Text IIA

E-Mail - A BLESSING OR A CURSE ?

Last month, after a week's vacation, I discovered 1,218 unreade-mail messages waiting in my IN box. I pretended to be dismayed, but secretly I was pleased. This is how we measure our wired worth in the late 1990s - if you aren't overwhelmed by e-mail, you must be doing something wrong.

Never mind that there were perhaps seven messages actually worth reading. I had to spend half my workday just deleting junk. E-mail sucks. But wait - what about those seven? A close friend in Taipei I haven't seen in Text IIA five years tells me he's planning to start a family A complete stranger in Belgium sends me a hot story tip. Another stranger offers me a job. I'd rather lose an eye than lose an e-mail account. E-mail rocks! E-mail. Can't live with it, can't live with out it. Artists, advertisers and freedom fighters, lovers and sworn enemies - they've all flocked to e-mail they would to any new medium of expression. E-mail is convenient, saves time, brings us closer to one another, helps us manage our ever-more-complex lives Text IIA. Books are written, campaigns conducted, crimes committed - all via e-mail. But it is also inconvenient, wastes our time, isolates us in front of our computers and introduces more complexity into our already too-harried lives. To skeptics, e-mail is just the latest chapter in the evolving history of human communication. A snooping husband now discovers his wife's affair by reading her private e-mail - but he could have uncovered the same sin by finding letters a generation ago.

Yet e-mail - and all online communication - is in fact something truly different; it captures the essence of life Text IIA at the close of the 20th century with an authority that few other products of digital technology can claim. Does the pace of life seem ever faster? E-mail simultaneously allows us to cope with that acceleration and contribute to it The quick and dirty e-mail is made to order for those whose ability to concentrate is measured in nanoseconds. If we accept that the creation of the globe spanning Internet is one of the most important technological innovations of the last half of this century, then we must give e-mail - the living embodiment of human connection Text IIA across the Net -pride of place. The way we interact with each other is changing; e-mail is both the catalyst and the instrument of that change. The scope of the phenomenon is mind boggling. Worldwide, 225 million people can send and receive e-mail. According to Donna Hoffman, a professor of marketing at Vanderbildt University, one survey after another finds that when online users are asked what they do on the Net, "e-mail is always No. I." Oddly enough, no one planned it, and no one predicted it. When research scientists first began creating the Text IIA Internet's predecessor, the Arpanet, in 1968, their primary goal was to enable disparate computing centers to share resources. "But it didn't take very long before they discovered that the most important thing was the ability to send mail around, which they had not anticipated at all," says Eric Allman, chief technical officer of Send-mail, Inc., and the primary author of a 20-year-old pro-gram - Sendmail - that still transports the vast majority of the world's e-mail across the Internet. It seems that what all those top computer scientists really wanted to use the Internet for was Text IIA as a place to debate, via e-mail, important topics. Even though Allman is now quite proud that his software helps hundreds of millions of people communicate, he says he didn't set out originally to change the world. As a systems administrator at UC Berkeley in the late '70s, he was constantly hassled by computer-science researchers in one building who wanted to get their e-mail from machines in another location. "I just wanted to make my life easier," says Allman. Don't we all? When my first child was born in 1994, e-mail seemed to me some Text IIA kind of Promethean gift perfectly designed to help me cope with the irreconcilable pressures of new-father-hood and full-time freelance writing. It saved me time and money without ever requiring me to leave the house; it salvaged my social life, allowed me to conduct interviews as a reporter and kept a lifeline open to my far-flung extended family. My mother grasped, long before the Inter-net became a household word, how online communication offered new possibilities for widening physical limitations, how as simple a thing as e-mail could bring us closer to those whom we love Text IIA. It may even help us find those whom we want to love in the first place. Jenn Shreve is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area who keeps a close eye on the emerging culture of the new online generation. For the last couple of years, she's seen what she considers to be a positive change in online dating habits. E-mail, she argues, encourages the shy. "It offers a semi-risk-free environment to initiate romance," says Shreve. "Because it lacks the immediate threat of physical rejection, people who are perhaps shy or Text IIA had painful romantic fail-ures in the past can use the Internet as a way to build a relationship in the early romantic, stages." But it's not just about lust. E-mail also flattens hierarchies within an office. It is far easier, Shreve notes, to make a suggestion to your superiors and col-leagues via e-mail than it is to do so in a pressure-filled meeting room. "Any time when you have something that is difficult to say, e-mail can make it easier," she says. "It serves as a buffer zone."

