Posts tagged technology
On August 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee published the world’s very first website from CERN’s facilities in the Swiss Alps; a simple placeholder page written in Hypertext Mark-up Language (mirrored here).
Nobody outside of CERN had web browsing software in 1991, but gradually the world caught on and we all found bulletin boards and forums and Geocities and the public web expanded.
It wasn’t pretty at first, but it was new and cool and addictive as heck. I discovered it in 1995 and was instantly obsessed. Even made my own Angelfire page, which sort of resembled this pile of pixelated puke:
Surely, few could have predicted how far and fast the WWW would grow — How much it would change every single one of our lives.
I owe many friendships, fun times, learning opportunites and creative strokes to the web. Sheeeeet, I owe the whole of who I AM to the World Wide Web and related Internet technologies (Note for those of you who don’t already know: The Web is NOT the Internet, but a system we use to ACCESS the Internet. Internet itself is 40+ years old. Military stylez).
My career as I know it would not exist without Tim Berners-Lee and his work at CERN. So, thank you budday. Thanks for building the foundation of our playground.
Cheers to 20 more years of coding, communicating and chronic sleep deprivation.
For all it’s sucked out of me, the web has given back in spades. I don’t even want to imagine my life without it, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Now, please enjoy this instructional Internet video for kids, straight up out of Nineteen-ninety-something:
Okay guys, the first thing you need to know is that the Internet is amazing.
When I was a kid, I would often lie in bed at night thinking about the future. More specifically, I would fantasize about all of the wicked gadgets I intended to invent when I grew up: A mini-computer that could fit into my pencil case… A reverse microwave that could cool down soup… TUBES that could carry TOAST and TOASTER STRUDEL and CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH from the KITCHEN into my BEDROOM!!!
Some of those big ideas DID end up actually coming to fruition (Hellllooo, video phones!) but, regrettably, I had very little to do with that.
And then there are all of those other ideas… the ones that weren’t mine but should have been. The technologies that make my life so much better, so much easier… the ones that I could never have imagined on my own. Seriously – How could I designed something that lets me print documents on the go from the palm of my hand when I didn’t even know about smartphones yet?
I should be careful to note that HP’s ePRINT technology doesn’t actually allow you to print documents from your hand, Spiderman style (Talk to me in 10 years).
What this sick feature DOES allow you to do is send documents, photos, emails and other printables to any HP printer equipped with ePRINT, from anywhere in the world. The possibilities are endless, and I intend to explore them more this week!
You see, HP was kind enough to send me an HP Officejet Pro 8500 A Plus to review – and (wait for it) ANOTHER printer to give away on my blog!
The specs are tight (I love that it lets you create professional-quality color prints using 50% less energy than laser printers) and I needed a new printer like woah so, I was like “HECK YES SEND ER ON OVAH!”.
I unboxed the big beautiful beast last night (with the help of two very gracious gentlemen). Watch and see:
All you need to do for a chance to win your own HP Officejet Pro 8500 A Plus is GIVE ME SOMETHING TO PRINT.
Drop a comment in this post with a link to a funny photo, a poem that you dig, a mantra that inspires you, some ASCII art…. Whatever you like.This weekend, I’ll actually print off your comments and hand select one piece of paper. Then I’ll announce the winner on my blog right hurr.
Soooo what are you waiting for? GIVE ME YOUR PRINTABLES! You have until Saturday morning, July 25th to enter. GOOD LUCK!
PS: I actually discovered this particular printer through HP and Sprouter’s Officejet Challenge. Six small business owners have been documented their experiences using this very printer in a series of blog posts for the chance to win a grand prize valued at $2,500. The posts are actually quite good! Congrats to RateHub on the win
“Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.” ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971
I’ve been having some strong feelings lately – and unlike many of the “strong feelings” I have (you know, about such important things as “what I’m doing tomorrow night” and, more importantly “what I’m wearing tomorrow night”), these feelings feel… important. And they’re niggling, too.
