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Did you know that...

* The word cyberspace was first used in the early 1980s by an author of an award-winning science fiction novel entitled Neuromancer. The name of the author was William Gibson who created a make-believe cyberspace with no actual physical space involved. Unbelievably, the imagined cyberspace that Gibson created in his fantasy later turned out to be an actual cyberspace where mass computer connectivity all over the world became a practical reality.

* Within two weeks after the death of Princess Diana, wife of Prince Charles of Great Britain, the British royal family's home page registered 35 million hits and 700,000 condolence e-mails.

* Today, we hear of phrases like wireless world, wireless internet access, mobile internet access or wireless application protocol (WAP). They all mean the same thing. It is having access to the Internet even without a computer. No wires. No cables. No modems.

* A US consulting company made a study saying that the Internet will reduce worldwide demand for paper. Ironically however, more papers are being used in offices.

* As early as the early part of 2000, in Singapore, public schools are allowing students to borrow laptop computers like library books for children to take home at night and return back to the library.

* Cyber romance is now made possible by the so-called cyberspace dating. There is a cyberspace which has been attracting thousands of members since it went on-line. A monthly fee of dating website ranges from US$5 to US$15.

* In Vietnam, a computer project assisted by a Venice-based non-government organization and funded by the European Commission was launched for the blind. Some years ago, the blind are taught to create and use a braille and audio library. The blind are taught to use the computer and they are also taught to access books, articles, and encyclopedias anytime they want. A blind teacher helps the blind children learn keyboard skills.

* In the United States, investors have lost millions in recent years in on-line investment scams. The modus operandi of the fraudsters involve the so-called "pump and dump" schemes where promoters jack up stocks' prices by making false and misleading claims about the company and later sell their own shares in cash taking advantage of the artificial high prices. Through Internet, the fraudulent scheme is easily, speedily and anonymously done by someone with a computer.

* The "I love you" computer virus that was allegedly released last May 4, 2000 from the Philippines - at a time when there was yet no law against computer hacking, reportedly bogged down about 45 million computers worldwide including those at the Pentagon and the British Parliament. At that time, the love bug also caused disruptions in productivity that amounted to millions of US dollars.

* Unbelievably, almost any kind of information - print, images, sounds or videos can be turned into a stream of bit and relayed over the Internet including music. However, this also enables people to copy and share music illegally since there are Internet technologies that make possible the widespread Internet distribution of copyrighted materials. To store music in digital format, MP3 technology is used. In digital format, music is then stored and transmitted across the Internet.

* The National Federation of the Blind some years ago lobbied with one of the biggest American service providers to make its software compatible with programs, the blind use to convert digital information to speech or Braille. …