We take it for granted.

I purchased an item on eBay recently. It was for a charger for one of my many gadgets – and they sent the wrong one.

Back in the old days I would have spent hours on the phone, describing exactly what they sent and even then have someone the other end thinking I was stupid and just didn’t understand whether I had the right thing or not. Now, I whipped out my digital Camera, photographed the plug showing clearly the top of the mains end and the other “gadget in” end in the same photograph. Transfer into my computer, a quick snip so that the background was eliminated, a press of a button and the photo was attached to a new email and whisked off to the the supplier. All within a minute or so. Half an hour later a email back saying new one in the post, apologies, and that a reply paid label would accompany the new goods for me to return.

Sometimes we are watching a film on TV and my wife would ask, who is that actor? A short conversation would ensure and we would remember another film the actor was in. Onto the Internet to The International Movie Database and I would type in the film we remembered the actor to have been in. A quick look at the cast would normally trigger a name, but if not we would compare the cast list with the one we were watching and come up with a solution. The other night we saw a film and I recognised an actress who was in the Zoo Game, a quick check in imdb.com and yes, it was Lili Palmer.

Since I discovered “Google Reader” I have stopped watching the news all that much on TV – now just lunchtimes. I am a political animal and with Google Reader I have all the news that interests me come straight to my desk. I never have to go and search for it. That, and the very useful “Google News” keeps me abreast of the world, the IT world which is of interest, my political world and any other interests I may have at the time. It is up to me, on a day by day basis, to decide what is of interest to me.

I am rapidly approaching 69 so should be able to remember life before the Internet. But, you know, it is not so easy. It just shows how used to, and dependent of, something we can be.

Those who know me personally may remember something I said in the late seventies, not long after the Commodore PET, the Apple 2e and the Tandy 80 came out. I said “This electronic revolution is going to be different to the industrial revolution as it will fire up people’s imaginations much more. Unlike the industrial revolution this one will never settle down.” And I have certainly been proved right.

I think we made a wrong decision after WW2 in that we tried to match the Americans with their huge factories and mass manufacturing. The children of our artisans and craftsmen wanted immediate money and went to work in the factories so, for a time, our crafts were starved of talent. However, I am a firm believer that Mrs Thatcher may yet be proved right in closing down non-performing industries and promoting the smaller new industries.

And now the dependants of those fantastic craftsmen are back, as system analysts and programmers, making computers sing for us. Take America for example. We can’t match them for their products for home and business PCs but our craftsmen in this industry are sought after all over the world. But the sort of software they produce fit into aircraft that fly close to the ground at a thousand miles an hour. I am not too sure of the following and I have searched – there is a story going around that the Pentagon had a rule that only Americans could work there, but they had it changed so they could employ British computer programmers.

More of a ramble today, rather than a rant. But at least I am not talking about Linux 🙂


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