Wednesday 9 June 2010


My home page is Google. I open my browser, Firefox and always start there. Any question which may come to mind during the day can be answered one way or another by typing in the appropriate keywords in the Google search bar. The trick is just finding the right keywords for my search.

I do not think about this all the time. I just accept naturally that I can type in these keywords and find stuff on the Internet. I don't necessarily think about Google; I don't necessarily think about the Internet. They are just there; they are just part of life.

I was born in 1952, the start of the age of television. As I grew up, whenever I did a school project, I referred to 2 important sources of information my father had made available to his children: a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and a subscription to National Geographic. Sometimes I went to the public library but I think those 2 household items provided me with a lot of reference material.

I would say this is pretty much the state of affairs throughout my adult life. Personal computers came on the scene in the late 70's, becoming increasingly more important in the 80's and the 90's but it wasn't until the early 90's or the mid-90's that the Internet started to spread out amongst the general public. While search engines like Alta Vista have existed since 1995, it really was Google that managed to capture my attention.

I accept the existence of the Internet and Google as... well, they are just there. I am certain many people; especially younger people accept it as is without thinking much of what it was like when these things didn't exist and thinking what an impact such things have on us all.

Unlike my childhood where I was restricted for the most part of to Encyclopaedia Britannica and National Geographic, I now have access to... well, pretty much the entire world. Wow, I am plugged in and have access to what? A zillion sources of information? The reference power at my fingertips staggers my imagination. I am literally tapping into the expertise, the knowledge, the experience of everyone who is part of this on-line system. It's quite amazing.

Well, it's amazing for me. For the younger crowd, Ha! 1952 must seem like the dark ages... no the Stone Age! No Google? No Internet? Black and white TV? Ugh! How could anybody survive?

Back in 1998, I visited a music store with my eldest daughter, picking up a couple of CD's as a birthday gift. As we were standing at the counter, my daughter looked up and asked, "What are those things?" I looked up and immediately knew what they were. Somebody had attached a series of plastic disks to threads and left them hanging over the counter as decoration. However, the funny thing about these disks is that they were the plastic disks you would put in the large hole of a 45 record in order to play it on a turntable which was not equipped to play 45's. I realized my daughter, 25 years younger than me had never seen in her lifetime a 45 record much less this plastic disk. Everything in the store was CD's; records were a specialty item and didn't really exist in the mainstream anymore. I chuckled in thinking about this; about how quickly technical innovation supplants the past.


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