Thursday, December 20, 2007

An Example of Time Wasting on the Web

Here’s a personal example of how the web can suck a reader into a bottomless pit. I’m sure you all have your own versions.

I receive a daily email newsletter related to my job – information security. The newsletter mentioned a new documentary on Court TV called “Tiger Team.” I searched for the Court TV schedule and clicked the link to open their site. I quickly found the section on specials that included the show I wanted to watch. The show is about a team of security specialists who are hired to find flaws in company’s security systems. They are sometimes referred to as penetration testers.

The description of the show provided by Court TV’s website used the the term “vérité.” I didn’t know what that meant, so I looked it up on the Merriam Webster website. The definition told me it’s a film technique that attempts to show things as candidly as possible. That wasn't enough for me, because I wondered if this included shows like "The Office."

I then performed a Google search for the term and came up with a Wikipedia entry for “cinéma vérité.” I read the entry (it wasn’t too long). The entry started off with the disclaimer saying the article is in dispute. So I read the entries on the page containing the disputed items. Because I read all the disputed items, I don’t know what “cinéma vérité” means. The film experts disagree on the term. They can’t even agree on which films exhibit the cinéma vérité stlye.

The question remains, what is it? But more importantly, has access to all this information helped me?

I feel more confused now then when I opened the newsletter. What was all this about?

p.s.

I still want to know how to pronounce the term. Once I know how to pronounce it correctly, I can mockingly mispronounce the term.

p.s.2

With the Num Lock on, type Alt-130 on the numeric pad to get "é."

9 comments:

Reflector Collector said...

When I was younger, I read a book called "Strange Facts and Useless Information"

I was amused with the book and continue to be amused by the number of hours I can waste combing through mis-information on the innnernet. Proving to myself that the more I know, the less I understand.

Thanks for reminding me of this fact.

Matt_J said...

Anyone can pronounce cinéma verité, just speak like Inspector Cluseau. Make sure you hock up some lung cookies as you segue through the 'r'.

Yes the web is an endless digression. I turned on my computer to check if I had sent a Christmas card to Aunt Lucille in Mpls, and next thing I knew I was typing 'lung cookie'.

Jeff said...

éxcéllént!

Jim Thill said...

Every day I spend at least five minutes weighing the pros and cons of being so readily connected to all this (mis)information. Most days I decide to keep using the internet, though I'm not sure that I really have any power over it.

Sophzilla said...

I would be very afraid to find out how much time I spend being sucked into the Web. Go online for a recipe, three hours later...

Verite is pronounced ver (rhymes with fair) eh tay. Finally, I get to use information from my documentary film class. At least the info stuck. Unlike economics.

A Midnight Rider said...

You really have to love all the god sightings, terrorist killings and all the other bunk the internet offers us.

Send this response to 15 people and you will win the lottery withing a month.

It's a proven fact.

Matt_J said...

I like your question, 'Has access to all this information helped me?' The net user is at least one step up from a couch potato watching TV, in terms of selection, interaction, quality. You can sit in an office anywhere in the world and listen to MPR.

Eclectchick said...

I speak some French and thought I was going to be able to be all smart, letting you know how to prounounce the term. Instead, I only get to say, yeah, like Sophzilla said, pretty much. With the lightly "loogey hawking" r, but prettily. And with sin-eh-ma in front of it.

That made next to no sense. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Tim said...

I've been experimenting with ways to disable my computer so I don't engage in endless "research" . One way is to open up C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts and add entries for time wasting websites:

127.9.9.1 en.wikipedia.org
127.9.9.1 www.fark.com
127.9.9.1 www.youtube.com

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