Psychiatrist pushes for internet mental illness recognition

By Mark O’Neill

Bad news geeks. A psychiatrist is pushing for internet addiction – “excessive gaming, sexual pre-occupations and e-mail/text messaging” – to be classified as a mental illness which means the most serious cases could warrant medication or even a stay in a hospital, like all those gamers in China.   Do you get broadband in hospital?

“Like other addicts, users experience cravings, urges, withdrawal and tolerance, requiring more and better equipment and software, or more and more hours online”, according to Dr. Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. Dr. Block says people can lose all track of time or neglect “basic drives,” like eating or sleeping. “Relapse rates are high”, he writes, “and some people may need psychoactive medications or hospitalization”.

With China and South Korea already doing something about their internet addicts, Dr Block wonders if it is about time that the rest of the world starts doing something too. But colleagues are deeply sceptical, wondering if internet addiction is still in its early stages to be called a mental condition and they argue that it is extremely difficult for a doctor to determine when someone’s internet addiction has crossed over from being normal to being unhealthy.

If internet addiction is an illness, I’m a terminal case!

But don’t worry boys and girls. The next edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” isn’t due out until 2012. Until then, I think we’re safe. In the meantime, you can go back to your World of Warcraft. Play on.



XP SP3 to be released next month!

XP SP3Here’s some great news for all you die-hard XP fans: XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) will be released in April! This is most assuredly the last major update the operating system will receive until the end of its life, as Microsoft will remove it from store shelves in June.

SP3 contains 1073 patches and hotfixes. Of those, 114 are security-related. The 959 remaining are geared toward improving the performance and reliability of the OS. It even seems that SP3 could improve XP’s performance by up to 10 percent!

When I think that Vista SP1 didn’t improve anything on my work system, I can’t help but feel depressed.



Save us from the freaky evil FriendFeed!

By Mark O’Neill

Sometimes I don’t know why I bother with all the technophobes of this world.

I’ve been working on the internet exclusively for the past two years now. This makes for some very interesting conversation at dinner parties when someone asks me what I “do”. I’m sure you’ve had the same problem explaining what you do for a job. You have the doctor explaining the latest rectal examination technique, the lawyer bragging about the latest billion dollar lawsuit they’ve just won, the businessman giving you the ups and downs of the NASDAQ…..then they turn to me and I start talking about the unfairness of the new Digg algorithim. Is it me or is everyone fidgeting? Why is that woman looking at her watch? Why is the lawyer holding the butter knife as if he wants to use it as a murder weapon?

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Is Safari taking Windows users for a ride?

This morning after I logged in, Apple’s Software Update program popped up and asked me if I wanted to install Safari.  “Safari? ” I wondered, “the only Apple software I’ve installed on this system is the QuickTime+ITunes bundle.  Why’s it asking me about Safari?”

But I’ve mean meaning to install Safari anyway to test browser compatibility, so I said, “Sure, why not?”

Well, apparently a lot of folks out there aren’t as easygoing about this as I am.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly says:

It’s wrong because it undermines the trust that we’re all trying to build with users. Because it means that an update isn’t just an update, but is maybe something more. Because it ultimately undermines the safety of users on the web by eroding that relationship. It’s a bad practice and should stop.

Of course he’s not biased.

I guess maybe most users don’t pay much attention to what they’re installing on their systems, and just click OK to anything that pops up and asks for their permission.  Maybe it’s becoming a knee-jerk reaction in response to Vista’s UAC.

My own opinion is that this isn’t such a big deal.  What I was choosing to install was quite clear to me, and I had the option of saying no without losing any other functionality or security.  And if you don’t know what Safari is, Google can take you there as its first result.

What do you think?  Is Apple pushing its products in too subtle a fashion here?

Oh, and as for that browser compatibility test… it looks like I may have some work to do.

Take the television but leave the Internets alone!

By Mark O’Neill

kjkjkkk_noose.jpgA new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that more Americans would prefer to give up the television than lose their internet connection by a margin of 45% to 43%.

It also found that losing their internet connection for a sustained period of time would make people think they had been transported back to the Dark Ages. This leads to the best quote of the article :

“I suspect for a lot of people, if you cut that cord, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves,” said Bob Papper, a media professor at Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y. “They’d be paralyzed without the internet. They might have to read.”

As well as being funny, it is also very startling.   It makes you realise how much the internet has penetrated our lives to the point that we’d be ‘paralyzed’ without it.    That losing the internet would force us to do something as basic as read a book.    That’s why I chose a man and a noose as the illustration for this post – because losing their internet connection and their computer would probably make a few die-hard net surfers choose the ultimate way out.    It’s sad but it’s probably true.

What about you? Being a geek, I’m sure the TV would be history if you had to choose but if the internet connection went down, how long is too long? How long before you started chewing the sofa or ripping the wallpaper in frustration?  How long before you considered picking up that book and starting to read?    How long before you declared Holy War on the internet provider?

Lenovo X300 versus MacBook Air Comparison

Yep folks, Lenovo has decided to try and compete against the MacBook Air with their new x300 ultra-light and ultra-thin laptop. Here is a quick comparison chart between the two ultra-portables:

Lenovo Thinkpad X300 Apple MacBook Air
Processor: Core 2 Duo
Weight: 2.9 to 3.1 pounds
Thickness: 0.92 in.
Screen: 13.3 LED
Resolution: 1440X900
Removable Battery
Connectivity: Ethernet, Wi-Fi
3 USB ports
DVD drive: YES
Price: $2700 to $3000 USD


Processor: Core 2 Duo
Weight: 3 pounds
Thickness: 0.76 inches
Screen: 13.3 LED
Resolution: 1280X800
Non-Removable Battery
Connectivity: Wi-Fi Only
1 USB ports
DVD drive: NO
Price: $1800 to $3100 USD


Ok, the X300 may be a little thicker, but it has a lot more features, including 3 USB ports, an Ethernet port, and a DVD drive. I think this makes the X300 a much better option for people on the move when compared to the MacBook Air, even if it’s running XP. Business users looking for portability won’t even have to look twice before purchasing this one.

Service Review: Professional Drive Recovery Service

Drive Recovery Service Review

Losing a hard drive full of data is certainly a stressful affair. Not only will you likely go through the five clinical stages of grief, but then you’ll have to figure out exactly how you will continue on after this traumatic event. Can you actually recover any data from the drive? How bad is it? What steps do you take?

Say you don’t have a backup plan in place, as is the case with most people. What do you do when your world suddenly comes crashing down upon you (and I do mean this in the most literal sense)?

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