Between unending waves of spam , spiralling arguments over fair use and copyright legislation and the millions of useless Web sites simply filling space, people are getting disillusioned with the Internet. Are hundreds of unsolicited e-mails hawking Viagra and porn the best we can do with this awesome resource? No. And that's why its important to recognize the bright spots, like the increasingly intelligent and informed discussion of file sharing, for one.
Or consider the announcement by the BBC last week that the legendary broadcaster hopes to put its entire archive on the Net.
In launching the project, BBC head Greg Dyke claimed, "We are about to move into a second phase of the digital revolution, a phase which will be more about public than private value; about free, not pay services; and about inclusivity, not exclusion."
It's an historic undertaking and just a little overwhelming, but it's precisely what the Internet is for.
When the Web launched, users indulged the sheer novelty of surfing from site to site. Several years in, even the youngest users have grown out of the urge to surf, and idle use of the Internet has been replaced by targeted, directed activity.
When we log onto the Web, we tend to go to specific places with specific goals in mind. Getting sidetracked is half the fun, but the blind, staggering journeys from site to site that ate up hours and turned Web heads into zombies don't really factor in any more.
The BBC understands this better than most. Its www.bbc.co.uk site is one of the most visited on the planet because of what it is and what it offers. From news to sport to entertainment, the site is as wide as the Beeb itself, available in dozens of languages and spreading between radio, television and exclusively online content.
You can, and I often do, get lost in the main site itself, bouncing between the World Service, the digital stations 6 Music and the urban station 1Xtra - more diverse than FLOW could ever be - and the divergent streams of individual programs.
Over the last year, the BBC has begun experimenting with various styles of archiving - for individual shows, individual ideas and larger, thematic specials. Mixing the spontaneity of radio with the opportunities offered by the technology and the reality of schedules, where you can't be at home at 4 pm to catch Farming Today on Radio 4, the BBC began archiving individual programs for a week.
The Radio On Demand option lets you go back and listen to what you missed. It's an inspired idea, something that might seem obvious now but because of rights issues and general laziness when it comes to the Web has only been adopted by a handful of broadcasters. Archiving everything that's ever aired on the BBC (at least what remains in the vault) into one coherent Web resource available to all for limitless use is simply the logical extension of that, no matter how extreme it sounds.
The idea of being able to access 80 years of broadcasting history with the click of your mouse, even for a fee, is amazing, though it's hardly surprising. Newspapers like the New York Times quickly realized that the way to get people to pay for online access is to offer in-depth archives of older material.
Broadband, and the way we tend to use the Internet now, for specific searches rather than time-wasting, has only enhanced that need. It's the next step in making the Internet more efficient.
Now, if I could just get rid of the 300 spam messages I get every day.