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The Internet Technology

The 'Net Generation' Isn't 435

Kanel introduces this lengthy review in Spiegel Online this way: "Kids that grew up with the Internet are not 'digital natives' as consultants have led us to believe. They're OK with the Net but they don't care much about Web 2.0 and find plenty of other things more important than the Internet. Consultants and authors, mostly old guys, have called for the education system to be reworked to suit this new generation, but they never conducted surveys to see if the members of 'generation @' were anything like what they had envisioned. Turns out, children who have known the Net their whole lives are not particularly skilled at it, nor do they live their lives online." "Young people have now reached this turning point. The Internet is no longer something they are willing to waste time thinking about. It seems that the excitement about cyberspace was a phenomenon peculiar to their predecessors, the technology-obsessed first generation of Web users. ...they certainly no longer understand it when older generations speak of 'going online.' ... Tom and his friends just describe themselves as being 'on' or 'off,' using the English terms. What they mean is: contactable or not."
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The 'Net Generation' Isn't

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can get on the plane, but I'm getting fucking IN the plane !!

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @08:49PM (#33184632)

    There were no Techy generations. There were Techy people, be they blacksmiths or chip designers.

    Techy people of different generations did their thing, but most people are spectators who don't WANT to know how things work.

    They always will be, and for geeks, this is good.

    • by thms ( 1339227 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:20PM (#33184832)
      The tech learning curve is important as well. Those who grew up with computers in pre-GUI times had a rather steep curve but as a consequence became much more proficient.

      When the curve became flatter less understanding was required, however more people started using it. So I wonder if the mass adoption of technology compensates for the reduced required depth, i.e. if the first easy steps encouraged more people to take a deeper look at things compared to when you had no choice but to do that.

      Data on the percentage of computer users in each generation which were hobby programmers at a certain would be interesting.
      • by wintermute000 ( 928348 ) <> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:16PM (#33185110)

        Oh absolutely positively correct

        I'm in the late 20s/early 30s bracket, the gen who grew up having to fiddle with DOS just to get games to run.
        All the techs @ work (I'm not counting desktop and helpdesk lol, poor sods) had this ingrained in their upbringing.
        The kids coming in who had click and install gaming have noticeably poorer troubleshooting skills, and in particular shy away from command line and text files.

        Still there will always be 'natural' geeks and techies, and most people won't care.

        • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:51PM (#33185296)

          Seconded, both of you.

          And it's only getting "worse" - continuing your gaming reference, many kids just coming in now don't even "click and install." They "insert disc and put on headset."

          • by nicolas.kassis ( 875270 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:13AM (#33185700)
            Back in my day we had to put in the tapes for space wars and figure out how to assemble it on our pdp-1 and then if were lucky and some loser didn't decide to make a small addition to the code to break it, THEN we could start it up on the CRT tube and play with light guns. now get off my lawn.
            • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @01:36AM (#33186008)
              THEN we could start it up on the CRT tube and play with light guns. now get off my lawn.

              Oh dear, I can feel a Yorkshire accent coming on. Back in my day, we didn't have CRTs, we had punch-card readers for input and barrel-printers for output. (I'm actually not lying - the machine was a Burroughs B3700 running MCP IV.)

              We never had to have an 'andful of cold gravel for breakfast, because we could leave it sitting on top of the ALU for a few minutes, and it would be nice and toasty warm.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by mrjb ( 547783 )

                Back in my day, we didn't have CRTs

                Oh yes you did. The fine CRTs that Space War was designed for: Oscilloscopes. Now get off my lawn.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @07:29AM (#33187092) Homepage

            The internet is far more in depth than that. The reality is the internet is a complex interactive digital environment a font of self expression, the get anything significant out or it you have to put a lot into it. Research, understanding and expression, as well as tangents like administration and security, do not work well with the mobile phone texting generation who love simple dumb fad apps, the ringtone generation.

            The ringtone generation because they are too lazy, indifferent, unmotivated to create a 10 second ringtone they will buy it and swap it and replace it with the next fad. The excludes of course the next generation of computer geeks/nerds basically the same as the last generation just with a bias to gui use. The mass market just product shifted, they didn't style shift, so passive idiot box viewing has shifted to passive internet use, with just a very slight creativity burst in social media. Really just cutting and pasting, making and breaking friends, picking on enemies, mass media driven peer pressure content consumption, gossip and, simple games, kinda reminds you of a primary school playground (more than just kinda).

            There is a definite intellectual stratification of the internet, not age based at all (except pre teens). Computer nerds/geeks were, are and will be the creators of the internet, from teens to geriatrics, those that create the coral reefs where the other fish just follow the fad and shoal, they still of course represent by far the bulk in numbers but they are just mass consumers not creators (hence lack of ability).

        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:16AM (#33185708)

          Ya I think what many people miss is that to younger people, and even to many of us who are well accustomed to technology, the Internet isn't special. We just take it for granted. So we don't live our lives on there it is just a part of our lives. We use it seamlessly with everything else. It is the same way someone might have a TV running in the background in the kitchen while they cook yet not live their life around the TV.

          For me, and many others (I should note I'm older, not one of the people who grew up with the Internet) the Internet is just kind of an assumed part of life. It is always there, on any computer. It doesn't really seem like a separate entity, and I don't put a lot of thought in to it normally. I use it more than most, I'm a geek, but it isn't like I live my life on it, that I focus only on things on the Internet. Quite the opposite, the Internet is just a part of life. That something is on or off the Internet isn't really a distinction I bother with. Basically, people who have adjusted to the Internet, either because they always had it or because they are comfortable with tech, don't obsess over it. It is just another thing in the world that makes life nice, like power or running water or whatever.

          Just because people grew up with the Internet doesn't mean they are obsessed with. Quite the opposite rather, because it is something that has always been there it just isn't a big deal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by w0mprat ( 1317953 )
          The next generation of kids won't even have to insert a disc in a drive let alone click and install anything. It'll all be done through app stores. This next generation wont even have root access to their DRM riddled devices. No wonder they seem barely interested in technology now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JediTrainer ( 314273 )
          I'm in the late 20s/early 30s bracket, the gen who grew up having to fiddle with DOS just to get games to run.

          Oh the memories (me too - same age bracket here)

          Tweak the order in which things will load in your config.sys and autoexec.bat. Work like hell to squeeze that extra few k out of your memory. Special boot disks just to play one game. Practice your swear words trying to get the Gravis UltraSound to work properly as a Sound Blaster emulator. Goddamn it, I bought a new game that needs 45MB and my wh
      • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:43AM (#33185806) Homepage

        I'd argue that computers in pre-GUI times had a much lower learning curve to get to the point of programming. You mucked about in BASIC to change a program to do what you wanted it to do.

