Resurfing The Net

Ottawa’s hot muggy summer has lowered my desire to go out for long walks. But I still need daily exercise.
So I’ve been spending time on my exercise bike instead. Did you want the details? I thought not.

Suffice it to say it isn’t a Peleton, the bike that is all the rage these days and which costs a couple of thousand dollars – plus a monthly subscription fee. Mine is about twenty years old and much more modest. No bells and whistles, but it works.

Exercise bikes are boring, which may be why the Peloton comes with a screen. (And I presume internet connectivity. Once I saw the price I didn’t investigate further.) Mine also comes with a screen – the television on the other side of the room.

I’ve been using the time on the bike to watch some old movies. I figure I don’t have to concentrate as much if I am watching something I have seen before.

Which explains why I just watched the 1995 film The Net. I figured it would be an amusing diversion as I laughed at the old technology. Except I didn’t do much laughing.

Yes, cell phones the size of bricks, dot matrix printers and primitive computer graphics brought back memories. But I had forgotten how scary the film was. 

The idea of bad guys controlling worldwide computer systems and identity theft seem so much more real today than they did in 1995. Back then you didn’t think it could happen to you. Today we know how easily it could. 

We have become so dependent on technology. Banking, communications, health care, even the way we work, has migrated online. Did you ever stop to think about what happens if the internet goes down? Not for an hour or two, but for weeks or months.

How do you get money? How do you prove you’ve paid your bills? How much do you have in the bank? How do you get your food? Do the lights still work? The traffic lights don’t. Will the water still be safe to drink?

What about communications? Cell phone networks and wired services alike depend on the internet these days in one form or another. I guess we could mail a letter.

While watching The Net I forgot all about our present global pandemic. A cyber breakdown, a virus of a different kind, seems much scarier.

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