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How the internet changed your life

  1. Apr 21, 2012 #1

    Evo

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    I was just thinking last night about all of the things I can do now via the internet that was either impossible before or time consumming and difficult at the least.

    I can send and recieve mail instantaneously, I can get and pay bills online. I can access books I never even knew existed. Get instant news from around the world. Watch and talk to friends around the world via live video and audio. Have discussions with fascinating people I otherwise would have never met. The list just goes on and on.

    Since I was almost 40 years old before the "world wide web", it has been a major change in my life. I don't think my girls remember how things were before the internet. My oldest had taught herself various programming languages and I discovered at age 12 she was making websites for small businesses (for free) she's a very talented graphic artist, btw, AND she had a popular website that gave advice to troubled teens. I was worried when I found it, but her advice was sound, safe and accurate, to my relief. She sounded like she could have been a trained therapist/counselor.

    I realize we have a lot of young people on here that were raised with the internet. But even for them the internet has evolved.

    I was wondering how other people feel the internet has changed their lives.
     
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  3. Apr 21, 2012 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Well, it gave me a career, 20 years and going strong...
     
  4. Apr 21, 2012 #3

    Borek

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    For good and for bad. Now I can pretend I am working not moving from home, before I had to drive 20 kilometers to do the same. My close friends live on another continents, so instead of meeting them in person to socialize, I drink beer on Sunday evening watching the chat screen.
     
  5. Apr 21, 2012 #4

    Astronuc

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    I've been able to download a database of technical reports from various agencies. Before I would have to order by mail or fax, and then it would take weeks to get a hard copy.

    I do airline reservations online, and I can change itineraries and check for flight delays.

    We do online banking and various commercial transactions, and we pay our taxes online.

    When I got my first job in industry, the office where I worked had a 1200 baud modem, and the line was so noisy that jobs I submitted to a mainframe computer in Texas often crashed because the input deck was contaminated by spurious characters. I couldn't download output because it was too long and expensive. Now I use workstations in my office for those problems. However, I have now have access via the internet to various high performance supercomputers are various labs.

    At work, we do desktop sharing and VoIP to discuss work and even co-edit reports. We also have access to various repositories of electronic libraries.

    I can also do webinars and meetings online.

    The major downside is the huge number of attempts to hack into computers systems in order to steal information.
     
  6. Apr 21, 2012 #5

    Ryan_m_b

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    Flatteringly I am one of the young people, I first experienced a computer at age 4 in school (back then it was still floppy disks though) and got my first home computer about age 8. So for me it is very hard to imagine how daily life would work without the internet, that said there has been significant changes.

    When we first got a computer and the internet I used to have to walk round the house (or even call my parents) to ask to use it because A: it cost a lot and B: if someone was on the internet other people couldn't use the phone! I still remember talking to people on the phone only to suddenly have this sound blast at me as someone tried to check their emails. That all changed when broadband came in.

    A few years after that when I was in my middle teens a big change was that everyone started getting laptops, by everyone I mean school kids for general computer use as opposed to workers for business. This lead to ever increasing internet use (corresponding to far less watching on TV), particularly it lead to use of MSN. When I was around 15/16 MSN was the way that everyone spent their evenings when they weren't seeing people physically. That was interesting in general because it's one of the significant steps in how people in my generation headed down the path of constantly connected/communicating (which is a significant generation gap). This evolved into social networking in general, I don't have much to say about that that isn't that obvious.

    The last development is that of smartphones. I've had mobile phones capable of internet access since I was 13 but it was expensive, slow and awful to try and use. With smartphones everything's become easier so now I've constantly got internet access in my pocket. Consequently I now can always look something up, get information about what my friends are doing/have done and where and find out where I am. The former and latter of the last sentence I use very frequently. Whether it's going shopping and looking up nearby places to eat and where they are (plus a quick check with my vouchercloud app) to having a discussion with people where knowing certain facts would help us along. I spend a lot of my weekends travelling and I can't tell you how useful having pocket internet it. I check train times, maps from stations to other places, I use it to communicate to tell people where I am/will be and moderate PF whilst mobile.

    An interesting thing I like to consider is not just how the internet and other communications technologies have changed but how they have changed people. People my age don't really have a great idea what it means to not be able to look something up at will nor not be able to communicate. Someone born/growing up now would likely have a smartphone from age 10 onwards. Considering GPS is a standard feature the coming younger generation will not only have everything mine has but would have an understanding of being lost as tenuous as my generations understanding of not being able to look something up or send a text. Very strange but very interesting.
     
  7. Apr 21, 2012 #6

    Evo

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    I was doing data networks back in the late 70's for connections between mainframes. the circuits were analog. I remember when we started installing digital hubs that would allow long haul circuits to go digital part of the way.
     
  8. Apr 21, 2012 #7

    Evo

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    Ryan, that was an exellent perspective. I wonder if young people should be given courses on how to survive if they lose their smartphone?

    You can't imagine driving at night in a strange place and having car trouble and having to get out on foot and hope to find a working payphone to call for help. When you were out of your house, you were cut off from the rest of the world.
     
  9. Apr 21, 2012 #8

    Borek

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    Somehow this part about getting lost and not knowing how to deal with the real life, when you have been raised with your smartphone always on, makes me think about...

    uVN-7h4YiAs[/youtube]
     
  10. Apr 21, 2012 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    Thank you :smile: I think in specific subjects it would be great to learn how to do things without modern technology, the scenario you mention is a good one. Though I think it would be a fine line to walk between teaching skills that might come in useful in a future emergency and unnecessarily teaching something unlikely to ever be used.