        Now to muck about with a quick flash game, you have to decompile it, edit it in miles of Actionscript and timeline coding, and recompile it. Further, it is helpful if you understand http, xml, javascript, and basic networking to get anything done.

        Writing a game in BASIC was easy. Writing a modern game in XNA takes C#, 3D experience, miles of tutorials, etc.

        Say what you will about GUI's making things "easier" so that kids don't have to learn. The complexity of modern computing has thrown a huge wall up between the end user and real programming. I bet if you took any of the MIT genius kids from the late 70's and threw them in front of a modern computer, they'd be baffled too.

        • by Rhaban ( 987410 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:57AM (#33186470)

          Easier to use, Harder to make.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella ( 173770 )

          I'd argue that computers in pre-GUI times had a much lower learning curve to get to the point of programming.

          And the bar for what was considered "professional" programming was much lower. I remember programming my C64, and I could do the same kind of blocky sprites and beep-beep music that almost kinda looked like a game someone would sell. It was at least "in range", so to speak. Whereas today most games are a huge team effort with high quality art, music etc., neither a one man garage developer nor one kid in front of a computer.

      • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @02:07AM (#33186088)

        "Those who grew up with computers in pre-GUI times had a rather steep curve but as a consequence became much more proficient"

        Yes, at using a CLI. The command line is just as much of an abstraction as a GUI is, just harder to learn.

        • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @07:47AM (#33187160)

          GUI users tend to get completely lost when facing a new GUI. Even rearranging the menus is enough to get many people to give up and ask for help. Command line people, in contrast, can learn new syntax very easily, showing that they really ARE more proficient.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            GUI users tend to get completely lost when facing a new GUI. Even rearranging the menus is enough to get many people to give up and ask for help. Command line people, in contrast, can learn new syntax very easily, showing that they really ARE more proficient.

            Citation please.

            I suspect that their ability to learn a new GUIi is just as easy if not easier than CLI people learning a new CL syntax. Stick a command line person at a prompt that isn't one they are familiar with and they're going to be even more lost

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The tech learning curve is important as well. Those who grew up with computers in pre-GUI times had a rather steep curve but as a consequence became much more proficient.

        Uhh... that's a polite way of saying they invested lots of mental effort into something that depreciated faster than a new car. What were they actually proficient at? Besides "computers" AKA "twisting a machine's proverbial arm to do what you need it to."

        There are diminishing returns in training humans, and we can't change that. We can make computers more efficient though.

      • by Kanel ( 1105463 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:15AM (#33186540) Journal

        Roberta Williams, one of the game designers at Sierra in the 80's had a slightly different take on it. Home computers started out being rather expensive, which meant that the average computer owner was older and more educated. Maybe buying the computer as part of a college education for instance or having a well-paying job which helped one afford the computer. When PCs became affordable for the average joe, the "average gamer" changed and Sierra could no longer afford to write games that catered to an educated audience. They were just too small a part of the market.

        You could imagine that a similar impact was felt in all areas related to computers.

        • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:37PM (#33190660) Journal

          When PCs became affordable for the average joe, the "average gamer" changed and Sierra could no longer afford to write games that catered to an educated audience. They were just too small a part of the market.

          Speaking as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the Sierra games as a kid (and Monkey Island, Infocom, and many others) I think this is a bit of a cop-out. Sure, there is a huge market of "twitch" gamers that never existed back in the 80s, but that doesn't mean the educated market disappeared. If anything, the educated gamer market is even larger than it was back then, as hardware has gotten cheaper. What has happened, I suppose, is that only the big mega-hits get funded by the studios.

          We need to go back to indie studios that are self-funded and deliver games that even small niche markets like educated gamers want. There is more than enough money to go around. If you make good games, people will play them (and pay you for them).

    • by MikeFM ( 12491 )

      Just using a tool doesn't mean anybody taught to use it well or know how it works. Most people are sheep and always will be. I do think there is a lot of value in having the education system do more to make people creators instead of just consumers. Teach how things work instead of assuming it's not important or to hard. Most people won't read a lot of books for leisure let alone write a book but we still teach reading and writing.

      To some extent being intelligent and creative is just an inborn characteristi

  • evidence? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @08:49PM (#33184634) Homepage Journal
    Many young people abandoned email for MySpace, then within a couple short years, abandoned MySpace for FaceBook, both times because spam made the previous system essentially unusable for them, and they didn't want to take the time to learn how to filter spam (not even to switch their email provider from, say, Yahoo, to GMail). They don't differentiate between "The Internet" and a service. To them, FaceBook is the internet.
    • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Informative)

      by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:13PM (#33184790)

      You make an awful lot of assertions. In fact, the summary even talks about people like you who just make assertions about how 'young people' are.

      Can you support any of them? Because the article supports the opposite.

      • by aevan ( 903814 )
        Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. Having said that, I know of few dozen preteen/youngteens who did exactly what he said: facebook is the net, they are aghast I don't use facebook, they migrated from myspace for various reasons, and their email is just for signing up to things. They express no interest in 'the old ways'. The stuff they use are just tools to use, not something to learn he ins and outs of or find non-standard uses for.

        Naturally, this is a small sample in the scheme of things, no rigour
        • Re:evidence? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:54PM (#33185012)

          I'll say the same thing. I grant that its anecdotal and thus does not apply to the whole group. But I live next door to two teen girls, and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. They don't look at the net like we do. They're not in to hacking. They don't care how elegant (or crufty) something may be. "Cool" has nothing to do with it. They just want to keep contact with their friends, and they want it to work.

          • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Capt. Skinny ( 969540 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:57PM (#33185638)

            I've noticed that as I get older I can relate more and more to people who just want things to work. It was one thing to dick around with a shell script for 20 hours in desktop support to automate something that would have taken me only 2 hours to do manually (fully admitting that the bulk of the value was in the learning experience), but now that my time is valuable (to both me and the people paying me) I like to get on with what I'm supposed to be doing. When shit breaks and it isn't my job to fix it, I'm now very likely to hand the problem off to whomever does have the job of fixing it. There's only so much time available, and if I dig into everything that looks cool I'll forever be jack of all trades, master of none. OTOH, maybe I've just become jaded.

            Certainly don't mean to criticize the hacker spirit, only to give some perspective for "wanting it to work." I'll bet there are several things these teens care about the elegance (or cruft) of -- but none of them happen to be the net.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by c ( 8461 )

              > I've noticed that as I get older I can relate
              > more and more to people who just want things to work.

              So can I.

              The difference, I think, is that neither of us started that way, and if push comes to shove and we really need something to work, our brains are wired in such a way that we'll get the damn thing working ourselves if we have to. Be it software, hardware, cars, tools, plumbing, etc.

