I still marvel at the Interweb.
Today's kids have all grown up with it, and to them it's as commonplace as electricity or indoor toilets, but to me it is new a new and marvelous invention. I wonder what modern yoof would make of the concept of having to dial up a special number [which had to be paid for] and then sitting for ages listening to a screeching noise while those two emails struggled to download themselves, and the phone bill racked up quite a few notches? What would they make of web pages that had no images because images were too bulky? In fact I remember a time before dial-up when the BBC tried an experiment, playing the ZX Spectrum programme screech so we could record it onto tape to load into our Spectrums. That never worked!
I still wonder at the ability to carry my laptop around the house or garden, and apart from a power cable I can hook into a virtually infinite resource of information. I wonder at the ability to type out a brainfart here and have people [very strange people] read my outpouring the other side of the world.
But now they are trying to do things which even I find bafflingly strange. They are connecting cars to the Interweb. They are connecting wrist watches, kettles, their home heating and just about everything they can. Why? Why the fuck would I want to connect my kettle to the Interweb? It gives me the ability to call my kettle from my mobile phone to tell it to boil? For fuck's sake, why not just haul your arse out of the chair and switch it on yourself? Why is it so important to control your central heating from a mobile phone when the damn thing has all sorts of fancy timers? Now [apparently] I can phone up my car and get it to start the engine. This is just a thought, but presumably if I want the engine to start it means I am planning on going somewhere and would therefore need to be in the immediate proximity of the car where I can use a fucking key?
I call it the CD Principle. That stems from the early days of computers where someone produced a top of the range model that had some extra gizmos and features. One of those features was a little fob, where you pressed a button and it remotely ejected the CD tray. Why? What fucking use was that when you still had to physically go over and take out or put in a CD by hand? They did it because they could, and not for any other reason.
Now they are worried that all these useless connections to the Web are going to cause security problems. Of course they are. If it can be hacked, it will be hacked. And frankly I don't relish the prospect of lashing along the M11 at a hundred miles an hour only to discover that some cunt in Afghanistan has taken over my car from his back bedroom. I know it's a minor detail but I like to be in control of the car I'm driving.
What worries me is where it's all going to end. Are they going to try to connect my clothing and furniture? I suppose you never know when you might get the impulse to re-arrange your sitting room layout, and it would be nice to be able to do it when you're on your holidays? How about connecting your burglar alarm so any smart kid with a mobile phone can switch it off before cleaning out your house? Or why not put webcams in all your rooms [supposedly for security] and allow the world watch you go about your daily [and nightly] life?
There are times when I think dial-up had distinct advantages.