It's been awhile since I've posted to TheDailyUpload, so writing about what the Web has meant to me over the past decade and more seemed like a great way to get back into the swing of things.
But first, just so we're all up-to-date, I am now settled in Victoria, BC. We have a lovely new home (rented) and most of our possessions that we brought with us from Ontario. (More on the mover's saga in a future post.)
Now, a few random thoughts on how the Web has become a major part of my life over the years.
I've been connecting with others using on-line connections since the early 1980s. The monthly newspaper I was editing had a computer column and the guy who wrote it sent me his copy using an old 300-baud modem. It seemed like a miracle at the time. Heck, at that point, I was still writing my stories on an old manual Underwood and sending the copy to a typesetter via the mail. How times have changed.
It wasn't long before I had a CompuServe account and was also learning about bulletin boards and FidoNet and later Gopher.
Eventually, services like CompuServe had to give in and open up to the Web and as browsers proliferated, how I used the web evolved. The newspaper I was working for wasn't much interested in Web access for its employees, although a few of us were doing on-line research with our own email addresses. At that point, we needed separate phone lines for our modems and companies were loath to ante up for access.
It's been interesting to be part of various companies during their unique adaptations to the power of the Internet. In 1984, I helped our accountant purchase the first computers we'd ever had -- a pair of AT&T 6300's, I think they were.
When I joined SaskTel in the mid-90s, they had a flourishing networked culture, but their Internet presence was still new. I helped to implement an Intranet, a form of user-driven distributed communication which many people used to the top-down hierarchy structure in SaskTel had a lot of trouble accepting.
In every company I've been in, I've become involved in advancing their use of electronic communications, with varying degrees of success.
This is what I love to do, no question, but there are time when I wonder about the ultimate price we're paying. All around me, I see colleagues suffering from the stress of today's modern workplace. The new tools which were supposed to make our life easier have instead created new pressures to perform.
Whatever happened to the idea that we "work to live?" and that we would all be enjoying 30-hour work weeks and 10 weeks of vacation each year? Right...
It seems the more we are able to do, the more we do. But are we accomplishing more? I used to put out an 80-page newspaper every month, filled with original articles, photographs and colour ads. It came out every month and I worked hard, but not crazy hours. Although today's editors have a lot more electronic options and near-instantaneous communications, they seem to work a lot more hours than we did 25 years ago. But the publications still come out once a month.
Today, I have a website, a blog, a Flickr page, email addresses galore, a cellphone, plenty of computers and a never-ending list of things to do. I wouldn't give any of them up at this point, but I do wonder about where we're going.
There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic that we're moving into a better place, but every so often, I wonder...What if we just turned everything off again?
That's my take on this, OneWebDay.
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