Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
There is probably no other medium on the planet which can offer access
to so many untruths, scams, deceptions and ill-informed perspectives as
the Internet does.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Once upon a time the Net was largely filled with very factual stuff, mainly
consisting of the work of academics. If you found some information on the
Net then you could bet on its credibility being fairly good -- or at least
if it was simply theorising or postulation, it was clearly marked as such.
These days however, things are a lot different.
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Of course there are the mainstream news sites such as CNN who we can rely
on to publish only the truth -- or can we?.
Unfortunately, there's also a huge amount of hype and plain misinformation
being published on the Web too.
Some of this garbage comes from the usual expected sources -- such as individuals
who have already come to the attention of authorities and offer promises
such as free electricity
but some of it also appears to come from more credible sources.
Take Microsoft for example -- according to
this story (ZDNET)
they've been engaging in rigging after an online poll indicated that the
software giant's new .NET strategy was none too popular with customers.
Of course there's nothing illegal about what Microsoft did -- and some would
say that it wasn't even dishonest -- they just reminded people to vote for
them. However, since there was nobody (obviously) lobbying for Microsoft's
competitors, did it turn the poll into another piece of Net misinformation?
Another very interesting piece of possible misinformation might be the claims
made this week by a group of commercial researchers who claim to have invented
a new data compression technique
(the Zero Space Tuner) that can offer compression rates up to ten times that
of existing algorithms.
Imagine that -- VHS-quality video over your 56Kbps modem!
But hang on -- I've seen claims like this on the Net before.
Back in 1998, an Australian by the name of Adam Clark told the world that *HE*
had invented a new compression algorithm that would allow full-screen (768x576),
full motion video (25 frames/sec) complete with stereo audio to be delivered
across the Net using standard dial-up modems.
Like the Zero Space Tuner, Clark's algorithm also promised a 1000:1 compression ratio.
Here's some of the
original media coverage
of the miracle compression breakthrough.
Unfortunately, as was anticipated by just about everyone except the easily duped
journos and mental midgets amongst us, the whole thing appears to have been
So what chance is there that the "Zero Space Tuner" will live up to its bold
claims where Clark's Platform was exposed as yet another piece of disinformation.
Well just ask yourself -- what ever became of Cold Fusion and, closer to home,
the Split Cycle engine invented by Kiwi Rick Mayne?
Mayne managed to rake up millions of dollars of investors' money by making wild
claims for this "breakthrough" new engine. I still have a promotional video
here which showed their one and only prototype running and included promises
of deals with European auto-makers and universities.
These days, even their website is
The moral is -- don't believe what you read on the Web.
Note: parts or all of this column may be incorrect ;-)
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