Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crisis On The Internet

The American Registry for Internet Numbers has announced that the Internet is running out of addresses. An Associated Press article today explains the situation.

An even more serious problem is that, with all the texting, comment-posting, "social networking," and blogging going on, there is an imminent threat that we will soon run out of alphanumeric characters. Some experts say that this will occur well before we run out of things to say. Other experts disagree, saying we have already run out of things to say and are just jibber-jabbering at one another out of habit.

In any event, the International Authority on Alphanumeric Resource Allocations is reminding Internet users to substitute abbreviations, such as LOL, OMG, and the like, for actual words when and wherever possible. Their executive director points out that the use of emoticons can help, too, as they can clarify one's meaning and intent without the need for actual formal language. "One benefit of abbreviations and emoticons," he says, "is that they are perfect for the illiterate, which includes a large percentage of comment posters."

Google has been scanning books for some time now, in an effort to capture and recycle the letters they contain, but some conspiracy theorists insist the company secretly plans to hoard the increasingly valuable letters, corner the market, and dominate all text-based communications. A Google spokesperson declined to comment on the allegation, saying, "We never comment on allegations." She went on to ask, "Why don't you trust us? What have we ever done to you?"

No one knows whether the problem is of real concern or merely another bit of techno-hysteria like the Y2K "crisis." Nevertheless, Louise Laffersberg, a Minneapolis Internet user and mother of two or three (she can't recall for sure), summed up the feelings of many texters in a recent tweet, which said, "It's all @Obama's fault."