Sunday 10 November 2013


I was just watching a movie and when the credits were rolling at the end, a song came on that I liked. I took out my iPad, opened “Shazam”, pressed a button and in 30 seconds I knew that it was “Cups” by Anna Kendrick. Louise knew who it was earlier because it was written on the screen. Whether Louise is smarter than I am isn’t the point. The point is that I just had to press a button and the information I needed/wanted was there. This is a link to the song.

It got me to thinking about a time before the internet. In a similar situation I would try to remember some key words in the song and when I saw my musical friends I would ask them if they knew a song with the words “When I’m gone” in it. Inevitably they would say “How does it go?” They would say this to humiliate me when I tried to hum the tune I’m pretty sure. They would laugh and eventually they would start making suggestions which made little or no sense. I would listen to the radio for hours, hoping that they would play the song and if and when they did play the song, they might not mention the title of the song. It would sometimes be months before I found out what the name of the song was and by that time I wouldn’t know why I had cared as much as I did.
That kind of thing happened quite a lot before the internet. Sometimes you would want to know when Hannibal crossed the Alps. We didn’t have a set of encyclopaedias at home, so I would have to either ride my bike to the library or wait until I got back to school. I could have asked mom or dad, but they would just tell me to go and look it up. That was parent speak for “I don’t know.” Most of my friends were idiots when it came to dates in history and pretty much most other things. They were busy burning herbs. Sometimes I would remember to look it up, but I was more likely to forget why I wanted to know in the first place.

You had to talk to people if you wanted to learn how to fix the radiator back in those days. Now I can just go online and watch as many videos as I want to about radiator repair. The other day I needed to take a copper pipe apart and then re solder it back in the proper place. There was a time I would call someone who had done plumbing and picked their brain about the correct way to join the pipes. I just went online and watched a video or two. It turns out that I knew how to do the job from helping my buddy when he was doing a water heater installation.
Not everything on the internet is right and sometimes it is just wrong. You need to check out more than one source and if there is a difference of opinion, you need to go old school and talk to someone that might know. Sometimes that costs you a coffee, but more often than not it comes with a pleasant conversation.

The internet is here to stay and so is instant knowledge. I don’t know if that is good or bad…let me check the internet…

I’m still reading… there are a lot of different opinions.

Oh, just in case you were wondering, Hannibal crossed the Alps in 218 BC.

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