Friday 26 February 2010

Thinking about the Internet

Over the last four weeks I've been watching 'The Virtual Revolution' on the BBC. The show looks at the way the internet has changed our lives over the last 20 years... and it really has.

The first time I 'met' the internet was at University... yes, I'm of a generation that didn't have computers at school. We did have a computer lab - it was a very small room with about a dozen machines... we didn't have any classes and my interaction was limited to playing a text game at lunchtime.

At University I discovered the joy of email. My school friends and I, having spent five days a week for seven years in each other's company were scattered to the far corners of the country. Email helped keep in touch, although as the shoe-boxes under my bed will attest, letter writing was far more popular... as were calls to the community payphone.

I don't suppose the 'youth of today' can imagine the way it used to be what with the constant connectivity... Facebook, iPhones, and the rest.

I actually suffer from information overload most of the time. During the week I don't always have time for 'leisure' on the internet. Yes, I do use email and the web several hours a day in the course of my work... but Facebook and reading blogs? Forget about it!

Above is the status bar from my Firefox this morning. Over the week I have accrued 257 unread blog posts and over the last day or so 63 unread emails. Oh dear.

It is hard to remember life before the internet. It is hard to remember life before broadband and the wireless connection. I can find what I want when I want it. My first source for any reference, question or problem is the internet. Shopping, booking events, communication, leisure. You name it and it is out there somewhere in cyberspace. When I use the web I usually know what it is that I am looking for and where I'm going to find it... although I get easily distracted by other links ("Hyper-links - innovation or distraction, discuss").

doodle.png  on Aviary

The problem is that I pretty much run my life with the internet. I use Google for just about EVERYTHING... email, contacts, calendar. Keeping stuff in the cloud makes it easy to manage wherever I am. It has got to the point where my laptop and the internet are synonymous. I had to 'like' one of my Facebook friend's status updates earlier this week.

facebook_status1.egg  on Aviary

IE6 Funeral

In the course of my normal web wandering I came across this:

Announcement | IE6 Funeral

I don't think I'll be attending (Denver is a long way to go) - but I'm with them in spirit.

I stopped general and daily use of IE a long time ago when I switched to Firefox. The tabbed browsing and the add-ons made for a better browsing experience. Of course Microsoft got wind of this and the next version of IE did get tabbed browsing.

There is one place I do still use IE though. At work. It is the browser of choice there (although I do have Firefox too as the IT manager gave me permission to download it as it was a more secure browser).

Not only were we running IE at work... we were running IE6. For reasons that have been lost in history (literally as the original IT manager has left) we were told not to upgrade due to a 'software incompatibility'. IE7 came and went... still we used IE6. IE8 arrived, but we were still using IE6. I mentioned this to IT support... asking if they knew that this was the situation and citing the imminent demise of IE6. Let's update to 8 and see what happens. So we did... and do you know what happened? Nothing.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Rainy Sunday

The weather can't decide if it is going to be winter or spring. We have been alternating this week between extremely cold and extremely damp. Today has landed on extremely damp.

Not that the wildlife seems to mind... the squirrels and the birds are all busy stocking up on food, despite the pouring rain.

The ladybugs have decided that it isn't time to hit the garden yet, and are stubbornly continuing to inhabit our bedroom.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Birds and squirrels

They're not all bird brains - the big fat pigeon still can't work it out... but Anthony and Cleo have got it sussed!

The starlings decide to eschew the tray feeder in favour of hanging from the fat-ball feeder... even though they're a bit big - Mr Blackbird just picks up the bits the others have dropped!

My little fat robin is taking advantage of the newly filled seed tray - little red tennis ball with wings! The squirrels, meanwhile, just carry on eating... regardless of just about any other visitors (including me!)

That time of year already

It's been a bit warmer this week - and that seems to have woken up the ladybugs who spent the winter hibernating in our house (and mostly in our bedroom). Today I have already encourage half a doze out of the window (I want them to get cracking on the aphids and whatnot)... but as it is supposed to be getting colder next week I'm sure they will just come straight back in.