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What's wrong with the Internet in Oz?

According to webmaster Dan Byrnes, it is the dreaded old-fashioned Australian Cultural Cringe.

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Last Updated: 2010-12-01 15:12 UTC

PGTS Journal Edition 0004
July, 2002

Dan Byrnes asks What's wrong with the Internet in Australia?

The Taxman Cometh

It's that time of year again. This year however, the ATO is going to be disappointed with revenue. The mainstream media would have us believe that most sectors of Australia's economy have been ticking along nicely, despite the global recession. This is not true of the IT sector which, in Australia at least, is suffering the worst decline in its' history. This is mostly due to the unrestrained and unsustainable silliness of previous decades. It may also, in part, be due to the fact that IT was miraculously exempt from recession last time the economic balloons went pop, and hence the sector built up a karmic debt that ultimately had to be repaid with interest. At last the IT sector is showing signs of a weak recovery, now that a new financial year is begining and businesses are coming to the realisation that some projects can be deferred

The Great Leap Forward Is Not Dead (It Just Smells Funny)

The feature article this month has been written by Dan Byrnes. Dan is a writer, historian and poet and ex-journalist, who eventually replaced his typewriter with a keyboard. About six years ago he started his own web site. Since then we have exchanged many e-mails. Often his correspondance bubbled with enthusiasm for the marvellous new technology. Usually my responses were disparaging, sarcastic and highly sceptical about the marvellous new technology. Eventually my constant harping and criticism may have wore him down. His summary of some of the problems with the internet should make interesting reading for owners and/or operaters of websites in our sunburnt country. Curiously, his enthusiasm over the years, may have infected me in the opposite direction. I now feel almost optimistic about the Internet. In fact in March this year I even went

If We Are Skating on Thin Ice, We May As Well Dance.

These days there is a considerable amount of disappoinment with the Internet, and much of this is due to a phenomenom which can best be described as the singing-in-the-rain effect. So called because of the impression created by the well known musical Singing in the Rain, staring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. This movie dramatised the revolutionary change that swept through the film-making industry when The Jazz Singer first appeared, changing public expectations and suddenly rendering obsolete the silent movies of the preceeding era. The reverberation of this effect is the present-day expectation that technological change will always manifest in this same revolutionary manner. In fact the singing-in-the-rain effect is more the exception than the rule. Technological change implemented by mass production of a consumer product tends to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The telephone, the radio and television were adopted gradually. At any one time the incremental change was not dramatic. But at the end of a decade, one could look back and see that the change had been extraordinary. The internet is changing our world in the creeping insidious fashion that these latter three products did, rather than by sweeping away the old technology in one broad stroke, as the talking movie did to the silent movie.

I cannot take credit for the idea of the singing-in-the-rain effect. I read about it a couple of months ago in a newspaper whilst riding a Melbourne tram. The author was an American analyst, whose name I failed to take note of. It's a good analogy nonetheless and the movie Singing In The Rain is an excellent musical, worth watching for the title track