Maybe I’m having a quarter-life crisis, or tripping over the fact that I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of my graduation from university. Whatever the case, I’ve been stressing hard lately about where my life is heading and what I’m contributing to the human race in terms of ideas and intellect.
I’m going to be straight up for a minute here – No LOLcats or photos of my own big blonde ego:
We are currently living through one of the most important technological revolutions in the history of (our) civilization – the digital revolution – and I believe by the simple virtue of my age, educational background, passion for the subject, geographical location and propensity for words, that I am uniquely poised to observe and document this change for future generations. Many of you are in the exact same boat.
Born in 1985, I came into a world that didn’t have Internet connections in every home. A world without cell phones in every palm, without iPods, or even home computers in most places, really.
By the year 2000, I’d gone through no less than a dozen gaming consoles and had registered more screen handles than I could keep track of. I ran home after school to chat with my friends on ICQ and was more fluent in CSS than French (to be fair, code isn’t gendered). I owned a profitable web-based business before I knew how to do my own laundry – and I am not alone.
We millenial females made up the rules as we went along, no parents or books or teachers to guide us through the Wild Wild Web. It shaped our intellectual, social and emotional development profoundly. Some of us, more than others. Canadians, more than most.
The number of things I learned growing up alongside these burgeoning new mediums could fill a book – and that’s exactly what I would love to do someday.
I’ve read freaky-smart things penned by scholars who died decades upon decades ago that still ring true today, and can’t help wonder what Thorstein Veblen or Marshall McLuhan would say if they were alive to see what’s happening now.
One thing’s for certain – they wouldn’t be blogging about Flavor Flav’s fried chicken, or hanging around with Public Enemy backstage at Wakeboarding festival for that matter… could you imagine?
Quite a funny pair they’d make, I recon. I wonder what Flav wold think about Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption? Hahahaha.
Come to think of it, if Veblen were alive today he could very well have been writing about Captain Planet and Justin Bieber too because his attention span would be so damn fragmented that he’d have trouble concentrating on anything of substance for more than 10 minutes.
Or maybe not.
The point of this rant is that I don’t think I’m getting enough intellectual stimulation lately and dag nabbit, I miss feeling smart (if all of the unecessarily big words didn’t already tip you off to that. Sorry Mr. Orwell.)
I used to blog about light, funny things to take my mind off of the deep material I was digging into at school. A cat pining for cheezburgers was welcome in my psyche after marathon days spent at the library with my old dead homies from the Frankfurt School.
When I did the MA in Journalism, I begrudged professors for encouraging me to write about serious things as opposed to web culture because, after all, web culture is what I loved. It’s what I love still… but now I spend my days blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and producing Internet videos for a living. I couldn’t love my job any more (unless somebody hired a 24/7 personal masseuse for me or something), but I find that I’m getting hungry for something serious again, and I worry that the mark I’m making on the world right now is minimal, if I’m even making one at all.
Running around town, going to events, taking photos, making videos, writing about what’s going on in my life – that’s all fun, but it’s really rather hollow in the end.
Humans get old, get ugly, get weak, lose our minds, die… It’s happened to every cute face in existence and it will happen to me too. Nobody remembers the funny blonde flapper-chick who told saucy jokes and Charleston’d on tables in dope old-timey threads, do they? She may have been the life of the party back then, but what of her legacy? What did she contribute to the future of her species?
I don’t want to be Suzy Q. Funtimes… I want to be Karl Marx. I want to be Harper Lee. An Academic rockstar like Ursula Franklin. I want my first-hand account of what it was like to live through the dawn of the World Wide Web to be read by students who will never know a world where Nintendo existed outside of T-Shirts at Urban Outfitters.
I want to document the present so that humans of the future can understand the past.
Do I want my legacy to be an endless stream of funny ReTweets and photos of myself making duck faces in the mirror? A book’s worth of blog posts about 8bit art and nerd-merch?
Of course not. But for now, it is what it is. I can’t very well write about living through the “social media bubble” if I don’t live through it hard. Besides, I really am having a blast My only fear is that I’ll begin to forget the things I need to document before it’s in ink.