              It's very different to have learned a way of life (tinkering) and then slack off than to have never picked up the

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I beg you, do a few years doing tech support (whether in house or at a call center). You'll find that, regardless of age, those assertions are dead on for the majority of users. And yes, I say that as someone who's mid-20's and most people I know in my age range are pretty incompetent about technology.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HangingChad ( 677530 )

        Because the article supports the opposite.

        If you were responding to the parent, I didn't really get that he was all that far off from the article. It seems to suggest that the generation growing up with the internet treats it like my generation treated the telephone. Just a part of everyday life that's always been there and they're just not all that fascinated by it. It's a tool, nothing more.

        That may not be intuitive, but it's not surprising either.

    • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix@gm ... m minus math_god> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:16PM (#33184808)

      And what's your evidence? Of course, we can probably only offer up our own anecdotes, so I'll offer mine up too.

      CBC Radio was talking about this earlier in the day. Young people seem to be viewing computers and the internet as tools they wield for doing whatever it is they want to do, be it contacting friends, maintaining social networks, communicating with other services, doing homework, etc. Many of them don't have the same curiousity or interest that many of us (the /. and other techy crowds) have towards these tools. A guest on the show lamented this, saying that we've lost the ability to "tinker" with our tools (*cough*), and that tinkering is an essential life skill.

      I don't really agree with that guest. Many of us use tools to accomplish our goals without trying to tinker with them. I drive a car regularly and have no interest in knowing the ins and outs of its mechanics. Similarly with vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers, mechanical pencils, radios, and many other tools you may come across in your daily life. If it works, and helps me do what I want to do, that's all I care about. It's the same attitude that this younger generation (many of those in my university specifically) takes towards computers and the internet.

      I think that is the real measure of how integrated something is in our lives. We don't really have to think twice about the tools we use in order to live our lives on a daily basis. They're just there, and we can use them when we need them, and we don't have to know everything about them.

      But that doesn't mean that they're stupid. They know "the internet" is a sort of virtual space where services reside. Whatever hand-waving or magic or technological means are involved to deliver those services to them do not matter to them, so long as it works. And that's a perfectly fine attitude to take, imho. We all take that attitude to at least some degree towards at least some of the tools we use on a daily basis. This just boils down to people having different interests in different things. But to try to insinuate that young people are stupid (and unable to differentiate between the internet and Facebook, for example) just because they take that sort of attitude towards something that you or I are interested in is just bigotry. The inner workings of "the internet" are as foreign to them as the techniques and history of knife forging are to me. That's all there is to it.

      • Well said, sir.

      • Oh noooooo! (Score:3, Funny)

        by AndrewBC ( 1675992 )

        My smug sense of self-superiority! You've killed it!

      • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:41PM (#33184964) Homepage Journal

        Wow, I either have a distorted view of what "digital native" means or you do.

        The US is full of car natives. When you wanna go to the mall to hang out with your friends you don't go saddle the horse.

        This younger generation is full of Internet natives. When you wanna talk to your friends you don't reach for the telephone or pull out the quill and ink pot, you jump online.

        FFS, what are you people talking about, you're on a god damn Internet forum.

      • Err, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by zogger ( 617870 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:00PM (#33185032) Homepage Journal

        What the heck do you *do* then, that you have no interest in, or skills in, those things that make up technological civilization? Egads I simply can't imagine being that un-curious about things. Being a tool user is what separates us from the lesser primates. You say you use this or that that this "someone else" knows how to make work, to do what you want to do, so what is that, just be a media consumer, or what?

          This is mind boggling to me, I grew up with a tool box and tearing stuff apart and building things, etc, ALONG with reading all sorts of things, being interested in nature and learning about that, etc. Granted, I don't program, and that is because my mind just doesn't work that way, linear and rote memory, I think spatially, which is why I have always preferred the GUI..but that still didn't stop me from learning to build/assemble computers either, have done that a bunch.

          If you are a representative of this generation and demographic they are talking about in the fine article (or older I guess but with the same attitude), what the heck do you DO? Those kids, what the heck do they DO?

        Note: not being snarky or flaming, not at all, your post just blew me away, I honestly do not know a single person in meatspace like the folks in the article and somehwat you who have no apparent interest in any technology that we all use, other than having someone else do it so you can use it.

        • Re:Err, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:22PM (#33185140) Journal

          Just because someone isn't interested in the same things that you are doesn't mean that they're not curious. Maybe they're interested in understanding people, maybe they're interested in how to run a business, maybe they just want to know everything about training dogs. Civilization takes all kinds of people, and fortunately different people seems to be attracted to different things.

          • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:57PM (#33185326) Homepage Journal

            Ya, but WHAT? In the fine article the kid outlined said he was really into basketball, and that was it. whoopedy zing, that's it??? for real? So I repeat, what do they DO? Just entertainments, media consumption, play sports? Anything serious? Just saying that "they don't do what you like to do" isn't answering the question, it is just further dodging it.

            And really, to repeat, I am not trying to "get off my lawn" dump on anyone or any generation, it is just fascinating in an odd way to me to think there are humans out there who have no interest at all in how things around them work, that using actual tools is just never even considered, that that is for someone else, this vague someone else to do.

            I am *seriously* reminded of that somewhat famous heinlein quote about specialization and insects. And what makes it worse, is that even the specialization is apparently being ignored now, appears they want to "do" anything else but work/build/create/explore. Just some sort of existence with no real purpose, no drive or something, anyone but them needs to "do that" so they can...what?? Just live, contribute nothing back, expect to go their entire lives like that??

                I don't know, that's why I am asking. And that is what I was wondering, I just can't believe it, so I want to know what really takes the place of being a tool using tinkering human today, especially in this demographic in the article.

            • by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix@gm ... m minus math_god> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:48PM (#33185614)

              I'm a philosophy student, and I often get a lot of flak for it. People think that philosophy doesn't matter, and that you need to be a productive member of society and contribute to technology or science or the economy or whatsoever. I think that's what you're trying to get at when you asked "Anything serious?". It seems like to you, you feel that there's some purpose in exploring how things in the world around you work, and to contribute to human knowledge or technology by creating new tools or discovering new principles. Of course, what you do, and what many people in the science and technology sectors do, are very important. I could not practice philosophy as comfortably as I do now without many of the conveniences afforded to me by our current level of science and technology. I recognize that science, technology, and business play a big role in our lives, and that the people who are in those industries are contributing greatly to society.

