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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

How strange

Thank you everyone for letting me know my post showed up.  I find it a little strange that I wrote this post a few days ago then couldn't get it posted.  It's a follow up to the last post.  I usually write a post then leave it for a few hours before going back to proof read for errors.  When I came back to it, I couldn't sign in. 


I've been corrected.  It wasn't a Y2K "virus" but was a problem with the calendars on computers that was the threat back then.  That's the problem with a senior memory.... we don't always remember the names of things correctly.  What I remember was the "idea" that we could all loose the internet as well as other things.  That was what my last post was really about.  The "what if" thought of loosing the internet that so many of us depend on today. 

When I was young, women in the city talked to each other over back yard fences as the laundry was hung out to dry or visited the neighbors over cups of coffee and tea.  Men talked to each other at the town square that surrounded the court house or as they helped each other with tasks.  People actually sat down with pen and paper to write letters to distant friends and relatives.  When the phone came along it meant people could talk with each other over long distances.

Women in the country shared recipes and planned events at quilting bees.  Men talked about the price of crops and planned barn risings while getting supplies at the seed store.  All of the communicating was done without the internet and the phone.  Families that did have phones most often used it only when it was necessary to reach someone really quickly.  Our family's first phone was one of those that required us to turn the crank in order to reach someone else with a phone.  We turned the crank to reach the operator and she would connect us to the person we wanted to talk with. 
When I heard about computers in the 1970s, I immediately became fascinated with them.  This was in the days when computer programming was done with "punch cards".   A few days ago, when I was telling my daughter about the punch cards, she didn't know what I was talking about.  Punch cards were about the thickness of a file card but wider.  We loaded them into a machine and typed our programming code on a machine which punched little square holes into the card.  The computer read the cards and performed the tasks we had designed.  We made stacks and stacks of these cards because each card was one bit of information.  Some cards were to run the programming and some were the data.  I learned computer programming which was called...... ?.... hmm, I can't seem to recall it's name right now. 

Well anyway, I spent hours and hours with a pencil, paper, and a template while writing programming.  The template had squares, triangles, arrows, hexagons, and other shapes used for writing the different programs.  Instead of drawing the shapes freehand we could take a shortcut by tracing the outline of the shapes.  The shapes represented tasks the computer would perform.   For example:  one line for one punch card might be represented by a diamond shape with an arrow coming from one point.  The question would read "If yes, then go to _____" which would be another punch card with another instruction.  The punch card behind that one would read "If no, then go to ____" which had another card of instructions.

I was pretty darned good at writing programming back then but I can barely remember the tools today.  Ok, I've gotten way off subject here.  Sorry, sometimes trips down memory lane take over my mind.  My point is that I've seen many changes to technology in my lifetime.

Today, the internet is our connection to each other.  It's not the only way but it sure is a very big part of many lives.  I can type-talk a question to someone in Australia or Ireland and get an answer in a matter of seconds.  The internet has become our "backyard fence" and the "town square" where we share with each other. 

Over the last couple of months I've seen many so called "glitches" on various sites I visit regularly.  I've seen many complaints on blogs and other types of journal sites about internet troubles.  I've had my own troubles sending and receiving emails which also seems to be reported as "glitches" and "issues".  I pay for two different photo holding sites.  Webshots and Picassa.  Yet, I'm listed as being only a "free" account and several of my photos are missing.  Now why would I continue to pay a fee if I'm not getting the services I pay for?  Why should I continue to pay for internet email if I can't send or receive email? 

As more and more technology and more and more internet services become available it means we become dependant on them.  We add them to our daily lives.  Many young people can't even imagine what it was like without phones and computers and tvs and video games.  These things are a part of their lives just as the early days of computers was of mine. 

So I ask you again to think of what it would be like if those things disappeared today.  How would we communicate?  How would our daily lives be changed?  What if some massive virus or glitch wiped out our internet?  True, this may not ever happen but something sure is going on.  There has to be a reason so many "glitches" and "issues" are showing up in so many places. 

Could it be "they" are not communicating with each other?  "They" meaning the writers of the programming that so many of us pay for.  Do the webshots owners talk with att about new stuff they are adding?  Does blogger talk with other computer related companies before making changes?  Do the owners of yahoo and the owners of google talk to each other before introducing beta stuff?  You get my meaning? 


Could there be other possibilities?  Here's a very scary thought  I heard about on the tv news the other day.  What if one really evil person, with a lot of computer knowledge, decided to wipe out all of the internet with a nasty virus?    Think about that for a minute.  It seems many of us are as dependant on the internet as we are on electricity.  Banks, security, hospitals, grocery stores, etc all depend on the internet to some degree.  So how do we do emergency preparedness for that situation?


Ok, that's the post I had written a few days ago.  Then all of a sudden I couldn't use my internet.  I keep getting 404 errors and email messages from mailer daemon.  You see why I find it very strange? 

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