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Me and Tech

Autumn 2014 (8)

I took this photo yesterday afternoon with my Nikon DSLR. Digital cameras are great compared to the old film cameras that we used when I was younger. I can also edit on my computer, that was impossible with film.

I was always interested in science and technology as a child. I made a very primitive radio when I in junior school and had fun giving people electric shocks from a small battery. I even went on to study electrical science and electronics in college, it was different in those days!

Home computers didn’t arrive until the 1980’s and it was all new and exciting then. I bought a Commodore like many other people and played games, learnt to program in BASIC and learnt the fundamentals of word-processing, databases and spread sheets. My keyboard skills still aren’t very good, but having used a typewriter for many years, this is much faster and easier.

When I bought my first PC, it was expensive. The processor was a slow 80286 and it didn’t even have a hard drive, just a floppy drive and 1 Mb of memory. That compares to the 4 Gb of memory I have now on my laptop and the 500 Gb hard drives didn’t even exist then. It was more fun then though and I upgraded the system to a 386 and then to a 486 and could write batch files and program in Quickbasic.

Microsoft Windows changed everything. All my games stopped working and Quickbasic was replaced with Visual Basic. The enthusiasm was gone and I wasn’t the only one. The BBC computer and computer programmes on TV disappeared. Learndirect become another memory of a failed attempt to educate people in computers.

I used to chat to people in chat rooms and they were a kind of social club. They disappeared and were replaced with Facebook and Twitter. It all became more organised and controlled. The money men now wanted to make money from it.

Now it’s quite bland compared to the early days. I have a LinkedIn profile, carefully written and structured to make me look good. My Facebook profile has a header picture and I join groups and share my photos. It’s not quite the same as writing a computer program  and being slightly amazed when it actually works.

Of course, I can do my writing easier now, no more thumping away at the keys of a typewriter and trying to correct errors with tippex. I can knock out a 500 word article before I have my morning tea and spend the afternoon taking photos and have them edited by tea time.

I publish everyday, either on here or on my WordPress blog. I even have my WordPress blog syndicated on a local news site. Some of my blogs are picked up by the local newspaper and published on their website. I watch for news on Twitter and even create my own sometimes. I’ve even had a few awards for writing and a certificate off the mayor for being a finalist in a photography contest.

I still miss the games we used to play like Scorched Earth, not the one with fancy graphics, but the basic one that was really fast. The original Simcity had basic graphics, but was more fun. Modern games are so slow…

The modern gadget that really gets to me is the smart phone. Not at all intuitive to use and mine seems so slow… Everything seems slow now. We have fast cars, but speed humps and all sorts of stuff to make us go slow…

What next? I am going to get a tablet computer, mainly so I can show people my photos without printing them out. I also want a video camera that will shoot video and take photos as I drive. I still won’t be able to program in BASIC, but maybe I can do something with the new tech…

Maybe someone will bring out a basic version of BASIC for Windows that is easy to learn so I can program again? One that I can learn without going on a course…

I can publish with the tech I have now. I can finish writing this and with a click of a thingy, it will be uploaded to a server and you will be able to read it within minutes. It’s also interactive; you can use the comments box or even follow me on Twitter and send tweets!

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