The Livejournal archives, the ICQ history, the emo poems on the hard drive of my Blueberry iMac – that stuff is ancient history, and I’ll need to recall a lot of my experiences from memory. If I weren’t so busy pumping out junk-content, I might actually have some time to focus on writing them out.
It’s easy to say I’ll scale back on this blog and focus on writing other things again, but the truth is that I’m very much attached to it. To all of it.
My very thoughts seem to be formed in 140 characters or less these days. When I get good news, I don’t call a friend. I Tweet it. It’s gratifying to see my follower count go up, even if it means nothing in real life. It may be false popularity, but it’s quantifiable popularity. I don’t know what to make of my attraction to that, but I do predict that I will have 100,000 followers before I have a legit maid of honour.
These paragraphs were particularly relevant in the context of this post:
It is now possible to always feel loved and cared for, thanks to the efficiency of our “comment walls” on Facebook and seamless connection with everyone we’ve ever known. Your confidence and self-esteem can quickly be reassured by checking your number of “followers” on Twitter or the number of “likes” garnered by your photographs and blog posts.
The traction you are getting in your projects, or with your business, can now be measured and reported in real time. Our insatiable need to tune into information – at the expense of savoring our downtime – is a form of “work” (something I call “insecurity work”) that we do to reassure ourselves.??”
Nice. I’d love to explore this topic more if I ever return to school for that PhD.
Maybe I’ll take a creative writing course at U of T for now, or hire a book-writing coach to get some motivation. Perhaps I could start freelancing for some more intellectual publications on the side! Nothing like a deadline to kick your butt into gear.
Think the Walrus would commission a piece about how people need to STOP USING THE WORD “EPIC” so loosely?
Probably not. Fortunately, I can write about that right here on my own blog. And I shall – but not today, because it’s Wednesday and some Butter Face recently wore a dress made out of Lego so….
WOULD YOU ROCK…
A Lego dress?
Hecks the fluck yes I would… like, in a photo. I can’t imagine that would be very fun to dance in.
These Lego stilettos on the other hand, I’d totally rock at an event or something. Heels aren’t really supposed to be comfortable anyway.
What a weird effing blog post. I love you Ceiling Cat, and I always will. I’ll never stop Internetting, despite the occasional crisis of faith.
“The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.” ~Sydney J. Harris
Greetings, internet friends!
Here’s a question for my under-30 readers: Have you ever been asked by an older relative to install computer software, “delete a virus”, or “look something up” online under the assumption that, because you’re one of those “kids with their internets”, you’re also an expert when it comes to digital technology?
“In Google we trust.” That may very well be the motto of today’s young online users…
That’s how the article begins.
Fair enough. I have likened Google to an omnipresent, all-knowing God on numerous occasions. No beef there.
there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.
Yup. Based on the number of friends I have who still get confused by the “RT”s, “@”s and hashtags in my Twitter-Synced Facebook feed, I’d say that’s pretty accurate.
What got me riled up was the article author’s assertion that our demographic group has been dubbed “digital natives” due to our apparent tech-savvy.
“NO! We’re called digital natives because we were born into a world where digital technology has always existed – we don’t know any other way of life! It has nothing to do with how SAVVY we are!” I yelled – or something along those lines but probably less eloquent.
When Marc Prensky coined the term in 2001, he made the distinction between Digital Natives (Gen Y, Z and X-ers who are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the internet) and Digital Immigrants (Our hip parents and grandparents – those who were not born into the digital
world but have adopted many or most aspects of the new technology).
He contends that Digital Immigrants are perfectly capable of learning this digital language, but that like a person who learns a spoken language later in life, they will always retain an accent.
“As Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their “accent,” that is, their foot in the past. The “digital immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first, or in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it.” (page 2)
To run with the metaphor of spoken language, I believe that some immigrants can come to master a language (accent or no accent) and speak it more fluently than one who was born and raised speaking it. It all comes down to education, hard work and natural intelligence.
The same can be said for digital languages. Millennials may have been able to “speak” technology from an early age, but it doesn’t mean they can all speak it particularly well.
I know people twice my age who will run circles around my peers in the tech. department and conversely, I know people half my age who can run circles around my elders when it comes to grammar and spelling.
But I`m getting off topic…
The Northwestern University study that sparked this post isn’t about how technologically adept students are in the online space as much as it’s about how media literate they are online.
According to the researchers, not very.
The main findings of the study showed that a lot of digital natives place blind faith in search engine brands and algorithms they don’t even understand, judging the credibility of a source by its place on a results page.
If a website ranks high on Google or Yahoo!, it MUST be legit, right?
My research methods professor would have said that with only 102 subjects from an isolated and relatively homegenous population, this study is hardly credible. However, based on personal observations and some of the scholarly research available on the subject, I’d say the authors findings are dead on.
Young people spend a lot of time online, but they don`t necessarily understand the online space. Most can navigate it to an extent, but the ones who can map it and create it are few and far between.
It pains me to say this, but hypersavvy youngsters seem to be the exception, not the rule – at least where I come from.
There are lots of internet kids bopping around Toronto, but for every one of us geeksters there are 11 of our peers nearby asking for help with linking an email account to a shiny new smartphone.
Digital Natives are not Digital experts by default, and I don`t think it`s fair to expect them to be.
Had I not been interested in computers as a kid and then schooled in communications & information technology I’d probably be just as lost when it comes to batch resizing images and setting up SQL databases as my friends who went to university for Human Kinetics or English Lierature.
It`s time to stop segregating web populations by age – we`re living in a multitechnocultural society here, people! It’s 2010 for gawshsakes.
Young or old, male or female, Digital Native or Digital Immigrant, anyone who’s got the gumption to go after it can be media literate and technologically fluent with the right education.
And therin lies the rub.
Critical web literacy isn’t currently a part of the curriculum in many Canadian schools. There are fabulous resources available for educators who choose to integrate web media literacy lessons into their classrooms, but nothing is mandated beyond some basic media education units in the language program and THAT is problematic.
How will students learn to be web-savvy if they’re left to figure out all of this ‘new media’ stuff on their own?
Methodological discrepancies aside, I wholeheartedly agree with the Northwestern University study researchers when they conclude that `’Further initiatives that help educate people in this domain are needed‘.
The Canadian Media Awareness Network agrees. The non-profit organization, which has been pioneering
the development of media literacy and digital literacy programs in Canada since in 1996, recently released a “Digital Literacy Paper“ that calls for federal leadership in
the creation of a “national digital literacy strategy to ensure all
Canadians have the necessary skills to use digital technologies to
their fullest potential.“
A national digital literacy strategy… I love the sound of that.
What are your thoughts?
There are a lot of nifty, web-based apps out there. It feels like I’m stumbling upon some useful new productivity tool or genius website like, erreday.
For people who bounce around frequently between work stations, cloud computing is totally the way to go – you don’t use up any disk space, file sharing is a breeze, you can access your data from anywhere and for the most part, it’s totally free. and y’all know how much I love me some F to the R to the E – E – E -E – E!
I tend to fall in love with things and rave about them for days to anyone who will listen until the novelty wears off, and then I go back to not-so-quietly using them to make my life easier and/or more awesome. Instead of doing that this week, I thought I’d blog about my new crush.
A little bit of Sunday night procrastination just lead me to postica, which is basically like, teh interweb’s answer to post-it notes – electrified on crack. Crack being “my computer”, of course.
I used to have a desktop program like this called “Stickies” on my old blueberry iMac and I just loved it to pieces. My only beef with this version is that the note colours are a bit muted – I’m a brights girl, myself. I do, however, love the convenience of a web-based virtual sticky-note board. I can’t believe I didn’t think to Google this little baby sooner!
Annnd speaking of Google, post-it notes, and LOVE – look what else I just stumbled upon:
8-bit post-it art! *fangirl scream*
If this doesn’t scream Lauren O’Neil to you then you probably haven’t met me before. Hi, I’m Lauren.
(image and sweet shades courtesy of Michael Nus)