Net Addict

Joe Lavin's Humor Column

From Computoredge

Net Addict

June 16, 2000


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I suppose there's no doubt about it. I'm just a computer geek. It's not so much that I'm obsessed with computers. After all, I don't even know how to do any programming beyond simple HTML. I certainly don't know how to take apart my computer, and I would know even less about putting it back together again. Nevertheless, I'm still a geek. How could I not be when I rely on my computer and my cable modem so very much?

To be honest, I'm not sure how I survived before I signed up for a cable modem, never mind before I owned a computer. Last year, I didn't even want to move to a nearby town primarily because that town didn't have high speed Internet access. How sad is that? Wait. Don't answer that. I don't want to know.

Like many, I love e-mail and the web. But how about this? I haven't listened regularly to a local radio station for over two years. Instead, I use Real Player to listen online to KCRW, a wonderfully eclectic radio station from Los Angeles. In fact, I'm listening to it right now, even though I live in New England, about as far from their radio tower as one can get and still stay inside the country. KCRW is a public radio station, and I've donated money to them for the past three years. I must have been one of the first ever NPR supporters to live 3,000 miles away from the station he supported. When I had to give my address to one of the pledge drive volunteers, she practically fainted.

You want another example? Well, I'm an avid Boston Red Sox fan, but seldom will you find me in front of the television for a game. Instead, I'm usually at my computer with an ESPN.com applet showing me all the details of the game. This way, I can easily work at my computer, while checking the game status every few minutes (or seconds). I can keep track of everything from balls and strikes to up-to-the-minute batting averages. Somehow, I have found a way to satisfy two addictions (baseball and computers) simultaneously, when in the past I would have only been able to satisfy one. Talk about progress.

Of course, I didn't always feel this way. A few years ago, the idea of e-commerce made no sense to me at all. When my father, a stockbroker, asked me what I thought about Amazon.com, I merely shrugged. "Why would anyone want to buy a book online when they can just go to the bookstore?" I asked. Thankfully, he didn't listen to me, as the stock is now worth about ten times as much money.

Meanwhile, I now love Amazon and all the other e-tailers (not to be confused with e-tailors who can no doubt do all your tailoring online.) Sure, I could just walk down the street to some store, but more often than not I find myself logging on. I especially love using the net to buy gifts for out-of-town friends. In the past, my gift giving would be a two-step process.

1. Buy the gift.

2. Mail the damn thing.

And often, there would be a perilously long delay (weeks, sometimes months) between the two. Now, I just tell Whatever Dot Com to send the gift immediately to my friend with a personalized message like, "Imagine! A gift from me on time! Love Joe."

Luckily, with the Internet, there are no closing times and no boundaries either. Last Christmas, when I forgot to buy a gift for my friend in England until the last minute, I simply surfed over to Amazon.co.uk and bought her a book and a CD in pounds. They arrived on time, and I even saved on the shipping fee I would have had to pay to mail the presents from the U.S. to London. And why order an import CD when you can go online and order it directly from an English online merchant, often for less money?

As much as I like to scoff at the Internet and all the silly trends that have come with it, I confess that it has become a massive part of my life. After all, why do you think I am writing for Computoredge in San Diego when I live thousands of miles away on the east coast? Yes, you guessed it. I found it on the net.


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