For the past two weeks I have been without a properly functioning internet. This has taught me a lot of things about how awesome the internet is and how much I use it. I felt inclined to give a little insight into some of the things you can do with it and I don’t even know how to use it properly. It’s so much of everyday life now we tend to forget what we can do with it, given most of us have a working internet. My mother-in-law also has one but hers is for annoying me with. She has a special one. One full of things you’ve never heard of and problems you’ve never encountered. I’ve suggested she get a new one but she likes hers as she is used to it. I’ve developed a standard response now to her daily issues, “no, that’s just you”.
The internet turned up at my place when I was just a lad in my 30’s, I liked what it had to offer very much. I’m massively inquisitive and I have a great thirst for knowledge. A good friend of mine once commented how she and her husband enjoyed seeing me regularly as I know so much about everything. She has such a lovely smile.
So if I was to have an internet I would need a PC. One was duly purchased. The ISP gubbins were arranged and I plugged everything in. I pressed go. I then went on a three week trip to New Zealand to amuse myself while I waited for the web page to load, remember dial-up? Whole continents rose from the ocean quicker than web pages loaded back then. Remember the dancing baby? He would now be old enough to go to the pub, so quickly has time flown by. We now have high speed broadband, well you might, but I don’t as I live in a field. So I have ‘somewhat faster than dial-up’ Broadband. I suggested to an Internet Service Provider that charging me the same price as people who have an avalanche of internet into their house when I have a glacier was unfair. They said they charged by how many megatrons of data-protection I could have or something like that, not by how fast it arrived. I pointed out that this was unfair and ridiculous and they hung up on me.
So, what can the internet do? Well it allows you to show off your cleverness to everyone, instantly, whatever that might be. Conversely thanks to things like Twitter and Facebook; it gives a public platform for the chronically stupid or spectacularly ignorant to identify themselves to us. We are able to be in no doubt about whom the idiots are who walk among us and can take steps to avoid them.
I can literally find out anything I want to know with a couple of clicks of my mouse. I can have some reindeer antler shavings delivered to my house if I chose to. I can drive through Paris in a Ferrari at 6am in the 1970’s. I can visit and examine the great art works in the world’s most famous galleries through the little known Google Art project. I can, if I want to, see what dogs are up to in the conservatory when I am in Constantinople. I can consult a wikisaurus sort of thing to discover Constantinople is now known as Istanbul, which is not as good a name for a city as Constantinople.
I can alert any company I choose to of the failings in their service provision to me in front of everyone. Get the clever and embarrassing social media outing right and they will respond to your dissatisfaction far quicker than if you telephone their call-centre on the sub-continent. Try doing this though to your service provider when they aren’t providing your internet properly. When your internet is broken you can’t do anything, nothing, well I can’t or rather won’t. I like to do my things online. I want to learn things on my computer, not travel past the nearest closed library to the next town to consult reference books. No, I won’t!
I do prefer to read books in hard copy though, I will print stuff out if I need to read actual text in detail. When finding things new things out though I want to leap from link to link, learning, not carting dusty encyclopedia’s about being told to Shhhh.
There are many people who will try and hide from the internet because they think their big brother is able to read their minds. I’m not remotely concerned about this. If a big brother wants to read my mind, he will discover what I like and am interested in, or vice versa. The internet is full of advertising things. I can’t turn the advertising off so if I have to have some, let it be for things I like rather than blue cheese or hairspray. Bring on big brother telling me of new cool stuff. The Big brothers nasty twin brother, the one who wants to listen to your emails to find out if you are subversive is also doing me a favour. Given I am not sending messages to revolutionaries or inspiring aspiring criminals who will eventually become detained in leg irons, he will find out who they are and keep their mischief away from my travel plans. I’m not concerned if some bored boffin in Cheltenham wants to see what I think of my actual big brother. I hope it gives them a laugh.
Seriously though, the best of all about the internet though the instant ability to not just discover but also literally see anything. I love this example. You will recall the massive Earthquake in Christchurch in New Zealand. Many people very tragically died and the city was largely destroyed during their day time which is my night time. I woke to hear of the news of the devastation. My first thought was for my cousin who lives in Christchurch. I got hold of her sister in Ireland to ask if she had heard from her. She hadn’t. My cousin has two young children and it was now late at night in New Zealand after the Earthquake. We can see the images on television of liquefaction of streets and destruction as far as the eye can see.
Both my cousins’ phones were going to voice mail. We knew some phones were working though but she wasn’t answering hers and hadn’t all day, so I needed to set about finding her as her sister was having meltdown with worry. I knew her address so I used Google Earth to locate her street. I then used street view to have a virtual walk up and down her street to see what I could see that might be useful. I found a church with a billboard out front giving details of who to contact for church things. I also searched the church on the internet and found the local office but they were out of contact so I found the regional headquarters. I got in touch with them who were able to get a message to the local church in her street to ask them to pop in just to confirm if she was ok and what her situation was. We discovered that the telecoms were pretty intermittent plus she had no battery as there was no power. But alive and ok, moving to her partners family home out of town for safety. This was achieved in the space of a couple of hours.
So, there it is, the internet is totally awesome and those of you who fret about your big brother rifling through your doings, relax, he just wants to know what you like to spend your money on. But if you feel have things to hide. Well you could always hide it in a library because no-one will find it there. Alternatively you could post it on my mother-in-laws internet as it’s a special one that doesn’t work and only she has access to. She doesn’t know how to open it either so your secrets will be safe.