              I don't think many people just exist, as you say. The vast majority of people work. Of those people who do work, a significant minority don't have the resources to do anything but work, eat, socialize a little, play a little, sleep, rinse, repeat. But even those people contribute to society. If we didn't have janitors or retail sales clerks or whatever the case may be, our society would look a lot different. Our society requires some people be at those positions. And while you may still believe in the American Dream, the reality is that most of those people just can't afford to have any drive beyond going to work 10 hours a day to make ends meet.

              I suspect, however, that your question is directed more towards those who can afford to develop some sort of drive. And that's why I brought up that I'm a philosophy student. I philosophize. What does that mean? Philosophy means something very different to those who actually study it than to those outside of its sphere. Philosophy is more a way of life than anything. I've studied many subjects in philosophy, ranging from logic to ethics to metaphysics. Philosophy is what I enjoy, and that's my drive. I want to try to reconcile the disconnect between subjective experience and objective occurrences (neural activity). I want to examine why people hold certain systems of ethics and not others, and whether or not there exists some objective measure of morality. So I live my daily life using tools, while using the time I save not worrying about those tools to pursue my interests, and my drives.

              Other philosophers are logicians. They examine how systems of logic work, and what types of logical moves are valid or invalid. Now logic is important because there's one problem that the scientific method faces, but most scientists are unaware of such a problem. Scientists wield logic as a tool to perform their work, but they don't examine it on a deeper level. The problem that the scientific method faces is that it centres around the logical move that we call inductive reasoning []. I won't dive into the specifics of the problem here, but suffice it to say that I don't think it's a major concern that scientists rely on inductive reasoning even though they don't know exactly how it works, and why it is problematic. Scientists have a certain goal and they need to use certain tools. Their job is not to ensure that their tools work. It is the logician's job to make sure that scientists have good tools with which to perform their jobs.

              Now all of this is a manner of saying that some people can't afford to have any drive, while others have different drives than you do. We're all doing something. It seems like you don't realize that there are other things that people can be interested in that are worthwhile. The problem of induction is an important problem in philosophy, as well as the concept of causality []. In other disciplines, there are other problems that are interesting that people want to tackle. Some people want to fi

              • tl;dr (Score:5, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @05:05AM (#33186698)

                You certainly have the TL;DR part of philosophy nailed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WillKemp ( 1338605 )

          [......] I honestly do not know a single person in meatspace like the folks in the article and somehwat you who have no apparent interest in any technology that we all use, other than having someone else do it so you can use it.

          That's probably just the sort of people you know, then. In my experience, the majority of people aren't interested in how stuff works - they just want it to work.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I drive a car regularly and have no interest in knowing the ins and outs of its mechanics.

        Not trying to troll, but that line really struck me. Do you by any chance happen to drive a Toyota? Your comment definitely makes you come across as the "A car is no different than a toaster, so buy the cheapest one that won't break and who cares what it looks like or what features it has" type.

        Ever wonder that maybe the reason there are so many crappy drivers out there is because they don't care to know anything about the car and expect it to be a magic box that "just works"?

        • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix@gm ... m minus math_god> on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:03PM (#33185374)

          I drive a Honda, but that might be besides the point.

          You bring up a fantastic point. There are different features in different cars. Some of them have more or less horsepower, some of them have more or less torque at certain RPM bands, whatever. I don't know much about cars, like I said. But none of that really matters to me. What does matter to me is my experience with the car. When I drive my car, I have certain interactions with it that occur on a regular basis. Feeling the comfort of the seat, the feel and weight of the steering wheel, the sound of the engine, the appearance, etc. Then there are things that don't happen, like accelerator recalls, frequent breakdowns, etc. Those are the things that I'm interested in w.r.t. cars. As long as my car performs as intended and I have a good experience driving it, that's all that matters to me. All the numbers don't matter. I don't need to care whether or not it has more or less horsepower than another model, or whether it has a v4 or v6 engine, or whatever, as long as it performs as expected under the normal range of driving conditions.

          This is exactly the same as how many people view computers. They don't need to know whether you have a Core i5 750 or a Phenom II x6 1055T. Those words and numbers mean nothing to them. As long as the computer performs as expected under normal conditions and they have a good experience with it, that's all that matters. This is why Apple computers sell. People don't care about the specs, they don't need to care about the specs. Sure, you pay a price premium for Apple. But what do you get in return? A really easy to use OS that requires little if any configuration. A good enough tech support that will help you fix your problem (with whatever voodoo magic, for all they care) and that is easily reachable and has a human face. You or I may debate the merits of getting a Phenom II x6 or a Core i5, or whether to stick with an AM2+ motherboard or upgrade to AM3, depending on whatever purposes we have. But most people just want a machine for general use purposes, and none of those specs make a huge difference. As long as you're buying current gen hardware (or even hardware from one or two gens previous), it's good enough for most people.

          The take-home is that for many of our tools, it doesn't matter how exactly it works, as long as it works and we have a good experience using those tools. You might be interested in those tools, and others might not be.

          As for the crappy drivers, I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to get at. There's almost no expectation that you need to know how a car works in order to get a driver's license in most places that I know of. You need to have basic knowledge of how to drive a car, basic driving techniques, the rules of the road, etc. If you think that the problem lies in people not knowing how cars work, then you might want to take that up with your local politicians. It seems to me, however, that crappy drivers are crappy drivers not because they don't know the mechanics of their car, but because they don't give a shit about the rules of the road and have no common courtesy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opyros ( 1153335 )
        "Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations we can perform without thinking." — Alfred North Whitehead
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DJRumpy ( 1345787 )

      I have to disagree. That might have been true for the 'AOL' generation, because everything was presented in a nice cosmetic package. The newest generation most certainly does not exist in the 'Facebook Bubble'. They are in blogs, in chat rooms, porn sites, fan sites,, etc.

      Although the old social bubbles might have served as the 'internet' in it's infancy, there is no way that would or could happen now. Although they may not 'go online' in this day and age, they most certainly wouldn't be sa

    • Re:evidence? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:35PM (#33184924)
      No, no it wasn't spam that killed it, it was the unfriendly interfaces. E-mail ended up having several crappy carriers each with various silly limits that existed until fairly recently when Gmail basically forced them out (such as tiny inboxes, limited messaging, limited space, unreliable servers, etc) not to mention that HTML-e-mail could be malicious and there was no way to embed some things in it (such as Video) and images got a bad rep after people started using them as tracing.

      MySpace ended up being killed by unattractive profiles, fake names were prevalent and the fact that there was just a small user base (teens and indie bands) didn't help things.

      Facebook is good because it combines the best of everything. If you want to search for someone you don't have to search for xx_HaloPlayer43234, you can just type in "Bryan Smith" and find your friend. You can easily share images, video, etc. and chat (when it works) it a lot nicer than having 4 accounts for MSN, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ, it easily embeds with phones (even dumb-phones via text) and has a huge userbase.

