Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lost in Cyber Space

Lost in Cyber Space

Welcome to our first cyber-newsletter. I decided to do a quick word study of ‘cyber’ in honor of this event. The word comes from the Greek ‘kybernetes,’ which means steersman or captain.

In my search, it was interesting to discover two sources quoting the same “New York” magazine reference, “Cyber is such a perfect prefix. Because nobody has any idea what it means, it can be grafted onto any old word to make it seem new, cool -- and therefore strange, spooky.” ["New York" magazine, Dec. 23, 1996]

Cyber can be strange and spooky. The word is most often used to refer to computer technology. The growing capabilities of the cyber world can leave you with your head in a spin and give you an uncomfortable feeling. I recently attended a technology conference dedicated to teaching computers to read and understand English. Computer reasoning is not too far away, with an eerie-ness all its own.

Technology has brought a lot of changes to our lives. Remember Saturday morning cartoons? Remember “Lost in Space” and the adventures of Will Robinson? It was amazing how their lost robot always managed to save them from interplanetary troubles with only a waddle and rubber hoses for arms. Saturday morning cartoons have come a long way since then. Today, 3D characters interact with you on your own TV screen, if you have enough cyber in your household.

There’s that word again. When I started my search for the original Greek word, I found an adjacent word first, ‘kybeia.’ ‘Kybeia’ is the Greek word for gambling. This word seemed much more appropriate than captain. Often times, working with a computer feels more like a gamble than steering a ship. Think of the hours lost when programs fail or hard drives crash. Cyber brings with it just as many pitfalls as benefits and we’ve learned to adjust.

It is official now. The newsletter you are reading is now on-line, free and in your inbox. Or if you’d like we’ll send you a printed version in the mail for $20. We chose to do it this way to better inform our chapter members of all the great things going on in Dallas-Fort Worth.

By sending it out in the e-mail we can reach all 350 of our members. It becomes available to anyone who browses the SCBWI website. Our art work will be in full color and our writing will be open to the world. When we advertise our events, more eyes will see them and hopefully our attendance will reflect the change. There is no question technology can leave people feeling “Lost in Cyber Space,” but we trust you will see the benefits of this new format. Enjoy.

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