Face it: While it's far easier to research many things, find endless hours of entertainment, and do a hell lot of other things now than it was in 1990, the fact is the Internet hasn't made everything it has touched better. Nor has cell phones, or text messages, or pagers. It's easier to get in touch with whom you want... but it's also easier for them to get hold of you.
What kills me is the effect on food contests and other giveaways. People alive, aware, and in the US during the 1984 Olympics remember the Great McDonalds Goofup, where you got one game piece and, because the Americans tended to win 1st, 2nd, and/or 3rd in those Communist-bloc boycotted Games, that game piece tended to give you 2/3rds or more of your meal for free (if the Yanks won first, you got a Big Mac. If they won 2nd, you got a small fry. If they won third, you won a small drink. There was nothing in the rules that forbade you from claiming all three prizes if Americans won all three, so McDonalds was forced to give away tens of thousands of multiple food orders. They were giving away so many free Big Macs that they were running out of buns in some restaurants.
Now... now it's a whole new ballgame, one shifted dramatically in favor of McDonalds and other like minded asswipes. Instead of getting a gamepiece that says "Nope, try again!" or "Free Small Fries", you get a 15-letter "code" that you have to text in on your cell phone! This absolutely heinous practice has been encroaching on our hapless souls for some time now... it started at Arby's (but who pays attention to them?), then now everybody is joining the "rush" to ruin.
I actually got one of those Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Jerry Bruckheimer game pieces the other day and said, what the hell, I'll give this a whirl.
Big mistake. The code itself is 14 jumbled characters long, meaning that it took over 35 keystrokes just to type it in on my cell phone. I finally sent the thing, to receive my response (and my prize!), only to have my hopes dashed - the contest had been lawyered-up:
I had to text back my birthdate, because "only 18 or over are eligible."
Another 25-30 keystrokes (my phone gives me letters prior to numbers when I'm in text mode ) and I'm legalized... I hope.
Which I was, when I found out a minute or two later that I had lost and was asked to "try again later."
Yeah, right, ya' sorry bastards.