    I worry about the latter simply because I've had discussions with people (some amongst my family) where they have argued that kids these days rely too much on X, where "X" is a technology they grew up without. In some cases they are right but more often and not it seems to me that they have this opinion out of a sense of wounded pride that a skill they spent a long time learning is now available at the touch of a button. I frequently point out that they probably don't know how to use a slide rule or light a fire without a match etc but the point isn't often well understood.

    Back to the original point though alongside teaching "how to cope without" skills I think it will become increasingly important to invest in infrastructure to provide backup. Smartphones aren't just better phones, they're taking the role of many tools that we normally carry. In the UK various companies are trialling contactless payments via phones (either through the phones NFC or through a PayTag) including http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14836.aspx [Broken]-like payments and there are efforts to employ the same technology for locks. If this trend continues the classic keys, wallet, phone pocket combo will vanish. This is more convenient but if your phone runs out of battery, or breaks/is stolen you've got no way to access money, travel or call for help. I imagine that in future it may be more common for someone who has lost/broken their phone to walk into any phone shop and get the same model with their profile/settings downloaded from a cloud (with an instruction to the real phone to delete itself if stolen), and for more places to have mobile charger stations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Apr 21, 2012 #10

    Evo

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    LOL @ Borek :biggrin:
     
  12. Apr 21, 2012 #11
    Although I belong to the younger guys pool, I had not experienced computer before 16 yr. I am able to live without my computer for extended amount of time (however I must need some books to do that). I never felt the need to own smartphone and thus do not have one :)
     
  13. Apr 21, 2012 #12

    Evo

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    A lot of newer cars have those "Onstar" systems that track you, determine if you've had an accident and calls for help.

    Perhaps the next thing really will be people getting implants. Of course anything can fail, so you need to have some basic knowledge of direction, what's in the area, etc... I can see some people becoming so dependent on their smartphone doing everything for them that they will lose track of their surroundings and direction. If they don't need to be observant since they are relying on a device to tell them to "turn now", "go left here", etc... they may not even know how they got to where they are. Couple that with the sudden loss of contact with people, it could be a very bad experience.
     
  14. Apr 21, 2012 #13

    Ryan_m_b

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    That's a cool feature, not sure if we have it in the UK. Then again our population density is so high that you're rarely more than a couple of miles from somewhere populated.
    Ergh, I've already read through loads of comments on various news sites reporting on contactless payments along the lines of "And that no man might buy or sell, save [except] he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." If we had implants the nuts really would come out of the woodwork! Jewellery on the other hand...
    True indeed. Especially worse if google, Oakley or some other company finally get Augmented Reality glasses to market. If they break or run out of power suddenly the world will literally look like a different place (without helpful icons providing communication, maps, payments etc).
     
  15. Apr 21, 2012 #14

    Astronuc

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    A couple of years ago, I rented a car that had OnStar. I was adjusting the rearview mirror late at night while driving and accidently activated the emergency call. I tried to figure out how to turn it off before someone answered, but I couldn't. I had to explain to the operator that it was a mistake. It was rather distracting while driving and having to deal with that.
     
  16. Apr 21, 2012 #15
    I got onto the internet bandwagon about the time cable internet was starting. I was about 14 years old and AT&T was just installing whatever they needed to install on the telephone poles.
    Back then I just used it for video games and talking to people online. I really just wasted a lot of time on it. But of course, at 14, I would have wasted my time other places, having less fun, if I didn't have the internet to waste it on, so I can't blame the internet for that.

    But now, 14 years later, I have to give it credit for teaching me a lot of things I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I've learned a lot about the world and other people without even going anywhere. It has made college easier, and at this point, I can't picture life without it.
    How ironic would it be if that actually caused an accident.

    "I was adjusting my rear view mirror and accidentally...." CRASH "....ok, change of plan, go ahead and send that ambulance"
     
  17. Apr 21, 2012 #16

    OmCheeto

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    hmmm...... Life was retarded before the internet.

    After the internet, I contacted Tim Berners-Lee and offered him money and/or chocolate as compensation for his involvement in this most wonderful of inventions. He graciously declined.

    Now life after PF on the other hand....

    :surprised

    what a roller-coaster.

    :smile:
     
  18. Apr 21, 2012 #17
    I've been on the internet playing video games with strangers since I was... 12? I'd say it's seriously influenced my life and I'd definitely be a different person if it weren't for the internet. I've met a loooot of people and made plenty of friends that I've never even seen. They've changed through the years and some of them I don't talk to anymore and some of them I'm *still* talking to.

    Also wikipedia, I don't know what I'd do without wikipedia.
     
  19. Apr 21, 2012 #18

    micromass

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    Wait, wait. You people seem to imply that there wasn't always internet???

    :bugeye:
     
  20. Apr 21, 2012 #19
    It has been interesting. I was talking with my oldest sister on the phone today. She never did get into computers or the Internet. She told me that her grandson had won a scholarship to Purdue and that his picture was in the hometown paper.

    She said she would send me the article and the picture when she found the time.

    While we were talking I googled up the picture and the article. I don't think that she really believed me until I told her Zack's GPA.

    As for all of the widgets and gadgets in automobiles I personally can do without them. GPS is OK but for a fraction of the price, I can buy one and set it on the dash.

    The touch screens are a major distraction. I don't need to touch a screen to control the A/C. I would rather have knobs that I recognize by shape and feel without looking down.

    In addition there is blue tooth, On star, and all kinds of services including the Internet, and that's where I came in....
     
  21. Apr 22, 2012 #20

    Borek

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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