November 13, 2013

"Well, I am 85 - and was online before many of you were born, or 'the Internet' was even available."

"I bought one of the first Radio Shack Model 1 computer in 1978, had it connected - by dialup modem - by 1979 I was operating the first computer 'Bulletin Board' in Colorado Springs," says a man named dave19, commenting at a WaPo article titled "Gap between those who use Internet and those who don’t is widening."

He continues:
Used it for local politics, pioneering online education. Then of course got on the Internet as soon as services were available followed by the Web. And connected up organizations, shops, homeowners (and even Sherpas at 15,000 feet up Everest slopes when I was just a lad of 75) wirelessly, where there were NO commercial wired connections ad Wi-Fi was just getting approved by the FCC.

But guess what? I am not sure life has been that much better for me, my 'adult' kids, or my grand kids (or my great grand kids who are already using kiddie smart phones.) I am not sure I, or they, are any wiser for their use of 'the net.' I am not sure twitter is producing wiser utterances, or that Facebook is a substitute for an written and printed autobiography. There is sure more babble. And misinformation. Or knowledge.

Oh, I intend to keep pioneering, for I announced ten years ago that I had changed my will, so that my sons would bury me with a laptop computer, with heuristic - feed back - software, solar panels to keep it charged forever, wireless links to 'the cloud.' And that 6 months after my carbon self is gone, my digital - in silicon - mind, would go out on the net and say 'This is Dave - wanna Chat?' and debate with the world until the sun blinks out.' The artificial intelligent software is already nearly there. And even try - in the face of undeniable new knowledge - change my silicon mind. 

I already affixed a QR Code on my deceased wife's tombstone. So than anyone with a smart phone that aims at it, will get her memorial pages - even her favorite music 'Clair De Lune'

Not sure I will be wiser even then. Just connected, in perpetuity. You all have some catching up to do.

20 comments:

Carol said...

LOL. My dad was like that. He was one of those ham radio guys who were fascinated with computers..he even bought one of the first Altairs. In 1985 I was visiting him in Socal and the phone rang, and it was a friend calling by modem to chat. He always did his own taxes on the PC and had some sort of online stock ticker running.

But he got too weak to get up from his recliner about the time the WWW came online. What a shame.

Xmas said...

In case you all are wondering what that old coot is talking about: HAM Packet Radio.

Those HAM guys are awesome...

Michael K said...

I wonder how many of you kids know what "Archie" and "Veronica" were before the WWW ?

cubanbob said...

But guess what? I am not sure life has been that much better for me, my 'adult' kids, or my grand kids (or my great grand kids who are already using kiddie smart phones.) I am not sure I, or they, are any wiser for their use of 'the net.' I am not sure twitter is producing wiser utterances, or that Facebook is a substitute for an written and printed autobiography. There is sure more babble. And misinformation. Or knowledge."

The same can be said for books. Technology won't make the stupid and the foolish and smarter or wiser.

ALP said...

Fabulous read! I would like to add that as it got easier and easier for us to get our words "out there" - the percentage of worthless words has shot up. Think about how labor intensive it was to do typesetting...letter by letter. Back then, I'll bet you had to think a bit and be sure that what all those letters had to say was worth saying. Now...way too easy, leading to so much hot air.

Its also made us lazy - or I see that in younger folks. If it can't be found out on Google in 3 seconds...the search ends there. That's why we hear folks moaning about how the "media" dictates what we see and read. We've never had access to so much original documentation via the web: legal pleadings, government hearings, research papers, etc....

Those who bitch about how the media tries to form our views are lazy people who can't be bothered to look beyond the information that falls easily into their laps.

B said...

Michael K said...I wonder how many of you kids know what "Archie" and "Veronica" were before the WWW ?

Elm, Pine...we thought the first baby steps were the balls back then.

Roger Sweeny said...

Much of those laboriously typeset early words were biblical interpretation and explaining why your denomination was right and the others were wrong. I'm not at all sure that was worth saying.

RazorSharpSundries said...

That dude's comment sorta reminds me of the plot to Philip K. Dick's book, "Ubik." In the book people can, for a fee, have dead loved one's consciousness kept alive after death for a certain length of time in order to communicate with said loved one.

EMD said...

Free Porn Inequality, A.K.A. the Thigh Gap.

EMD said...

Richard Halloran owns home computer.

Belial said...

I'm wondering how much physical typesetting was personally done by the author. *yawn* Maybe Google can get me the answer.

RazorSharpSundries said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauderdale Vet said...

A friend of mine was doing switched packet networking over HAM in the Philippines, back in the 80's. I was at his house in Guam every chance I got.

The “big kids” at my school ran a BB on an old Heathkit, was my first introduction to networking.

My own first computer was a TRS-80. Fond memories.

Back then the big networks and papers were the only way to find out what was going on. Despite the signal-to-noise ratio now, I am grateful for having so many resources at my fingertips.

rhhardin said...

I had "I can guess your age" on a K-MART's VIC-20, that Penn Jillette wrote up somewhere, finding it amusing.

It starts

Is it 0? y or n
n
Is it 1? y or n
n
Is it 2? y or n
...

It also guessed weights.

CWJ said...

Yes, but how many of you have an email that is your primary email that is still Xxxxxxxxx@prodigy.net?

wildswan said...

Anybody remember the Commodore screensaver/ program that turned the screen red, turned on a siren sound, then flashed a message that you had hacked into Cheyenne Mountain and said to remain where you were till the FBI came? Relatives went crazy.

Lance said...

Meh, Randall Munroe already said it better and shorter...

http://xkcd.com/1289/

Ron said...

When the ancient Greeks went from an oral culture to a written one, we see in characters in plays who mistrust written documents as opposed to someone coming to tell you some news. If the person speaking is lying to you....well, you can kill him! But what can you do to a piece of paper? Young people in these plays accept the technology of writing....older people do not!

Kirk Parker said...

wildswan,

No, but in the days of Windows 3.x we did a screen capture of the windows "desktop" (whatever it was called back then), used a graphics program to rotate it 180 degrees, and then I installed it after hours on March 31 as the background image on our receptionist/office manager's machine.

When she came in on April 1, everything looked vaguely familiar except it was all upside down...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Michael K: I remember well the celebration we all had when the one-hundredth *Gopher* site went on line. Archie appeared only later and was essentially a Gopher for the 1500 or so Gopher sites then extant. Veronica was eventually a Gopher for the Archies ... and so it went.