      E-mail is pretty much dead because E-mail was being forced to do things that E-mail wasn't designed to do and was only hacked on with HTML-Email.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dafing ( 753481 )
        I am rare in that I prefer to use email for any serious text conversation. Why go to Facebook, and use a tortured "message" system, which THEN sends an alert email to the receiver, as well as the actual message arriving on their Facebook account!?!

        Whats most interesting, why will Google allow HD video to be uploaded to YouTube, but have a CRAZY 25MB attachment limit for Gmail messages? I can understand if they dont want people hosting movies on their email account, forwarding leaked movies from one per
        • Re:evidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @02:05AM (#33186084)

          Repeat after me: Email is NOT a file transfer protocol.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Repeat after me: There is no file transfer protocol between internet users.

            The internet is capable of high performance, yet we don't have a common, stable mean of transferring large (100MB) files client-to-client. [No, torrent is not one.]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Why go to Facebook, and use a tortured "message" system, which THEN sends an alert email to the receiver, as well as the actual message arriving on their Facebook account!?!

          It's nice for shorter messages with people you don't talk to as often and you're not sure if they've changed email addresses.

          Facebook makes a lot more sense if you use it as a networking tool instead of a communications service.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamacat ( 583406 )

      Why should anyone with an alternative continue communicating with friends using a medium that doesn't let you either find or define your friends? There have been repeated calls to globally adopt standards for e-mail security, authentication and discouraging mass mailings through micropayments. Yet anyone who knows how to type "MAIL FROM" can still claim to be Bank of America - yes even with GMail. I am afraid it's we older people who turned young people off e-mail and open standards with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2010 @08:56PM (#33184672)

    FTA: "Many of them don't even know how to google properly."

    "Generation @" would be watching teevee or listening to the radio if they didn't have a computer. They go where their friends go, use what their friends use. They are nothing more than cattle, going along with the herd.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:00PM (#33184706)

    And not the whole world or America.

    I'm a native of both and the article rings somewhat true of the people I know. But to be blunt about it, I think there is more to do in Germany, especially in this age range. More clubs, more affordable entertainment options, more and cheaper excercise options. More mass transit too, to get there.

    I grew up as a latchkey kid in suburban borderline rural America and summered there. When I was 10-15, I was bored out of my mind most days and would have loved something like the internet. I was just too far from anything entertaining, including other kid's houses. It all comes down to having a car culture, imo.

    One example, I find pools very expensive in America. Even my YMCA isn't cheap and is like 7 miles away. In Germany, a schwimmbad, hallenbad, etc are somewhat ubiquitous and cheap (5 euros entrance). The outdoor baths are particularly nice, having several pools, one usually Olympic size. None of this means anything if you can't get to it, but again, Germany has massive transit especially rail, and bus, and it doesn't take hours to get anywhere like the bus systems I know from Seattle or Philadelphia. Also, there are sidewalks and bikepaths everywhere, on the side of the road. Here, I had 3 friends that got hit over the years because it's mostly patchwork, if it exists at all.

    There can be other factors and I'm sure urban kids have a different experience.

    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      ... None of this means anything if you can't get to it, but again, Germany has massive transit especially rail, and bus, and it doesn't take hours to get anywhere like the bus systems I know from Seattle or Philadelphia. ....

      If it's taking you hours to get somewhere on bus in Seattle, you either, took the wrong bus, or are taking a bus out of Seattle.

      Having lived here my whole life, and not ever driving, I've depended on the bus in Seattle. And I can safely say, there isn't any locations in Seattle that take more then an hour to get to on bus.

      Now if your taking the bus out of Seattle, that's different, and probably what you meant.

      As for your friends getting hit by cars when they are on their bikes, sorry, that's a sport we h

      • No, I used to live in Bellevue. I had a car but it was college and I wanted to see if I could live without a car so I experimented with grocery shopping.

        I never had to wait long for a bus, 10 minutes max. But whereas a shopping trip used to take me 30 minute with a car (including shopping), with a bus it took me 1-1/2 hours with a bus for some reason. The grocery store was only 2 miles straight down the road. Maybe it was the sheer number of stops, I don't remember why.

        I tried the bus a few more times w

    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      A nearby city-owned waterpark [] with slides, a lazy river, a big pool, etc is similarly priced at $7-$9 (depending on height). It's even cheaper in the evenings when most people are going to go after work. 5 Euros is what, about $6.50 right now so quite reasonable as far as I'm concerned.

      While I don't go to that waterpark my gym has four pools (two outdoor and two indoor) with four waterslides, hot tubs, etc and it's part of my membership. My wife and kid belong and we use it a couple of days a week in the ev

      • I imagine so. Every place in my area has either just one medium pool or an olympic sized (length) pool cut with only like 3 lanes. Everything costs like $12 or more to get in. The closest water park is like 3 hours.

        The US is so big, it's hard to generalize. I would say the car culture and strip malls are a near constant though.

        • by garcia ( 6573 )

          The US is so big, it's hard to generalize. I would say the car culture and strip malls are a near constant though.

          I have lived on the East Coast and in the Midwest and have visited pools all over the country and have never felt they were overpriced.

          Yes, we are a car-culture and have a proliferation of strip malls but mass and pedestrian transit alternatives are improving at least here in Minnesota.

    • by afabbro ( 33948 )

      Even my YMCA isn't cheap and is like 7 miles away. In Germany, a schwimmbad, hallenbad, etc are somewhat ubiquitous and cheap (5 euros entrance).

      Paying ~$7.00 per entrance is not my definition of cheap. Swimming 3x a week would mean $84 a month. Lots of places in the US where you can get all-you-can-swim for a lot cheaper than that.

      None of this means anything if you can't get to it, but again, Germany has massive transit especially rail, and bus, and it doesn't take hours to get anywhere like the bus systems I know from Seattle or Philadelphia. Also, there are sidewalks and bikepaths everywhere, on the side of the road.

      89% of Americans own a car and the average cars per household is 2.28. We have a lot less need for mass transit.

  • Yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wolfraider ( 1065360 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:00PM (#33184712)
    Today's kids have grown up with the net. It is so in-graved into today's society for most that most kids don't even think about it. The net is nothing special now like it was years ago. I remember years ago when the net first came around to everyone. It was something special and new then. I used to spend hours just looking around and finding new and different things. Now I mainly go to the few websites I like. It went from a new fascinating thing to simply a tool to get the job done. The magic is gone from the net now that it is everywhere and used by almost everyone. Just comes with the times.
  • Wrong conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pshmell ( 1864744 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:01PM (#33184714)
    I'm 19. I care about the 'net and social networking and the effect it has on the evolution of culture and social intelligence. I think what this study means to conclude is that the 'net has become integrated so much into our lives that it has lost that 'new car' feel. That doesn't make it any less important.
    • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:36PM (#33184938)

      You're also part of a self-selected group which is not only more skilled at technology, but which has a higher degree of interest in it in general. You're basically skewed data.

