Woe is me. Or as Frankie Howard used to say: "thrice woe is me." I seem to be suffering from Net overload. Too much time on the Net, too little reward for all that clicking, mousing around, and logging on again and again and again. You know the signs.
Password Failure Syndrome - you go on a site, it refuses to accept your password, you try again, you're kicked off. You go to a new site, fill out a tedious registration form and then get sent back because one of your entries reads like Swahili to the primitive intelligence running the site, you try again, you're sent back again. Password Exhaustion Syndrome - You enter a new site. Alright, you decide reluctantly to register. And then comes the password. You've used up all your favourites, your loved ones, your pet alligator, you've even made a few up: twinky, plinky, tonkey, and survived a bit longer with abbreviated names of the 1966 World Cup winning squad (even though you could only remember seven). And now, you've run out of new ideas. You hover over the keyboard in a stupor. You've hit the password wall. You're passworded out.
Hypertextion - Why me? I'm on a well-known site and I find an interesting link. I click only to find Error 404. This link is broken. Who you gonna call? Linkbusters? How do you link to them?
Personal Email Efficiency Phobia - You're at your desk at 8.30. You're still at your desk at 10.30. And you're still dealing with your email. The fantasies of teleworking (or tele-notworking) from your dream desert island are fading fast. You're getting drawn into responding to all these weirdos that spam you with invitations to cyberparties at a Web site not so far away. But in cyberspace no one can hear you scream. Or can they? Any of this sound familiar? The good news is, help is at hand. I have exclusive details of a new Web site under construction, codenamed WebDoctor.com. The cyber-friendly medics behind WebDoctor will be administering online help day and night for these new syndromes and predict that a slew of others will appear over the coming years.
Web Abduction Trauma - People who spend too long on their favourite sites fantasise they've been abducted by the site and are metamorphosising into their favourite Java animation.
Repetitive Web Syndrome - Workers in their thousands will sue their employers for being forced to spend hours trawling boring Web sites that promise to deliver high-quality content some time in the future.
Sick Intranet Syndrome - Named after the infamous Sick Building Syndrome.
Future workers will practically live on the company intranet, but lack of good housekeeping on some systems will lead to virtual worker absenteeism (staff drifting onto more interesting sites). They also predict that a whole new range of therapies will need to be developed.
Push Desensitisation - to reintegrate the personality of someone who has been taking in all the adverts and info-mation that is arriving at their desktops at 100 million bits per second.
Interface Aversion Therapy - during which users will be taught to see the screen and keyboard as friendly objects that "empower their working experience" rather than "damn techy gismos".
Dr Konstantine JPEG, who is responsible for bringing DocWeb to life, kindly met me in his favourite chat area to give me an online checkup. He checked my URL rate, my bandwidth, my hypertext response rate, and looked at my daily intake of sites and downloaded software. "You're in a sorry state," he said cheerily. "I saw someone in your state a year or so ago. Now he's installed a megastream line into his house and he's got WebTV in every room. He spends all day emailing Microsoft about bugs in Internet Explorer version 9. Considering Microsoft hasn't even got the bugs out of version 4 yet, it's very worrying."
I could see where he was heading. But what was the cure? I didn't like the sound of the online epidural or the Webectomy. No way. Instead I opted for the online health program. All I have to do is log on to DocWeb every day and take part in online group therapy. I'm doing quite well, really. I've got 350 "health is wealth" cyberpoints in my "healthy person virtual wallet". I only need 650 more to be allowed to surf freely again. Now where is that beta of Microsoft Explorer version 11?
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