Friday, June 24, 2011

Disconnected/The Zombie Apocalypse

Nature preservationist John Muir with US Presi...
For better or worse we're almost always online these days. I'm old enough to clearly remember a time when this wasn't true so when I end up in a remote place where Internet and sometimes even cell access are not available it isn't a completely alien feeling. I wonder how younger people feel/deal with that though?
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If there is ever a zombie apocalypse I suspect the younger survivors will be more concerned about the lack of texting and Internet service than the shambling undead.

When my wife and I went on a short vacation recently we drove over some very rural roads at times.  She gets car sick and likes to drive so I always get to be the passenger on road trips. Before we got our first navigation system I had copilot duties but now I mostly spend time on my laptop working on stuff like this BLOG. Google's blogger service is an example of a cloud application. If you have the page loaded when you lose your Internet connection you can still enter text but it isn't going to be saved. This makes it easy to lose a whole lot of work. Thankfully that didn't happen to me but the fact that it could is one reason I'm a fan of solutions that are either stand alone or hybrid.

I've sometimes jokingly refer to myself as input addicted. Between work and leisure on a typical day  I probably spend an average of twelve hours or more on line. During that time I'm researching, generating reports, writing, programming, occasionally playing games and participating in various social networking sites. I almost never watch TV because it isn't interactive and the sound to noise ratio is very low. After two or three commercials I'm ready to go find something better to do. In my case input is only good when I perceive the quality to be high.

There have been many books written about both the good and the bad sides of the information technology revolution. The thing  people who come down on the bad side miss is that more often than not change is neither good nor bad, it just is. How we react to change says a lot about our own biases, background and insecurities.

I'd be lying if I said I totally enjoyed the experience of being offline for large chunks of time while we were on vacation. It made me realize just how much of my life I spend on line. Much like change I view this as neither good nor bad but it did get me to thinking.  We were driving through Yosemite for a lot of our downtime. That area is a beautiful normally and with the heavy snows we had this past winter it was even better than normal thanks to all the runoff. In spite of that I'm fairly sure I would have chosen to miss seeing the sites after the first couple of hours of not being able to tether.

The Internet is the rope that holds so many things together these days. I know we once lived without it but it's not an easy thing to imagine even though I lived through it. I'm sure I'd learn to live in that world again if I had to but I tend to think I'd hate the detox period.

This is change. Is it good or bad? I'm OK with it but I can see why some people might not be.

As for me, I'll probably be staring blank eyed at my computer screen waiting for the Internet to come back when the Zombies come to get me.

Image via Wikipedia
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