      I'm 26. We got our first dial-up internet connection when I was in 6th grade. I was tracked 'gifted and talented', and so got to do cooler science and math projects, and having the internet, even on 28.8k dial-up, was a major boost for me. (later I got 33.6 and 56k that only really ran at about 49-50k; broadband wasn't available in my area until my sophomore year of college, and then it didn't matter for me most of the time anyway). I was introduced to FreeBSD by the guys who ran my ISP, and then later to Linux which I've never really learned to like as much. I got to watch one day when the telco guys came to add a an additional T3 at the demarc, which was a big deal for scalability because they then added in a bunch more modem banks since they could handle the capacity.

      I mention that because my "generation" grew up hearing carrier tones and having to do more things manually, with slower bandwidth. The "modern internet" by-and-large works so much more easily and at higher rates, that it doesn't take so much effort to get things done. Thus, most people never have to think about it.

      Hell, I've talked to professional computer people in their earlier 20s, say 20-22, who think that 'kermit' is just a Muppet. That's truly sad.

      • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:02PM (#33185364)
        ``Hell, I've talked to professional computer people in their earlier 20s, say 20-22, who think that 'kermit' is just a Muppet. That's truly sad.''

        I dunno. It seems to me that in the grand scheme of things Kermit the Frog is far more influential and important than the protocol which was named after him
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:30AM (#33185754)

        Seriously, you are 26 and already being crotchety? I'm 30 and I think you are exhibiting "Cranky old person syndrome" in a bad way.

        You are bitching because people don't know about some old, somewhat obscure, modem protocol? What the fuck? Why would they? Hell even many people who used modems didn't know about it because they didn't use it with the systems they were on (XMODEM and ZMODEM were way more popular in my experience).

        As a counterpoint, do you know all about the telegraph, how it came to be, the development, the refinements, the way it changed the world? Can you tell me about the different kinds of keys and what they are good at? What can you tell me about the life of the man who invented it? Can you even tell me his name (without looking it up)?

        There are actually questions I CAN answer... Because I did extensive academic research on Morse. It is an extremely important part of our communications history and shaped many other developments (for example it was the very start of the move to electronic funds, with the ability to 'wire' money). However I do not expect random people to know about it. There is no reason to. It is now a historical relic, Morse Code practiced by very few people any more and no longer required even for amateur radio licenses. It is an important part of our history, but not something I expect everyone to learn about.

        That is just one example, I could pick many more. Don't get grumpy because the things that were new to you are old to others. That's called progress and it is a wonderful thing.

        Now get off my lawn. :D

    • by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:53PM (#33185006)

      Is this study really about 19 year olds? I mean, I'll admit, I didn't RTFA, but I'm 20 and reading the summary gave me the impression that it was about people several years younger - maybe around 13. I mean, I still remember when nobody had the 'net. I was 8 when we first got dial-up. But my 13 year old cousin was 1 then. She certainly doesn't remember a time before the internet was common, and I doubt that she even remembers a time before broadband.

      I remember when everybody had their own Geocities (or Tripod or my favorite, Angelfire). And that took some work. Even if it didn't require real coding, it still needed some creativity. Now everyone just plugs stuff into Facebook or Myspace. I remember when email was hotmail or netscape or AOL or Adelphia or Excite or Earthlink or whatever other company. Now 90% of the email accounts I deal with are gmail. The rest are ***.edu, and occasionally an ISP, but even that is pretty much only older people who have had it since before gmail existed.

      I remember constantly switching search engines to whatever was giving the best results this year (or even month). Switching web hosts to whoever offered the best features at this moment. Switching email to whoever offered the most space. Switching IM clients, switching homepages, switching social networks...

      I feel like, even though we may have been using the 'net for most of our lives and have some difficulty remembering the time before it, it was still something new. It was still something to be discovered. And it still took some work. For those who are even just a few years younger, they discovered it when it was not as interactive. There's less competition. People are more likely to just stick to the handful of sites their friends use, and leave the other 99.99% of the web unexplored.

  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:08PM (#33184758) Homepage Journal

    I put forward a controversial/unpopular position.

    For most technology most (99.99%) people just use what they have or are given and apply what they have known from the past. They lack the imagination or resources to create anything original. Life is just too complex to change what works. Yes, for most people the computer is just a typewriter, and that's what they will teach their children.

    If you really want to continue with your quest for the 'Net generation then the place you are most likely to find them is in Africa, or those countries who will have to make a big leap from stone age to internet age. Africa has far more original/innovative uses of cell phones because they were not baggaged with land-lines.

    • The problem with Africa is that eventually the dictators running the majority of the countries in Africa will wake up and put tighter controls on the internet and there goes the "net" generation. The only reason why Africa is currently thriving when it comes to "new" technology is because the governments are in the interim stage between freedom and complete control, currently the majority of Africa even the countries run by dictators is so vast and infrastructure is so poor and resources are so limited that
      • The only reasons there is no net censorship in Africa are the following

        1. The African governments are too stupid to know how to do it. I personally witnessed one case where the govt took over the control of the country's TLD and had no idea how to run it. They gave it back to the Non-profit which had been running it.

        2. There aren't enough people connected to make censorship worthwhile, and the few who have access are cronies of the ruling party anyway.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The African governments are too stupid to know how to do it.

          Buddy, I think you mean to say "they do not currently possess the requisite skills." As in they haven't had enough exposure to the systems to get a feel for how to go about censoring effectively. Give 'em time and they'll be workin' it like china. I get you don't like the oppressive governments, but don't assume that they are stupid.

  • by SnowDog74 ( 745848 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:09PM (#33184766)

    First adopters are always the biggest geeks. The internet, however, is less about its applications today than it is about content. When I started college, the World Wide Web was just emerging, and one had to have some technical aptitudes to know what to do with a PPP dialer, Eudora or, even more primitive, PINE mail, Gopher, Telnet, etc. The first major graphical browser, NCSA Mosaic, had just come out. But the net is so ubiquitous and content driven that users aren't talking about the net in terms of its technology... they're talking about it in terms of content: movies, music, images, news, friends, games, etc.

    A technology becomes most useful is when the tech itself is at its most transparent, and the user is directly interfacing with their content with no tremendous awareness of the underlying layers (e.g. OSI model)... and that is precisely how it ought to be, be it for casual or business usage.

