THE END OF AN ERA
In 3 months, at the end of 2022, The Ericle website will officially close down.
However, nil desperandum, The Ericle will live on as an email publication. So, if you are reading this via your inbox, we will still be connected ….. BUT IF you are reading this on the web, and still want to dip into The Ericle, you will need to drop me a line at
EricleLondon At(symbol) Gmail.com
I am taking this course of action as keeping the site safe from so-called ‘bot-attacks’ is becoming onerous and disproportionate. On average, the site has been the subject of around 3000 (thousand) such attacks each month. Last December the sheer volume of such attacks brought the site down and, since then, I have had to invest in ‘protection’. There is also the further matter of getting SSL certification, an ideal which is of value to major internet operators but is really of little consequence to a minnow like myself and would require yours truly to further put his hands into his pocket in quite a substantial way. In short, I feel that I am becoming the victim of a shakedown! It’s not, Dear Reader, that I don’t think you’re worth it, rather that there is an email work around. And, though I will miss the vicarious thrill of the Unknown Reader, I will take solace in the knowledge that the community of Ericle subscribers – even possibly, readers (😉) – lives on.
All this is long cry away from that exciting day in 1995 when, with the aid of Netscape and the squawks of a modem, I connected for the first time to the Worldwide Web. Looking back on it now, those heady early days of the internet were the virtual equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down or The Arab Spring. All Good Things seemed possible when built upon the edifice of idealistic thinking. The assumption, of course, was a fallacy – an erroneous identification of the individual in terms of benevolence only; a state of innocence that could never survive beyond the Virtual Garden Of Eden.
Many of my UK readers will have seen The Capture, a TV series, in which external and internal forces conspire to affect political outcomes via direct video manipulation of real time events. A reductio ad absurdum? Almost certainly so but the fact remains that the technology that could enable such outcomes is with us today, and that technology is at the centre of much of the false-flag and post-truth issues with which we are dealing. Hopefully no Ericle reader has responded to emails from relatives stranded in foreign lands for lack of funds or has attempted to opportunistically benefit from unclaimed inheritances in Nigeria. Nevertheless, we all have received more credible messages demanding immediate response from the tax authorities and the like about our bank accounts being in mortal danger and some of us have responded. I certainly have; revealing my Google log-ins in order to view a “You must see this!” email from a cloned trusty friend.
As many of you may know, I was involved with an organisation, Coffee & Computers, which helped folk of my generation, some younger and others older, get to grips with smartphones and the like. In 2015, we met on a monthly basis in Highgate, a wealthy area that straddles the London Boroughs of Camden, Haringey & Islington. Attendees there were principally concerned with gaining social and domestic pleasure from new technology gifted to them by their loving offspring. As the project spread to less well-off neighbourhoods we often encountered ‘I, Daniel Blake’ clients, for whom e-communicating with government agencies was a desperate necessity. To such clients, the internet presented itself as a 21st century Satanic mill – an uncaring, impersonal, beast that dehumanised their everyday existence.
This is not the time and the place to analyse the dynamics involved in such particular transactions. For me, these experiences underscore the plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose nature of the relationship between ‘progress’ and the human condition. The cork can never be put back in the champagne bottle. It is inevitable that change creates winners and losers. What is not inevitable is how much the winners care about what is happening to the losers. Our response to this, as individuals, ultimately will determine the quality of the society we live in. With regards to The Ericle’s ‘little problem’, the answer is to deploy a work-around rather than to stop communicating.
As I head ever deeper into my 8th calendar-decade, despite all of the above, I still very strongly believe that the internet has been the technical innovation of my lifetime. No other phenomenon has had such a wide impact on the day-to-day lives of this world’s inhabitants. The 20th century world, which was already moving at an exponential rate, was kicked on further at comparative warp speed. Barriers to knowledge have disappeared, empirical disputations settled immediately via reference to Mr Google and resources – previously the domain of encyclopaedias, archives and almanacs – have become available to all, most at no cost. The impact on institutions – governmental, political, commercial and educational – has been incredible, almost unimaginable. As individuals, today we have the ability to keep in contact with a larger circle of friends, acquaintances and colleagues – in word, sound & vision – than could ever be dreamed possible. One could even write a blog, if one was so minded.