Can You Really Get "Addicted" to the Web?

Apparently yes, you really can get "addicted" to the Web. And despite the many jokes about it, Web addiction is becoming more serious for both teens and adults.

Researchers are finding that teens who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to become addicted to the Internet. They are also finding that adults who spend many hours everyday involved in pornographic websites, gaming sites, and online communities are likely to be depressed, according to The Week.

Internet addiction has been a problem for the South Koreans and Chinese who, because they embraced mobile technology much earlier on than we did, are already going to rehab for Internet addiction. Now Americans have an Internet rehab facility too. A new center called reSTART opened in Washington, ironically near the Redmond headquarters of Microsoft. For $14,000 it offers a 45-day program intended to help people wean themselves from pathological computer use, which can include obsessive use of video games, texting, Facebook, eBay, Twitter and any other time-killers brought courtesy of technology.

Are you or is someone you love addicted to the Internet? Take this test and find out!

As more studies continue to emerge about teens and adults who "spend nearly every waking minute on the net or playing video games" the chicken-and-egg question remains unsolved: Does heavy Internet use cause people to be depressed and lonely, or do depressed and lonely people gravitate to excessive time on the Internet?
What do you think?
Erin



The iPad: Will it change your life?

Fans of Apple's new iPad are predicting it will have a revoltuionary impact, changing the way people consume books, newspapers, and magazines, and bringing high-definition movies, videos, and TV shows to a protable, right-sized screen. Count me among the converted, said Farhad Manjoo in Slate.com as reported in The Week. Having just handled one myself, count me among the converted too!

The thin, flat, 1.5 pound wonder unveiled by Apple founder Steve Jobs this month is a perfect hybrid of laptop and smart phone. It will enable people to cruise the Internet and read email on a relatively large, almost magical touch screen. It runs for 10 hours, without having to be recharged. Best of all, it's a huge upgrade on Amazon's Kindle, providing a more intimate, full-color alternative in which the user sees two pages at a time, with a crease down the middle. Readers can turn pages instantaneously with a flick of their fingers.

"The iPad is undeniably cool, but it's hard to see where it will fit in," said Nancy Dillon in the New York Daily News. "It's another device I never knew I needed." The iPad has no digital camera, so you can't use it for video calls. It doesn't multitask (what!), so you can't surf the Web shile checking email (hello?). And it can't run applications that Apple hasn't approved. Having said that, Version 2.0 is sure to be better.

Tablet devices like theiPad are the wave of the future, destined to make your PC obsolete. Today, most poeple want their computers to connect to the vast databases of the Internet--known as the cloud--whenever they want and wherever they are. The iPad, for all its imperfections, has made that movement inexorable. "Whether it finds mainstream success or not, there's no going back."

Have you tried the iPad yet?
Erin

Can Facebook Affect Your Credit?


It's become common practice for marketers to glean information from social networking sites. Now, like many campus admission boards and future employers, financial lenders are studying your Facebook and Twitter updates "to gauge your creditworthiness." In particular, small, private lenders seem most likely to tune into your tweets to get a better idea of your lifestyle and how likely you are to pay.

As crazy as it sounds, your digital footprint is also based on your tweets. "Chances are slim" that larger lenders bother to keep tabs on you in detail -- but if they do, it could be considered a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. To be safe, give lenders, and any non-personal accounts, a different email address from the one attached to your private or social networking accounts.

Internet Terms for Word Lovers Worldwide

Before he passed away, William Safire asked me to compile a list of new Internet terms that were both clever and relevant. Even though he referenced NetLingo in his column, the list never got published. Here are 25 Internet terms for word lovers, enjoy!

vlog - (pronounced like blog) - It is a blog that provides a video journal on a subject rather than text entries. Basically this is blogging using video, and can best be thought of as an online video diary. Video blogs may be watched on the computer or downloaded to a portable device for later viewing. Like audio Podcasts, vlogs may also be delivered on demand via RSS feeds.

blogosphere - "Reaction was swift in the blogosphere." Blogs are transforming the way journalists report, filter and break the news. Are you part of the community?

phishing - (pronounced "fishing") - An online scam in which the perpetrator sends out a large number of legitimate looking e-mails that appear to come from respected companies, but in fact lead to a spoof Web site in order to steal your information. I've listed everything you need to know including an example.

pharming (pronounced "farming") - The latest cyberswindle, pharming, threatens to reel in entire schools of victims. It is a fast-spreading online scam which redirects Web users to phony sites where criminals can capture passwords and other data. Unlike phishing, which targets one user at a time, pharming nabs multiple victims at once.

