Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Forgive me, but I'm a little overawed by technological advances tonight.

The last time I went travelling to Australia was 2003. Hardly worthy of 'back in the day' or 'when I was a nipper' status, but it's mad how much things have changed in six years.

I don't mean the country itself, and I'm not referring to me and my rapidly evolving brain. I'm on about technology, my little warthogs. Technology.

Last time I set foot into the realm of the Bunk Beds, I didn't have internet banking. It was probably available, vaguely, but I didn't have it set up. This meant I had to keep track of whatever money I spent in a little notebook, something I was largely and repeatedly unsuccessful at doing (I do English, not maths).

Digital cameras were big clunky, rubbish things, so all my photos were taken on rolls of kodak film, developed and stuffed in a backpack as I went along. There was no Wifi. No netbooks. No facebook to share photos or keep track of newly made friends. No Skype. Webcams were primitive, fuzzy things used by paedophiles in chat rooms. Blogs were only just on the radar.

A relationship I was in at the time failed, partly due to the temptations an 18 year old backpacker faces, but mostly due to a severe lack of communication. Months would pass without a word from either of us. This time around, while I'm not so brave as to call it easy, my relationship certainly stands a better chance. This morning I woke up at 7am and chatted face to face with the Boyfriend whilst lying down in bed, using the crystal clear webcam of my netbook, hooked up to the wireless internet in the house I'm staying in, and transmitted through the vastly improved, telephone quality of a Skype-to-Skype call. All for free.

It's difficult, we miss each other and are counting down the days, weeks, months until I meet him in Sydney airport next April. Technology isn't the be all and end all, but it's a reassurance; a treat after you've spent the day making the effort to talk to people you don't know.

To be able to take a little 1.35kg machine out of your bag, switch it on and see a familiar face grinning back from the other side of the world - when you think about it, that's a little bit amazing really, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

I'm jealous of your net book...and your having someone to talk to on it!

Anonymous said...

Technology, it's all mad. Every now and again I think the same about text messages:

You write something on your phone, press send and it swishes through the air. Then the text and/or photo lands on the recipients phone within seconds (even from the likes of Australia to England). It's amazing.

Still waiting for the hover board though...still hear me clever inventor people? Make it happen!

Anonymous said...

I thought that the other day, as I wandered down the road with my tiny iPod and touch-screen phone stuffed in my pocket. I remember being amazed at my dad's first mobile phone that had a green and black screen and was the size of a brick. That was... 10yrs ago at the most?!

James said...

Ha. Reminds me of this technology appreciation rant by Louis CK:

It's going to space!

Ellie said...

Who are you calling warthog? (Did you forget the pic from your previous post?!). :)

Grump said...

The kids want wireless. I have the house all wired up. Next generation of computers will all be wireless around here too.
Now don't forget to come and see me when you get to Melbourne.

not twitter said...

Look, I've still got a Nokia 1611, original box and all. It took a SIM card the size of a credit card. I didn't even have a PC 10 years ago. Did some travelling 10 years ago, no email contact, occasional phone call, call box, film camera. Still, the lack of contact made it feel like you were really away, I suppose that sort of isolation is gone forever now for the world traveller.

And keep it clean on the webcam lest it ends up on youtube.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

PJB - Not just a someone, but two dogs back home also make an appearance on the cam sometimes ;)

cynical - Yeah that's the thing, I'm continually amazed by all this stuff around us, stuff I just accept without really understanding how it works. Like I could probably understand the theory and basics, but I can't get my head around words, letters, even pictures travelling through the air. It's nuts when you think about it.

Roseski - Haha! Yeah, I remember my first nokia being a great big massive brick and watching videos and thinking 'oh one day we'll be able to carry little screens around with us on our watches to see tv on' or something. We've gone waaaay past that. DVDs in cars? Standard for any parent with kids on a long car journey.

James - Just watching it now. That is brilliant! And so true...

Ellie - Ahh, yes. But then I have a selective memory. You'll have to excuse me ;)

Grump - Next stop, a wireless cloud that is just everywhere, all around us, all the time. Watch this space.

not twitter - It's clean, it's clean ;) Yes I suppose you're right, that isolation is gone now, but there are still parts of the world the intrepid traveller can now go to because of technology allowing us to find out about it and get there. And technology enables us, in a way, to find out which bits of the world need a rest from tourism. 10 years ago I imagine it would have been quite a free for all.

You Make My Date said...

Hey, I just stumbled on your blog and wanted to say I hope you're enjoying your travels around my country. The weather has been a bit (ridiculously freaking) hot, but you sound like you're enjoying yourself! :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

You Make - Well, it's not so hot in Perth at the moment but hopefully things will be looking up at the weekend...

By way of observation and on an unrelated note, I tried subscribing to your blog in google feed reader because I thought it'd be a good read. Unfortunately you seem to have an error on it, so it throws up this code crap instead of a post:

/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 1 6 0 3 1 1 1 1 1;
mso-font-signature:3 135135232 16 0 262145 0;}
panose-1:2 1 6 0 3 1 1 1 1 1;

As most people don't like to click onto a blog without seeing the post first, you might want to check it out and repair it.

Martin said...

Couldn't agree more - my girlfriend's left for Canada for 6 months today and I don't know what I'd do if I had to wait for the mailman to drop by. Fortunately, she's going to call me on Skype when she gets to her hotel, and I'll be going over there in 8 weeks or so.

I was thinking about this exact same thing the other day - I have about 3 generations of technologists in my family, from punch cards and machine codes to rich interactive website and mobile devices, and the pace of technological change astounds even me, someone who works with it all daily.

My imagination can't fathom what my kids' version of an iPhone will be, nor of what the internet and mobile communications will allow them to do. Frankly, I can't wait, and will probably beat them to the gadgets...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Martin, I'm glad I'm not the only one a little bit awed by what's possible at the moment. The biggest shocker is when you're at work and the internet goes down. In some cases, work has to cease entirely because some offices just can't get by without the internet. That's a bit nuts. And I feel for you on the girlfriend separation front!

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