pager years
ago, and I still use the same one today. It's much easier to answer a
pager than a cell phone when I am driving. Even though they are not as
great of a communication tool as a cellular phone, I would probably never
give mine up. I also communicate with the pager because I read it's LCD
display when I am interested in finding out who is disturbing me.
Still on topic of communication, I cannot forget to mention television.
It is a huge form of communication today, more so than ever before.
Although televisions have changed dramatically in a short amount of time,
TVs communicate several different messages. Everyone watches television
at some point in time, and when they do, they are most likely interacting
with a digital TV. I watch television for relaxation, or to keep up to
date on world events. By simply changing the channels, or more complex
things such as programming channels/time/date, I am interacting with the
television. Television is visually pleasing. My concentration becomes
affixed to the point that I have no idea, or very little idea, as to what
is going on around me.
VCRs go hand in hand with the television. As I do with the TV, I have to
give the VCR commands as well. Whether I tell it to PLAY, STOP or
REWIND, I am interacting with it. As with the television, I am fixating
all of my attention to what it is showing, or playing.
Going back to raw communication, a real piece of digital equipment that I
have found to be handy is the fax machine. Fax machines transmit messages
back and forth from one party to another. Fax machines are not as
accessible as TVs or VCRs, but those that use them get the chance to
interact with digital technology. I have found this type of digital
equipment extremely useful when looking for a job. I have, in the past,
faxed resumes to different employers who were looking for workers. I
have also used them on many other occasions, but getting access to one is
relatively difficult with out spending money to send copies. Another
type of digital component that I interact with is my computer. I use it
on a daily basis to type out assignments, e-mail, and to gather
information off of the Internet. Also, being a student at Trent
University, I have a student card which digitally allows me to take out
books, eat, and get in and out of special events all by simply swiping it
through a scanner. Digital pocket agendas have become quite common for
students. I use one almost every time I use the phone. It contains
several phone numbers, important dates, and many reminders that make
organization much easier. There are many other digital components that I
interact with, but I feel that the ones I have mentioned are the most
prevalent in my life.
      Just as there are many forms of digital components that I interact
with, there are many analog components as well. The most popular analog
component that I use is the telephone. Some use fiberoptic lines, but I
will refer to the older, more traditional phones.   There are many
reasons why I use the phone such as keeping in touch with family and
friends, calling my boss at work, or ordering a pizza. In today's hi-
tech environment, I can even call JoJo to find out what tomorrow will
bring. For me, the telephone is the easiest way to get in touch with
people. I find that it is much easier to express feelings over the phone
for the simple fact that I do not have to be vis-à-vis with the person.
Being face to face is sometimes much too personal, and I am far more
interested in telling the boss that I cannot come into work without him
having to see that I'm not actually sick. Therefore, it is clear that
there are many reasons for using a telephone, and that these examples do
not only apply to myself, but to many others who use a telephone.
Some feel that because we are in such a hi-tech world, they have to
purchase the new high priced advancements. For example, buying a high
quality digital watch. I think this to be very unnecessary. I own an
old fashioned analog watch. The good old fashioned glow in the dark dial
works best for me. I think it's just a status symbol to have the best
watch, but then again, I've never seen a 24K gold digital watch. Also,
when I am not listening to a CD, I still use cassette tapes. For me
there is not much difference in the sound, but I can tell a difference
when I want to cue (fast forward or rewind) a song. Obviously, CDs are
the 'hip thing' of the 90's, but I find nothing is wrong with a cassette.
There are many forms of music that I listen to that are not digital.
Many people still have tape players in their vehicles, which goes to show
that I am not the only person who still does not mind analog.


      When trying to figure out how far apart two phones are from each
other, many forms of calculation come into play. It is easy to estimate
that your phone is approximately thirty feet from your neighbors, but
that is not very accurate, there are ways to measure the exact distance
between two phones. When the police send out a signal that bounces off a
moving object and then back to their radar gun, a computer program
measures how long it took for the signal to come back and thus executes
the calculations. A programmer could easily write a loop program that
sends a signal to a far away computer (modem) and then wait for the
signal to come back. This loop would allow the computer to figure out
how long it took for the signal to reach it's destination, and come back,
thus telling the person how far apart the two phones are from each other.
By looking at two phone numbers, one can tell by their dimensions how far
apart they may be. For example, if two phones were being compared and
one of the phone numbers was (519) 498-0872 and the other phone number
was 011-356-7951, one might take a wild guess that these numbers are far
from each other. Long distance calls, for some reason, seem to sound a
little different than close connection calls. When one notices that the
person on the other lines voice sounds faded or with static, they can
guess that the call is coming from far away. One could get extremely
technical and measure the resistance between two phones, but that is
difficult for the average person to do. The easiest ways to tell how far
apart two phones are is to estimate. People can estimate this by: voice
quality, length of phone number, or by running a loop program.