  • Many 'consultants' don't have the slightest clue what they're talking about, but get away with just making up facts because their audience doesn't have the slightest clue either. Why go through all the hard work of actual research or peer-reviewed articles when you can get paid big bucks for just spouting off something that sounds good?

  • They look at the internet as just another appliance.

    Still it does seem their lives revolve around the net, with webcam chatting, youtube creations, live chats, and texting. Just like I always have my TV or Radio turned on, even it's just for noise. It's ever-present.

  • Psh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amanicdroid ( 1822516 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:33PM (#33184918)
    Next you'll tell me that MTV generation didn't understand how a CRT worked and merely accepted the 60 hz spray of electrons into their eyeballs thoughtlessly.

    Or that the telephone generation of the 50s didn't spend long hours thinking about the automation of connections.
  • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @09:59PM (#33185026)
    Internet has disappeared into the walls like indoor plumbing and electricity. After much novelty, it becomes ubiquitous, for these kids it's just there and always has been.

    The neophillia is experienced by the generation that bridge the period between when you had to walk to get water, and the period when you didn't, when you lit a candle and when you flicked a switch.

    I understand the importance of a global digital network because I remember in my childhood there wasn't one, in my teenage years it was developing, and now I have a career in it. I've bridged the period of and no new generation will experience the same thing.

    What changes will my children face.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:40AM (#33185792)

      I can't pinpoint precisely when it happened, but it was pretty recent, probably around 2005. The Internet finally reached a real stage of maturity where basically everything humans wish to create was on it, where it was easy and accessible to use by all that can afford it and so on. It fully became the useful, fun, device it is today. As such it really does just blend in to everyday life. I don't marvel at it unless I stop to think about the development I've seen. Normally, it just fades in to the background, it is just another part of my life that I assume to be around, and get annoyed if it isn't.

      I think that is something that geeks miss, they used the Internet early and used it as a geek toy. Thus they don't consider the larger development. When the Internet first started it really wasn't good for much at all. Universities could make some use of it for research but it was mostly just a communications toy. By the early to mid 90s it was getting fairly accessible. Most people could get a connection if they liked and you didn't have to be a geek to play with it. However it was largely useless still, other than to play. You could look at various websites people had tossed up, chat with people around the world, but that was about it. It wasn't a tool for getting anything done.

      By the late 90s it was coming in to its own as useful. There were legit stores on there, like Amazon, and some unique services, like eBay. More and more useful information was online, companies were using it for business. Still wasn't fully mature though. There was plenty you couldn't do on the Internet. During the early parts of 2000 it just sort of grew and filled in most gaps. It matured to the point where nearly everything is online, you use it just like any other communications system. It is a primary way to get information, conduct commerce, and so on.

      It was a fast, and rather seamless, process and hence hard to see. There aren't really any tipping points. The Internet just grew up and went from a toy just for geeks to something it is hard to imagine not having. As you said, it is now like the other services we have, rely on, and take for granted. That means it is fully integrated in to our lives, that it is a mature technology.

      As far as I'm concerned, that is a wonderful thing.

  • the young people like cell phones and what goes with it: texting, pictures, movies, games, voice calls.

    the wired world is getting to be for old farts, the information superhighway is starting to fill up with old coots in their old Cadillacs.

  • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:06PM (#33185064)

    If you declare a revolution and talk about how everything will change, you can get published. Present at conferences. Invited to speak. And maybe even get paid for it, or else get new job offers or consulting gigs.

    And everyone is so desperate to improve education that they'll grasp at anything to prove to the public that they're making big strides in changing education, even if there's NO PROOF of any change in educational income. It's snake oil.

    The expensive, commercial, packaged curriculum products have the same problem. There's little evidence to back up one versus the other, and few studies showing any educational benefit. But the districts, desperate to fend of being attacked for doing nothing, spend limited educational dollars on them.

    My prediction? Perversely, schools will spend more money on technology and materials as their funding is squeezed and test scores count more and more. After a couple of years of declining scores, they'll abandon whatever the current efforts are and spend a ton on new ones. And it'll just keep going.

  • by PJ6 ( 1151747 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:50PM (#33185292)
    For years I watched younger family members grow up from wee lads and thought to myself, oh boy, next generation, they're going to make me look like a Luddite. Yet the outcome I had feared - finding myself suddenly behind the curve, no longer able to catch up with technology, maybe even "average"... deep down, I think would have preferred that. Having 20 year olds ask me for computer help makes me sad. It makes me want to say, you kids were supposed to charge ahead. But I don't see you charging anywhere. You don't even vote.
  • Oh, good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:10PM (#33185406)

    Another annoying generation label!

    generation @

    Did anyone want to hunt the guy down and punch him in the balls for that one? Anyone? Just me? Oh. (kicks pebble)

    And what is "tech savvy" anyway? I design stuff for space involving chips that have nearly 2000 I/O pads, and the whole board might have 5000 signals and the processing power of a small computing cluster. Am I tech savvy? Or do I need a Facebook account to be elevated to that level?

  • by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:14PM (#33185428)

    Same thing happened with radio. In the age of crystal sets, everyone who was interested built one. Not everyone did, but those who were so inclined could build from scrap. Then it was just something that everyone had in their car. Now most people don't even know who Marconi was and if you asked them the difference between a dipole and a Yagi, they'd probably think you were some weirdo.

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:41PM (#33185572)

    This is an odd story. I think that it is finding some true findings while completely missing the point. WHY is the net generation not adapting to Net 2.0. Is it because "they don't like the internet" or that they just dislike net 2.0? Speaking from experience, I prefer the wild west environment of the internet. I enjoy, regardless of whether I agree with it or not, being able to see the viewpoints and content of almost an endless variety of people.

    For an example: If I want to see what dispicable racists believe in to further disprove their theories, I can freely see what they are saying. It's this unregulated, highly diverse environment that I enjoy about the internet. I want to see the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to have free choice of what I wish to observe, from the bizarre and socially unacceptable to the mundane and standard.

    As for Net 2.0: While it does have some redeeming qualities for specific purposes, I don't tend to buy into it as any sort of "replacement". It is far too controlled and self regulated. Facebook does not want to entertain the ideas that even I find dispicible, which keeps me in the dark on their viewpoints, and leaves me feeling like I only get one side of the story which makes it much harder to strengthen my own beliefs. It attempts to censure political and controversial material as has been done on youtube, and facebook, and it is simply too cozy with law enforcement in ways that could lead to dangerous precedents for free thinkers to be persecuted and tracked. I much prefer an environement unfettered by authorities (whether governmental or private) in which I can experience all sides of every debate imaginable and make up my own mind as to what is acceptable and what is not. Also, I simply do not give a toss what my friend is eating for a midnight snack. If I wish to know, I'll ask them in person, in a phone call, or an email. I don't require a constant stream of their daily lives, as I can get that information without the use of any technology, in a much more meaningful way.

