Yes, I know… it’s been a while between pitstops. But, in my defence, my last post was about the creation of a web site for my previous unit of study… boy, did that take up my last twelve weeks! I submitted my “final” site last night, but I won’t provide details about it here just yet, as it’s a work in progress and it’s nowhere near as finished as I’d like it to be. Stay tuned on that score… 🙂
So, the new subject I am starting today… NET102…
Just read the unit’s outline and it sounds like I’m in for some fascinating weeks ahead. In anticipation of just that, I thought I’d keep a record of my first contribution to the discussion forum for the unit. Hope it’s an engaging read…
“How does your experience of the Internet compare with others? For instance: how did you first encounter, hear or read about it; when and how did you first ‘go online’ and what did you think of it; how do you use it nowadays; do you think of it as different or part of your everyday life?”
I remember walking past the first internet cafe in Melbourne back in the 90s (yes, I’m that old!) and paying for an hour’s access. After that, I was hooked. I started in the chat halls, IRCs, moving to MUDs and MOOs, saw the annoying rise of animated gifs and was excited along with everyone else when you could make coloured flashing text on a dull grey HTMLpage.
Then, there was “Start Me Up”, the Rolling Stones song reinvigorated by Microsoft’s Windows 95, which took the world by storm, leaving the Apple IIe in the dust. Suddenly, the Internet became even more exciting to one and all… well, in my social circles anyway.
I got the Internet at home and taught myself HTML coding with my heap of spare time, learning from listservs and the alt.binary groups that were floating around on a variety of topics. I have never really “lost interest” in the internet – it was, and is, a fascinating environment to work and play in. I have been fortunate enough to witness its evolution since then and whilst I am digitally literate when using the Internet, I see that it has become a seamless part of our lives. We access it through all of our devices (mobiles, tablets,laptops, PCs, TVs, etc.), so much so, that we no longer notice how much we rely on connecting to it and using it for our imperative,everyday transactions.
Having said that, Google fascinates me. It’s such a personalised and relied upon service, for the sake of convenience, or ignorance, we choose not to see how perniciously it evolves and develops every day, right under our noses. A perfect example of a Catch 22, (some of us) know that we shouldn’t rely so heavily on living with it, but we find ourselves increasingly unable to live without it. I once read a book by Vaidhyanathan titled: “The Googlization of everything and why we should worry“. An engrossing read, and one of many such titles that should not be easily brushed aside. In my world, and the world of many others, Google is effectively and fast becoming “the internet”. I wonder if, one day, we won’t refer to it as the internet, but merely “Google”. It creates augmented experiences for us (i.e. Google Glass), so that we see it as an imperative part of our everyday lives.
I no longer look in a dictionary for the definition of a word – I pick up my phone and ask Google to define a word for me. I no longer need to learn French or Italian, I go to Google Translate and ask it to write/speak my English phrase in my desired language to communicate with non-English speakers. I don’t have to keep a diary of where I need to be for a meeting, my Google Calendar syncs with my phone and reminds me where I need to be in 15 minutes, or tomorrow, or a week from now.
A video on YouTube that I have always found highly effective in making these points in my classes was made by the ABC’s Hungry Beast around the late 2000s… “old” by today’s standards, but still pertinent.
On a final note… In May, 2015, I will be receiving my SKULLY augmented reality motorcycle helmet, which relies on Google Maps and the tech they promote and pursue. I am excited beyond belief at the prospect of using this new biking accessory, but I know it’ll be an interim measure. I am also looking forward to receiving an RFID or equivalent implant to create such augmented experiences for myself everywhere, 24/7. Bring on the Orwellian nightmare. I can take it. 🙂