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The Internet: Everything Now At Your Fingertips

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

My, how the Internet has changed life as most of us know it.

It seems like only yesterday, in the 1990s, when I "upgraded" to a 56k "screaming" modem to gain faster Internet access. The modem would make that funky sound as my computer tried to log on, and then at times it literally would take more than a minute to simply load one static page.

At that time, the Internet seemed like a new toy whereby somewhat greater access to information could be gained from one's own computer in the home or at work. Daily life otherwise had not changed too much.

Fast forward to now. Internet access truly does "scream" in terms of the tremendous content that is delivered swiftly and effectively.

Perhaps we take for granted what we now can do online, but let's take a moment to think about how our lives have moved dramatically online.

Rather than sending letters or even faxes, we now communicate constantly online, by way of email, Web postings, chat sessions, and more.

Of course, those communications no longer are limited to typed communications. We now hear and see each other live via applications like Skype.

Once upon a time, we predominantly went out to make purchases at stores. But presently, we can purchase practically anything we like online from myriad web sites, notably including Amazon. We also can buy and sell items from eBay, and all sorts of services are listed on Craigslist and other sites.

It once was the case that to hang out with our friends, we would actually get together in the same physical place. However, with Internet access, social networking sites like Facebook make it possible to fraternize with our peeps whenever we like and in various ways right from our computers.

For entertainment in the past, we often went out to movie theaters and watched television. Naturally, we can still do that, but we also can stream movies to our computers via Netflix and we can watch television shows when we like online from sites such as Hulu. We also can play all sorts of games on the Internet delivered by sites like Zynga. And music, of course, can be purchased and downloaded from the Internet, as we all know.

Any time we have a question, we can "Google" it, and we can look up information on sites like Wikipedia.

Gone are the early days when Internet access was tied to a desktop computer. Incredible online access now is available from little handhelds, such as Blackberrys and iPods, and the newly popular iPads.

And there is so much more, as we only have scratched the surface of current life online. It is hard to believe and remember that we did not have these vast Internet capabilities and offerings just a decade ago.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP ( where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is and he can be reached receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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