Silicon Snake Oil Essay, Research Paper
Silicon Snake OilSecond Thoughts on the Information HighwayClifford StollThe book Silicon Snake Oil : Second Thoughts On The Information Highway affected me bymaking me look at the internet and the information explosion of the 1990’s from a differentperspective. The author states his ideas on the subject and uses personal experiences tostate and supports his ideas. He also gives examples of ironic situations where computersare supposed to be quicker and easier to perform a specific task and in reality they arenot. The author supported his point of view that the internet and the information highway were not necessarily good by using some true and hypothetical situations that illustrate his views. An example of this was of e-mail* and is it really better than regular mail. His argument was that although e-mail can be faster and cheaper it is also impersonal, difficult to access, boring, and can be unreliable due to computer failure. Although regular US mail is often times slower and more expensive it is very reliable and more personal than e-mail. Another good argument the author makes is about the claims that computers make your life simpler and easier. He says that a computer can make certain
tasks simpler and easier to do if you know how to use a computer and use the specific program needed to complete the specific task. If you do not know how to use a computer or are just learning how to use one, performing new tasks can be very difficult and frustrating. This is because computers are difficult to learn about and understand because they are different from most other equipment. Even someone who knows how to use a computer proficiently can still have a hard time using new software because every program is different and requires the user to learn the commands for it. This book presented a perspective on the internet and the information highway that differed from most people’s ideas. I enjoyed reading this book because it provided e with a point of view that I had never really thought of before. I do not agree with many of his ideas but I think some of his points are valid.* E-mail stands for electronic mail. It is a typed message sent from one computer toanother. To use e-mail you need to subscribe to an on-line service and have a modem thatenables one computer to communicate to another computer through telephone wires.