If it is Text IIA true that hours spent on the Net are often hours subtracted from watching television, one could argue that the digital era has raised the curtains on a new age of literacy - more people are writing more words than ever before! But what kind of words are we writing? Are we really more literate, or are we sliding ever faster into a quicksand of meaningless irrelevance, of pop-cultural triviality?



NEWSWEEK SEPTEMBER 20. 1999

Vocabulary.

blessing - благословение

curse - проклятие

pretend - притворяться, делать вид

dismay - обескуражить

measure - измерять, оценивать our

wired worth - цена наличия компьютера

late 1990s - конец 1990-х

overwhelm - забросать

wrong - неверно, неправильно

actually - на самом деле

worth reading - стоит прочитать

delete - уничтожать, стирать

junk Text IIA - разг.: отбросы, мусор

suck - засасывать

complete - абсолютный, полный

stranger - незнакомец

tip - намек

account - счет (в банке)

rock - укачивать, убаюкивать

sworn enemies - закляые враги

flock to - здесь: держаться за

medium - средство

expression - выражение

convenient - удобный

save time - экономить время

bring* closer - сближать

manage - распоряжаться

ever-more-complex - все более сложный

campaign - кампания

conduct - проводить

crime - преступление

commit - совершать

via - через, посредством

waste - терять понапрасну

introduce - вводить, вносить

too-harried - слишком поспешный

latest chapter - последняя глава

snoop - совать нос в чужие дела

discover - обнаруживать

affair - дело

uncovered - нераскрытый

sin - грех

generation - поколение

capture - охватить, захватить

claim - претендовать (на), утверждать

pace - поступь, скорость (времени)

simultaneously - одновременно

cope (with) - справляться (с)

acceleration - ускорение

contribute - вносит вклад

creation - создание

globe spanning - соединивший весь мир

embodiment - воплощение

connection - связь

pride - гордость

interact - взаимодействовать

catalyst - ускоритель

scope - объем

boggle - портить, неумело обращаться

survey - исследование

oddly - странно

predict - предсказывать

predecessor - предшественник

primary - первоочередной, основной

goal Text IIA - цель

enable - позволять

disparate - (совсем) разные

share - совместно пользоваться

anticipate - предвидеть

vast majority - подавляющее большинство

originally - исходно, в самом начале

hassle - разг.: убеждать

location - место

irreconcilable - несовместимый

father-hood - отцовство

freelance writing - работа свободного писателя

require - требовать(ся)

salvage - спасать

conduct - проводить

far-flung - разбросанные вдалеке

extended - обширный

grasp - уловить суть, понять

household word - повседневное слово

widen - расширять

limitation - ограничение

bring* closer - сближать

emerging - зарождающийся, возникающий

dating - свидание

habit- привычка

encourages the shy - подбадривать застенчивых

immediate - немедленный

threat - угроза

rejection - отказ, отрицание

painful - болезненный

fail-ure - неудача, провал

flatten - сглаживать

superior - вышестоящий; начальник

buffer - буфер, смягчение

sub-tract - отвлекать (от)

argue - спорить, доказывать

raise the cur-tains - поднять занавес

age of literacy - век грамотности

literate - грамотный

slidе - скользить

quicksand - зыбучий песок

irrelevance - неуместность, несоответствие


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