What Would Life Be Like Without The Internet (Part 1)

The initial sobering thought is that you would not be reading this post if there were no internet. The thought of  LWTI (Life Without The Internet) came to me in sort of a wave of experiences. The front edge of the wave led me to admit sometimes I use my smartphone and its connection to the Internet to avoid human contact. Yes, if I am restless at dinner or a Poker game, I take out my phone and check email or scan world headlines. Every time my phone vibrates I take it out, often interrupting an ongoing conversation. In short, I am addicted to the stimulation of the Internet.

What was life like before the Internet?

  1. Communication – There were F2F meetings, often requiring time- consuming travel to meetings. There were long distance phone calls. There was snail mail. In the 1960’s, I can remember patiently waiting in my college dormitory post office to find out if my family’s care package shipped 10 days ago had arrived today.
  2. Banking -Ah, the days of standing in line to make a deposit or to pay a vendor. It was licking a stamp on an envelope and mailing the bill to the provider of your services.
  3. Libraries – Walking to the library and hoping that the reference book you needed for your report was available and paying the library fines often.
  4. Movies – As a child, Saturday afternoons were special for my bother and me. I fondly remember going to a matinee where admission and popcorn for the both of us cost less than a dollar.
  5. Employment. There was no such thing as working online. You dressed for work. You commuted to work. More often than not you worked from 8-5 and commuted home.
  6. Television. For the first 18 years of my life there was one T.V. in the house. We watched together as a family and of course there was no streaming, Youtube or viewing on a tablet or smartphone.

Was life slower, better, more enjoyable before the Internet? For my grandchildren there are no comparisons. All of their lives they have experienced Email, Google, Facebook, iPhones and ordering from Amazon and receiving their products in the same day.  They don’t know the meaning of film and typewriters.

Could we exist today without the Internet? Does the child growing up in the Internet age lack personal communication skills? Do we as adults keep our personal communication skills sharp?

In Part 2, I will discuss a need to return to some of the skills we had before the Internet.

 

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24 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer

A great article by  that you can find here  Here are the ones I found especially interesting.

  • Duolingo – Learn another language
  • Khan Academy – A fantastic way through youtube to learn about interesting subjects.
  • MIT Open Courseware – free college courses online
  • Investopedia – the subject says it all
  • Quora – find experts to ask about almost anything
  • Geography IQ – select any country and access virtually every facet of useful information
  • TED – my favorite site on this list. Superb talks by interesting people from around the world.

 

Ask Alexa Anything

Alexa is Amazon’s answer to Siri the voice command assistant for your digitally connected devices. I have Alexa running on my Nexus Smartphone and recently they added the capability to my Amazon Fire TV. So now I can use my remote or smartphone and say the following to the TV and have the answers, video, music etc. displayed on my big screen HDTV. You can also use Alexa on iPads and iPhones.

  • Play a song in my Amazon Library
  • Launch a movie from Netflix
  • What’s on my calendar or to do list
  • Play a favorite music or news station from any radio station in the world
  • Read the next chapter from my Kindle book
  • What’s my flash briefing from NPR News
  • Re-order physical products you previously purchased on the Amazon website.
  • Ask Alexa to find and read information from Wikipedia
  • Tell me a joke – What do you call a Grizzly with no teeth (Ans. a gummy bear)
  • Alexa Skills -turn on skills that allow your device to tell you about upcoming concerts in your city or play math games with you.

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What Is The Most Useful Site In The History Of The Internet

I’m going to bet 10 cents that no one guesses this site: Here are some of the things this site can do that Google can not:

  • Know exactly what to expect when you go to the doctor

  • You can plug in various bits of information to find out risks of developing diseases.

  • Generate awesome demographic charts

  • How much a dollar from any point in history would be worth today

  • Convert, say, 1950 dollars to 1995 dollars

  • Compare all sorts of man-made structures

  • You can learn about what the internet sees when they look at your computer

  • You can also look at long-term energy price trends for all sorts of locations

Ok, so pay your 10 cents if you didn’t say the site was Wolfram Alpha.

LifeHacker just came up with 13 awesome tricks for the Average Wolfram Alpha User

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