Web 2.huh?

There was a course run at work recently which was designed to introduce people to the Web 2.0 concept. I was having lunch near where the session was taking place and it was a fascinating thing to watch 20 or so middle-aged plus (mostly) women struggle with internet networking, blogs, youtube, wikis and the like. I spoke to a friend who was at the course about how she thought it was going, and whether she was learning anything, and she said that she still didn’t really know what the session was about.

Web 2.0 in a nutshell, to me, means connection, communication, co-operation, and so we talked a bit about how the internet used to be seen primarily as merely a tool for recording and passing on information, but how it’s now seen as much more of a people-linking interactive ‘new way of doing things’. It was a real insight into how difficult and alien the grapple with technology can be for a generation who were adults before home computers were commonplace, ubiquitous.

I was a very small child when we first had a computer in our home in ’79 or so. It was one of the very first ‘regular’ computers in our town, probably one of the earliest in the country. Lots of families had Ataris and Commodore 64s but my dad was one of the first to jump on board with the new technology coming out of a small American company called Apple that would evolve into the multi-billion dollar Mac brand.

We had an Apple II+ if I recall correctly, and I recall, with delight, the utter joy given by hour after hour playing Mystery House, The Wizard and the Princess (the first 2 hi-res adventures), Turtle and later, the original Print Shop. It felt as though a door was opened, through which an ever-expanding and complexifying landscaping could be viewed, and, ultimately, romped in.

My dad was able to see the amazing potential of these machines as being far beyond the ‘super calculator’, and has instilled in me, from a time almost before I can remember, my connection with technology that feels normal and natural. I am utterly grateful to my dad and so, so proud of his enthusiastic ‘jumping aboard’, which pushed him far ahead of many of his contemporaries in the area of personal computing.

Part of the reason that I am grateful to my dad is that computers were so much a part of my growing-up that the internet just seemed like the next door, which then opened onto an even bigger, and more amazing and bewildering and exciting landscape. And then, in 1997, I met HL online.

Web 2.0, schmoo point oh… The computer was ALWAYS about connection and communication and co-operation for my dad.


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