In this field, we are always learning. Always. It never stops.
But normally, we're moving forward. We're learning the newest technology, the newest way of doing things... we never look behind us because there's no point. Everything back there is basically obsolete, things have changed.
But what if you end up with a massive stack of old tech books? Do you just chuck them in the fire? Or do you start a blog series digging them apart bit by bit?
So at an old theatre job of mine (not tech related at all), I got talking to a man who started his tech career back in the 90's. It was a lovely chat, we just talked until the play started and then it was done. I didn't think much of it.
Fast forward to the end of the season, and he arrives with a massive box of old tech textbooks. He said he had no use for them, and thought they would help me in my future career. And me, being the nice Canadian I am, I put them in my car, thanked him profusely, and threw them in the darkest corner of my closet.
I haven't even looked at them in ages. There's books with the title Turing, books about C++ (a language I don't know and have never known), the HTML Web Publishers guide (which came with a CD-ROM!) and many, many more.
And now? I've decided I'm going to do something with them.
I'm going to go through them and write blog posts on them. Because that sounds like it could be fun, and then they aren't just massive wastes of space. And I don't have to throw them in fire (yet!)
My witty humour, lots of old school tech info from the 90's, and me probably laughing. A lot.
But hey, maybe we'll all learn something along the way.
The book we'll be starting with is... drumroll ......
The Internet Guide for New Users by Daniel P. Dern!!!
This book proudly claims that it isn't confusing and is "written for regular people... with an interest in what the Internet has to offer..." (from the Foreword by Cheryl Currid). So that means it should be a nice, easy starting point for me to begin this journey. Which is probably a good thing, because this is going to be a massive undertaking and easy is what I like.
Cheryl also states that "it may well be the only book you'll need to ever read" (in regards to the internet). I honestly love reading about people who didn't thing the internet would ever actually change. Because they were so wrong. But I love them anyway.
And hey, maybe Cheryl is right and this book with teach me a lot about the internet!
I thought we may as well dig right in and get to work! The preface gives a nice overview about the book and what we should expect inside, so I'll just pick out a few points I enjoyed.
Let's start with the fact you could access the internet for a dollar a day, which was the same price as a cup of coffee AND the morning newspaper! If only it was still that price, holy wow. I want dollar a day internet. And dollar a day coffee. And dollar a day newspapers!!
This book was published in 1993, so... yeah. Prices have inflated yada yada.
Just from the general gist of this preface, I believe it's going to be a lot about emails. Or I guess I should call it "electronic mail", because it wasn't called email back then. There is also things like accessing the WorldWideWeb to look for articles about software and things like that. And then...
"Recognize and use 'smiley-faces' like :-) and :-[" (Preface, page xxii). Now that's some valuable information. I mean, you can't get that information just anywhere. And it's VITAL.
I joke. It just made me laugh. Way too much. Even the fact they have noses just makes me think of the past, now we just use :) and :P. But even those are getting old and it's all emojis and WOW THINGS CHANGE QUICKLY.
I can't wait for that section. I really, really can't.
Well... this will be fun.
The preface wasn't very interesting, and involved the author going more into sentences about buying a radio station. Either I'm too young to understand that, or it really is something to be confused by, I'm not sure.
But I'm excited. It'll be fun learning about the past of the internet and what it was like. Maybe it'll make me a more rounded developer because I know the basic principals the web was founded on!
Or maybe it'll be just plain fun.