Thinking Out Loud

June 7, 2012

Post 2,000: Of the Writing of Blog Posts There is No End

340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Solomon would probably have had a lot to say about social media.  The verse alluded today is Eccl. 12:12

New Living Translation (©2007)
But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.

Living at a time when there was no word for “million” — and no need for one for many centuries to follow — Solomon, the man of many words, would be at a loss for some on encountering the number undecillion which means “trillion trillion trillion.”  Pardon me while I update my spell-check.

CNN reports:

One of the crucial mechanisms powering the Internet got a giant, years-in-the-making overhaul on Wednesday.

When we say “giant,” we’re not kidding. Silly-sounding huge number alert: The Internet’s address book grew from “just” 4.3 billion unique addresses to 340 undecillion (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion)…

The Internet is running out of addresses, and if nothing were done, you certainly would notice. New devices simply wouldn’t be able to connect.

To prevent that from happening, the Internet Society, a global standards-setting organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and Reston, Va., has been working for years to launch a new Internet Protocol (IP) standard called IPv6.

IP is a global communications standard used for linking connected devices together. Every networked device — your PC, smartphone, laptop, tablet and other gizmos — needs a unique IP address.

With IPv6, there are now enough IP combinations for everyone in the world to have a billion billion IP addresses for every second of their life

That sounds unimaginably vast, but it’s necessary, because the number of connected devices is exploding. By 2016, Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) predicts there will be three networked devices per person on earth. We’re not just talking about your smartphone and tablet; your washing machine, wristwatch and car will be connected too. Each of those connected things needs an IP address.

Then there’s all the items that won’t necessarily connect to the Internet themselves, but will be communicating with other wired gadgets. Developers are putting chips into eyeglasses, clothes and pill bottles. Each one of those items needs an IP address as well.

The current IP standard, IPv4, was structured like this: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, with each “xxx” able to go from 0 to 255. IPv6 expands that so each “x” can be a 0 through 9 or “a” through “f,” and it’s structured like this: xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx.

[continue reading at CNN Money]

Running out of addresses?  That sounds familiar.  The way things are going, next thing they’ll be making us use ten digit dialing to reach a local phone number.

But washing machines and pill bottles aside, there are a lot voices competing for you attention.  The conversation table is getting larger and larger and technically everyone has a seat at every conversation.

One minute you have something you want to share with a handful of friends, and the next thing you know, you’ve written 2,000 blog posts.

I write about faith-focused issues, but nothing stops me from dropping by a site devoted to organic gardening, Formula One racing, or Spanish literature and leaving a comment, even if I have no idea what on earth — or woe?, as the kids say — I am talking about.  And nothing stops the biblically illiterate and the theologically challenged from dropping by here and pontificating about the state of affairs at the Crystal Cathedral, Max Lucado’s latest book, or something quoted from Augustine.

The only option is that the ‘open’ internet suddenly starts to have closed doors.  A few minutes ago an online acquaintance suggested I visit a particular web page where I was met with:

“But wait a minute;” I said to no one in particular, “This is me. I belong here.”

Is this the future?

Another generation of hip Christians once sat around campfires singing,

I’ll shout it from the mountain tops
I want my world to know
The Lord of love, has come to me
I want to pass it on.

Well, they (we?) thought they (we?) were hip. But the desire to share a message, to bring good news, to evangelize was implicit in faith.

And I’ve always been part of that.  Just weeks ago, I realized that so much of what I have done in my life has revolved around wanting to spread the word on something.  To let people know about something.  To network.  To connect individuals with resources.  To introduce people to new ideas.

The internet is the perfect medium for shouting a message.  Blogging is one of many ideal platforms.  You can indeed make your message heard even among the gazillion — or maybe that should be undecillion — writers screaming for attention.  Just recently this blog rated #7 in a top 50 list of Christian blogs ranked by the number of Google indexed pages.  Yeah, really; little old me just sitting next to the wood stove in my log cabin high up on a mountain surrounded by pine trees.  (Actually, that would be quite nice.)

But you have to shout really loud to make yourself heard because there are

So. Many. Voices.

Several undecillion of them.  (But not that one, that’s a coffee pot in New Jersey.)

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April 29, 2011

Where the Large Screen Holds the Advantage

Even if your life revolves entirely around the small screen, the computer screen, it would take some rather selective reading to not have known about this morning’s royal wedding.  But I suggest that it would be possible to have entirely missed the devastation that weather brought to many U.S. states in the last 48 hours.

The computer has no equivalent of, “We interrupt this program;” or “We interrupt this broadcast.”  Unlike your cell phone, which depending on where you live can broadcast amber alerts in the event of an abducted child, your computer internet connection has no similar features although it might in the future, no capacity — unless you program alerts — to inform you of breaking news.

The events of this week in the U.S. included a period where there were 164 tornadoes in 24 hours.  Some have called it a “hundred year” weather situation; a term also used months ago to describe flooding in Tennessee.  As I wrote yesterday at Christianity 201, God may have promised not to ever flood the whole earth again, but the promise is not explicit concerning hurricanes, tornadoes or localized flooding.

Was God’s promise an across-the-board promise not to use weather to bring judgment, or does it only apply to global flooding?

I’m not even sure that’s the right question.  I’m not sure questions are the right response.  I’m also acutely aware that anything I write here stands the risk or stands the test of being read by family of people who have lost homes, possessions and even loved ones.

Instead, my mind went to the liturgical phrase, kyrie eleison, Lord have mercy.  As I researched this phrase both in religious websites and in blogs, it occurred to me that this is the phrase we can say when there is nothing left to say.  It is the phrase voiced by desperate people in desperate times.

These are troubled times for many people this morning, both those reeling from earlier midwest flooding and those dealing with the loss of entire neighborhoods from this week’s tornadoes.  Lives have been lost and homes and businesses have been destroyed. Christ followers — like everyone else — should be aware of the times, but in order to do so, we have to be careful that our daily internet routine includes some news feeds, or else our awareness of the broader world becomes selective:  Focused on soft news like royal weddings, but missing vital events such as this week’s weather events.  Were you aware of all that took place in the last 48 hours?

We now return you to our regular programming.

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