Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

Very often when we are assembling these blogs, we turn to the internet to check facts, gather statistics, check spelling, confirm dates and find pages full of information.
Ency Brit 1950
A brief digression, when my kids were young I really coveted the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA but it was way beyond my budget and in any case we couldn't have housed thirty-odd large volumes. Last year a friend asked me if I could sell a mint condition edition from, I think, about 1950. We couldn't get any offers and eventually it was given to a charity shop.

The World Wide Web (www) first hit my computer in the mid 1990s, less than thirty years ago. By todays standards it was desperately slow but I don't think I exaggerate when I say it changed the World. I can remember being staggered that I could log in to the NASA website in America and seeing the look of amazement on my friend Alwyne's face when he saw all the details of the ship he had served on at the end of WW2. Like me he wondered who had put on the WWW all these thousands of pages and all for free.

Over the years there have been literally dozens of search engines but one way or
another most people end up using Google and since those early days it has become part of most peoples' life. Google is now a verb in the English dictionary and I have yet to search for any topic and be unable to find a reference. Just try entering a word into the Google search engine and see what you get. I just tried 'Potato'. Over seven-hundred million references in less than a second!

I looked for an obscure word and chose
gwenders. 'A noun meaning a disagreeable tingling sensation in the extremities, caused by cold; numbness of the fingers or toes'. Google found 4,310 results in 0.41 seconds. ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA eat your heart out ! All this modern (To me at least) technology is the stuff of science fiction.
B T Phone

Masses of information, images, videos and recordings for just a few pounds a year. Telephones calls where you can see the person to whom you are talking and, what's worse, they can see you. They can literally be the other side of the world and it doesn't cost a penny.

Another bit of technology which continues to amaze me is small a cylindrical two way loudspeaker that sits on my desk. I can ask it the time, play music, set reminders and a host of other things. What really gets me is that it
seems to be personal to me. If I ask for the weather it gives me a weather forecast for where I am; the nearest Chinese take away is local to me. Think of the algorithms that allows me to verbally access all that information. Almost best of all, I can ask it from wherever I am in the room to add items to my shopping list and there they are, in a list on my iPhone.


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