Sunday, 5 December 2010

Amy, at Amy's Passions, was wondering how she'd get along if she wasn't connected to the internet, and I've been wondering much the same recently.

We got our first computer in the late 1980s, when the boys were just about old enough to start playing with a computer. It was a Sinclair Spectrum ZX, which attached to the television. Christopher didn't have much interest in it, but Number One Son and I loved it. We bought a few games for it, but mostly we programmed our own. In those days you could get books out of the library which gave you the programming for various games. Remember the old Ping Pong game?
Well, I followed the programming details from a library book and created our own. And we had great fun with it as I remember. I also moved on to programming my own little programs, and was highly delighted with myself when I completed something.

When Number One Son was 12 we bought our first PC, a very timely purchase as it coincided with him developing ME, an illness which kept him confined to the house for several years, and playing on the computer was one of the few activities he could pursue. We loved that PC and the games we bought for it - Lemmings, Humans, Tetris, Sim City, Pushover, all brilliant games that kept us entertained for hours. Oliver and I even managed to fit a sound card to that PC, all by ourselves. It took us all day, but we were triumphant.

As the years went by we upgraded our PCs to bigger and better machines, with supposedly bigger and better games, though I still even now hanker for those original games. But for the life of me I can't remember exactly when we first got the internet. It was doubtless at the urging of our sons, as I couldn't see much point in having it at the time (I say 'I', since Christopher left all of the computing decisions to me, he had no real interest or understanding). But get it we did, and the boys embraced it wholeheartedly.

And slowly I came to depend on the internet too. I could not function easily as a quilter without it, as I purchase so much of my tools, notions and fabric online - cheaper and a wider choice. I have found so much inspiration from others through blogging, and got loads of patterns and ideas from free online sites.
Would I enjoy quilting so much if I wasn't able to see what other people have been up to, and to share photographs of my own efforts? I'm not sure that I would.

When I was working full time I did my weekly shopping online too, though now I don't bother. But I still buy many things online that I can't find in our local shops. And I use the internet for research into items that we plan to buy.

The internet is my encyclopaedia of choice, though it has to be approached with care and understanding of bias.

And of course having access to email is absolutely essential these days. Yesterday I was in a shop and overheard a conversation between an elderly customer and a sales assistant who was helping her to sign up to the loyalty card. She was asked for her email address and when she admitted that she didn't have one the assistant said that he'd have to make one up for her as he could proceed without one.

I think the greatest boon of the internet however has been for Christopher, my computer phobic husband. Without it he wouldn't be able to work largely from home. Nowadays he travels to London for just three days a month. I love having him around the house, and being able to get out and about at times other than the weekend. 
But I HATE his Blackberry; it means that he's never off duty, and we can't even go out for lunch without him checking up on what's happening at the office, and replying to emails. I swear I'm going to start hiding it when we go out, or on holiday!

Love it or hate it, I can't imagine life without the internet.


Sew Create It - Jane said...

My DH works from home too 3 days a week. It took some getting use to, but I really miss him now if he has to go into the office! I reckon it is good training for when he retires! LOL

Amy (lilme2_99) said...

Oh wow Amanda....THIS is a well-thought out response and I sure appreciated reading it. I agree with you in regards to enjoying the quilting process by reading what others are doing and sharing what I have done as well. Without this show-n-tell wouldn't be the same.

Whew...glad I'm not alone! You just said it all better than what I could formulate together.

Amelia said...

I use the computer much the same way you mentioned in your post. My husband has nothing to do with it at all...but he is always asking me to check on something while I am at the computer.

On-line purchasing has become the way I do lots of buying.

Who would have thought when we were growing up it would be such an integral part of our life?

scraphappy said...

Technology is such a mixed blessing. I have trouble figuring out how I would manage without it, but it does blur the lines between leisure and work when people expect you to read you e-mail round the clock. I'm sure working from home has a similar effect. It makes it impossible to leave your job at the office.

Gretchen said...

I can hardly imagine what I did before the internet either. The best thing is discovering wonderful bloggers and quilters all over the world that have enriched my life--just like you!

jabblog said...

I guess our path was pretty much like yours, though my first introduction was at Birmingham University where a computer took up a whole large room. My husband was then 'doing' a PhD and - yes - he used to go into the room to check what was happening as we were on our way to some social gathering.
Now we are never out of contact - and sometimes I wish we were - but I do love my laptop!

Kay said...

I remember our first TI computer. The kids used to play games on it. Funny, but we never play games on the computer now. However, I couldn't get along without it. I use it for everything else.

I agree about the Blackberry. My son-in-law is never quite with us. He seems to always have one ear tuned to questions streaming in on the Blackberry.

Clare said...

Wonderful post and I couldn't agree with you more about the Blackberry. My sister has one and you can't get a word out of her when she's away from work!

DH is computer phobic too. He's learning, but it's taking time and driving DD and I crazy with the constant questions. Why, How, Why and Why again. Grrrr!

Lynn said...

I love your post, hadn't thought about the computer like this, I take it for granted. You are definitely right about the computers and blogging and quilting!

suz said...

I know what you mean about that Blackberry. I work for attorneys and it's 24/7 for them too. I finally put my foot down and refused to connect to the office on weekends. My job isn't that high up the scale to matter, but I didn't like them thinking they could contact me all the time.

Heckety said...

Oh how this post brought back memories! Library books with programmes? Oh yes! And then there was the time we had just about finished putting in a programme, having taken all day in shifts, and Granny yanked out the plug as she wanted to vacuum!!! How we all roared, and the parents just laughed and Dad said 'there's always tomorrow'!! Everyone still remembers that!!
I would be the worse off without the internet, and the computer, I enjoy it very much, and for all the reasons you say, especially looking at other folk's the tree-skirt you finised later in the week!!