Saturday, January 10, 2015

Internet Discussions on Friday Morning in the Little Hall

Friday mornings will find me in the library discussing computer issues with whoever decides to sit in on it. I am there at 8:30 AM but it is not tightly structured and you could wander in at most any time.
The article below was written by a man I have followed for computer advice  since 1996 when I became Internet connected. I enjoyed this nostalgic look back and thought you might too.
Barb

thingswebThe Internet of Things

The world is full of cool names for things; I suppose it has always been so. I know for a fact our grandparents had cool names for things. For instance, I can remember when people would say – “Hey get Gary on the horn.” The Horn was a cool name for a telephone. And speaking of cool names, what about the word cool itself. It’s a beatnik word from the 40’s and 50’s when it was usually used in conjunction with “man”- as in “That’s really cool, man.” Words like Fridge and Mike and Cell and all the rest of the cool words – usually shortened versions of the original word – are testament to the human need for speed. For example: I can say Fridge faster than I can say refrigerator.
So it should not surprise anyone that we now refer to things which are stored on Web servers — the way things have always been stored on Web servers — as being stored “in the cloud: . The cloud is just  another name for Web, Web servers, and Internet. So I guess it’s easier and faster and cooler  to call it the cloud than to call it the Web, a Web server, Web servers and/or Internet.
When Darcy and I were taking our first baby steps on the Internet back in 1995 – twenty years ago – it was a different place than it is today. It was more a curiosity then and it had some really dedicated fans like us who extolled its virtues to everyone who’d listen.  People used to look at us like we were insane when we told them we were building a Web site for email stationery. Most people barely knew what email was in those days – and building a Web site was something reserved for geeks or introverted hermits who rarely if ever saw the light of day. But we were on the Internet as much as our day jobs would allow – some said we were addicted, and that’s probably true.
Today the Internet is no longer a curiosity – it’s a necessity. Banking, credit card systems, stock markets, online stores and even brick and mortar stores depend on computers and the Internet. If the Internet were to simply disappear the world would be in a state of chaos. Having come from the days when we were freaks because we spent our spare time hunched over computers downloading as much freeware as we could – before the days of ubiquitous malware – and building our very first Web site called “Thundercloud & Eightball’s Christmas Graphics” we are simply astounded by the growth of the Internet, particularly in the last 10 years.
The Web has evolved from a curiosity, to a necessity, controlling many facets of our life. And so it is because of the nature of technology to grow exponentially, that we have now what we call the Internet – The Internet of Things.
No longer is the Internet accessible only by people hunched over a computer – it’s accessible from phones and tablets as well as many other thingsThings like thermostats, watches, refrigerators, automobiles, ovens, pacemakers, and more things. And it is all these things that comprise the “Internet of Things“.
To us an internet refrigerator or internet oven or an internet thermostat seem a little bit over-the-top, but for those who never knew a world without computers, without the Internet, and without cell phones, those internet-connected gizmos are probably pretty ho-hum.
And to think we’re just at the threshold of this Internet of Things. We cannot imagine what the Internet of Things will be in fifty years, not that it will matter to us – we’ll be long gone.
As for us, we liked the Internet better when it was the Internet of one thing – when it was new and when it was just a curiosity. Like looking back on things usually does, it brings with it a sad sense of nostalgia.
But it is what it is.
So whether you’re reading this while hunched over a computer or on the menu screen of your Internet refrigerator, or on the dial of your Internet-connected smart watch or any other Internet-connected “things” – you are part of the Internet of Things whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not.
Did I mention the Internet coffee maker? The Internet light bulb?
TC

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