harvest or harvesting - Similar to the traditional definition of gathering crops off the fields, harvesting in the online world refers to gathering e-mail addresses or IM addresses from the Internet. For example, harvesting is the leading method spammers use to acquire new addresses.

keylogger - Short for keystroke logging, this is a computer program or a hardware device designed to record a user's keystrokes. The "keylogger" records everything the user types in, including e-mails, login names, passwords, credit card numbers, bank account info, etc., in order to steal this information. It was originally created as a diagnostic tool for software development. Known as the computer virus that takes spying on victims to another level, this malicious program is capable of switching on a webcam for instance, allowing the hacker to literally peek into victims' lives!

whack - Online jargon used to describe a forward slash (/) in a URL. For example: you may hear "http colon whack whack dub-dub-dub dot netlingo dot com". I've heard it 8 times in the last week! For a full explanation, and a second definition, look it up in the dictionary.

RFID (pronounced: R-F-I-D) It used to be for cattle, now it's for humans. High-tech tagging goes mainstream, you've got to read these real life examples!

RSS - "Really Simple Syndication" which is basically a format for syndicating Web content. To learn more about it, see examples, and get the code to use it yourself, go to this definition.

ransom note - Chances are you've seen one of these by now but didn't know it had a name. You know, those images of wavy letters
or numbers you have to manually type in to go to the next page. Go to this definition to see an example.

geocaching - Got an adventurous streak? Are you a gadget freak? How about a big fan of the great outdoors? Then this high-tech treasure hunt may be for you...

travel bug - This refers to the hidden cache or newly discovered treasure one locates when geocaching.

telematics - This describes the technology that wirelessly connects the electronics in a vehicle to external hardware, usually GPS satellites. The role of telematics will expand to allow music to download directly to a car stereo through a wireless broadband connection. In fact, the Consumer Electronics Association predicts that the future of telematics lies in entertainment: TV, movies and games piped into the car wirelessly.

silver surfer - An adult, generally 50 years of age or older, who frequently surfs the Web and spends time online. Unlike neophytes, silver surfers are considered netizens.

hot spot - Many national and local retailers, especially coffee shops, are now hot spots, places with wireless Internet connections.

tribal knowledge - For those of you who have worked on a particular project since its inception, you're more than just a knowledge worker, you've got tribal knowledge.

breadcrumb - This one is clever, it's the nickname for the kind of top navigation menu that uses a string of section names to identify where you are. Used as a verb it's even better, such as "We can breadcrumb this section so we don't have to pile up content in the left nav." Go to this link to see an example.

eating your own dog food - If you're in the software industry and you're not "eating your own dog food" you'd better sit up. Even Microsoft does it daily. The phrase "eating your own dog food" has morphed into a verb: "We've got to dog-food that product" (meaning we've got to start using our own product internally at our company).

cookies - you've heard of them, are you sure you know what they are? If you do, then you know it is important to find, view, edit, and delete some of them on a regular basis. Speaking of cookies, they continue to prevail as an important Internet technology and like many good oldies but goodies, their usage has since morphed into a verb: "Don't worry about the backend reporting yet, we first have to cookie them." Love it!

little r - Yesterday I received an e-mail at work from a colleague asking "Can you please little "r" me?" I was like, what does that mean?

photonics (pronounced: foe-tahn-ix) - foreign to you? Over the coming years it will become as much a part of the popular lexicon as "electronics" is today. It is the science and technology of using light particles (photons) to carry information over hair-thin fibers of glass (as in fiber-optics).

microphotonics - It is said that photonic crystals are to photons what semiconductors are to electrons. Things keep getting smaller.

push - as opposed to pull, do you know difference? Is the Web push or pull technology? Is e-mail push or pull? Answer: The Web is pull technology and e-mail is push. It's easy to understand once you read the explanations.

contextually aware - Wireless apps of the future will know what you're doing, where you're doing it, and maybe even why. The idea is also known as
"conceptually aware" software and networks. I love reporting on stuff like this, but are we really ready for all these sensors?

grid computing - A form of networking that uses the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem at the same time. IBM's VP for
Internet strategies says, "it's the next big thing." Alien enthusiasts, on the other hand, have known about it for quite some time :^)

cloud computing - A style of computing in which dynamic, scalable and virtual resources are provided over the Internet. Cloud computing refers to services that provide common business applications online, which are accessed from a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

If you haven't already, use the links to subscribe to NetLingo: The Blog ;-)
Erin