    As far as "living online", where the hell does this come into play as a good thing? Wouldn't it be a negative thing for people to forego the real world, even with the benefits of the internet? I would find this as a very positive piece of information. The internet should be a tool, not an entire lifestyle in and onto itself. By all means, geek it out, but go the hell outside once you're done. Vitamin D is good for you.

  • by ridley4 ( 1535661 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @11:44PM (#33185592)

    I'm probably a bit alone on this thing, but I may as well post my .02c

    I am a seventeen year old high school student and this struck a chord or ten. I always had a love of the technical and the arcane, from when I disassembled and reassembled everything I got my grubby little hands on. I've had to work with my similar-aged, and it just keeps on ringing in my head just how this vast network of loosely connected fiber and copper with the rare bits of 3.2GHz in the short haul is taken so for granted by every other person near my age. Never did I really look at anything without at least some bewilderment and awe at just how far technology has advanced in my two short decades of life.

    My first computer was an 80386 running MS-DOS, and I think I am not alone here (at least with the C64 crowd et al.) with how what I did mostly with it was spending hours and hours in the BASIC implementation, crappy as it as, it was definitely a thing I had a blast on, even if it wasn't a real programming language in all honesty. I remember just how astounding it was to look at the numbers when I migrated to a Tualatin Celeron with a jaw-dropping 1.2 GHz of raw processing power compared to something that didn't break the hundreds. And a GUI? And this strange mouse? What just invaded my desk? And... where did my system's guts go, over everything?!

    That old jalopy still held quite a bit of good times and memories, especially when I managed the impressive task of making a bouncing square on an NES with it or a loud and high pitched 25% duty cycle pulse wave that'd wake up the whole family with a press of A. I never did any concerted efforts to make any homebrew for it, that said. I even remember after reading this one guy's paper on the inner workings of Metroid's engine and spending more time in hex editors altering the the levels slightly. Hell, my first connection to the internet was a blazing fast 28.8k!

    Words can't describe how shocked I was at how carefree people were to the machines I studied so endlessly when I discovered in middle school most of the kids my age didn't even know what the NES is, let alone nifty little tricks like breaking the 10NES or bank-switching to deal with the low ceiling, or how I still can't understand how someone of any age has such a weak sense of wonder and amazement that they cannot care the slightest in how something works or why it works or why when you remove this little cylindrical thing the pretty pink smoke starts to puff from the magical box of P and N doped silicon. I couldn't leave anything alone and I made sure I knew what the hell happened in the appliances I used, simply because a black box is just dull and inviting to be pulled apart and (hopefully) put back together.

    Nor can any words put just how much I enjoyed studying the computers of older times, and just that same wonder once more when I realize that the PDP-8 at its most expansive configuration can be fully emulated on a CPU and its cache these days, or spending a few weeks with my father's tools making a mechanical turing machine (with an impressively large tape - 80 spaces made from a notched meter stick), the days I'd spend just learning, learning, learning. When I discovered Wikipedia in 2007 it was as if the world was opened to me, a compendium of all human knowledge (or at least the "relevant" part of it *cough*) at my fingertips, and I'd only have to wait a few minutes for an in-depth explanation on any topic I'd ever think of. The world-wide web is the reason why I had any chance at all to really get so deep into computing before even reaching the age of majority.

    And with this, I can say I really was born in the wrong generation. To get the chance to see the computing explosion and the rise of the internet as it happened than in retrospect is something I would kill to get, and it's a sad thing that nobody my age can give even a quarter of a damn about the engineering marvels they have in their homes. (I Am Not An Adult(tm), so YMMV on this statement and all that.)

  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:38AM (#33185784)
    If you'd asked my friends and I if we thought computers were a major force in our lives we would have said no, and we'd have been WRONG. Kids simply do not have the level of perspective required to determine whether something is intrinsic to their lives, and they certainly don't have the level of perspective to describe how we should be retooling our society. That's why Facebook can become a billion dollar company in the first goddamn place - because some savvy motherfucker with actual life experience knows how to inject this stuff into the lives of people without the filters required to avoid being seduced by technology. Also see: Extremely old people, people from extremely rural areas.
  • by Eric Freyhart ( 752088 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:59AM (#33185876) Journal
    I worked for one of the biggest IT firms in the country (hint: not Apple, not Google, not Hardware). I was chatting to another "older" system engineer about how people at work would choose certain devices to work/play with.

    The "younger" groups of people would ask for Macs on their workstations, but only for various things like surfing the Internet (we programmed on the PC). They would buy phones like Apple that had no real programing ability. They would use software that more or less was pre-set and required little in the way of knowledge on how it worked and minimal setup and customization time.

    The "older" folks always used devices they could "take apart". Programmable phones, PCs, etc. They would request software that required a higher level of learning and/or time to setup and customize.

    I have always believed this was one of the keys to success for companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Apple. They are simple and just function without a lot of fuss or glitter. Simply put, younger people tend to view the technology today like any other technology that has been around for a while. I am sure that the first time people got electricity run to their homes they would spend endless hours turning lights on and off and inviting friends over to see the new wonders. Now we just get pissed when a lightbulb blows out and expect it to work when we need it.

    I could be wrong on all this, but just something I observed over my programming career. Oh, and in 25 years of programming on the PC I still do not know any personal friends who actually "program" on an Apple computer or write apps for it. But I do have several friends who own one.
  • Ashamed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jrife0 ( 1836668 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @01:55AM (#33186048)
    This is why I sometime am ashamed to be part of my generation. Nobody seems to want to know how things work or even troubleshoot their own problems with a search engine. At least it will give me a chance to charge my friends for computer help :P.
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @02:07AM (#33186094)

    Just because young people don't want to know how transmission works? The purpose of Internet has always been communication among people, just like the purpose of cars has always been transportation. Weather you also like to rev up your engine is entirely up to you. But if you knew what expense, effort and delay was involved in your doctor communicating with 30 colleges in different countries in pre-net days, you would care that it's here.

  • Web 2.0 ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:44AM (#33186636) Homepage Journal
    excuse me, but im a web developer, and i dont give two shits about the Web 2.0. actually, is there even such a thing anymore ? was there ever one ?

    'net generation' does not mean that everyone would become a technophile. net generation meant that these generations would grow up with the effect of internet and the culture it brings on their lives. and voila - it did. billions around the world have much more in common with each other, than they do with their parents. games, instant messengers, forums, social networking sites, they grew up practically together.

    that's what net generation means.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson