Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of when some bloke, sorry SIR some bloke, published some files on an international network. Since then a lot has changed. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it mediocre, some of it, er, unmediocre.
I first stumbled across the internet in my first job. After being introduced to Windows for Workgroups, my first ever experience of Windows after years of Macs, I was shown an application called Netscape, a search engine called Yahoo!, and six months later I created my first web site. Email was still limited to a handful of people, mostly in the same company, and spam was something you didn’t buy at the supermarket. I quickly found newsgroups and websites that followed my interests, and struck up some email friendships with people across the globe. OK, so mainly with people in the USA.
Since that day the internet has grown to be an integral part of my life. On Thursday last week I lost my broadband connection for a couple of hours and I was stumped. I couldn’t look anything up, I couldn’t email or MSN anyone to ask a question, I couldn’t surf the web idly, and it was all a little disconcerting.
Now I take some care not to rely completely on my computer or the internet. I’m aware that my computer may die, and the internet might not always be there, but it was a stark reminder of just how it influences my personal and professional life. Startling.