'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thoughts generated by following Stephen Fry on Twitter

I'm not really into Twitter... although I know many are. It's easy to make fun of the phenomenon: small, mostly inconsequential notes posted semi-hourly. I mean, did I really need to know that Stephen Fry (6 Feb) had diarrhea at that moment?

But, looking at it from thirty-odd years ago, who'd've thought that computers and the internet would play such an everyday communication role in some many lives?
Not me, anyway. And not my geography lecturer who was very excited about the department's new 'WANG' computer...

because now we could run simulations and see how erosion might take place on different substrates, without having to make thousands of calculations using our trusty (and expensive - NZ$600) HP45's?

Wow. Then, computers were academic devices: it was almost impossible to imagine them being taken for granted in domestic settings.

What next? In 2008 we were teased by the iPod replacement, the iBangle:

If you can wear tens of thousands of songs on your wrist, then it's only a matter of time before we will have our computers on our wrists too, surely.

When I'm old and infirm, just dress me in my virtual reality body suit, sit my virtual reality glasses on my nose, and plug in the intravenous drip and I'll die happy, 'walking' around English country lanes.

Watercolour of a Sussex Country Lane by Phillip Allan


  1. Gosh. I remember WANG! I use Twitter for news (NZ Herald and BBC etc) and AirNZ, Geonet and a few things like that. Why anyone wants to know about SF's bodily functions is beyond me.

  2. Yes Katherine but when that day comes who will change your diapers?
    I know what you mean about computers once seeming like expensive toys for academics. At my university there was a small computer studies department but only boring geeks went in there. Normal students worked in the library, poring through journals and ordering books from the stacks. We couldn't even word process our assignments. Most of mine were handwritten.

  3. Geeb, to be fair, SF did apologise for sharing that bit of information. After he had done it. though.

    YP. I hadn't thought of that. Yep, long hours in the library. All my essays were handwritten. That's just what you did.

    Perhaps that's why I found 2011 so hard: So much information to sift through. I definitely felt overloaded. I was worried I'd miss something: and of course I had to, because there was too much.


Spam will go in the incinerator. All other comments are gratefully received. Communication is what makes the world go 'round.