Martine Rolls: Briefly enjoying my non-line status

By Martine Rolls

1 comment
The world wide web turned  25 on the weekend.
The world wide web turned 25 on the weekend.

My friends and I had a bit of a laugh on Friday night about how the weathermen, MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett in particular, described the cyclone that was predicted to hit over the weekend.

They called it a fanged beast and even a flailing octopus. I never knew meteorologists could be so poetic.

We were keeping an eye on the Lusi updates on nzherald.co.nz while enjoying good company and a barbecue and our excitement grew as the night went on. Not wishing for damage or injury to anyone, of course, but we were looking forward to a wicked storm.

We were a little disappointed that the whole thing brought just a bit of wet and windy weather on Saturday.

No pot plants fell and not one branch snapped off in our garden, and we are right in the gully. It was pathetic, really.

The best thing about the potential wild weather was that it gave me an excuse to turn the Wi-Fi off for a few hours.

There was protest, of course, but I explained to the kids that power outages were possible, and that such a thing could damage the computer.

I showed them on my smartphone that it said so in the news story and you can't argue with that. Then I turned off the laptop, the desktop, and my phone as well for good measure.

No Minecraft, no YouTube videos, no Sumdog and no Clash of Clans that afternoon for the boys and no Facebook for me.

It was a lovely technology free afternoon but by early evening, the boys were back on the computers and I was back on my phone scrolling along the Facebook newsfeed, liking and sharing stuff.

In the World section of the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, I read that the World Wide Web was a quarter of a century old this weekend. The internet has become such a major part of my life over the years. I have built my career around it, and it seems like I've never done without it but I have of course. It's easy to forget that.

Twenty-five years ago, the World Wide Web was just an idea in a technical paper from a young computer scientist at a European physics lab.

That idea from Tim Berners-Lee at the CERN lab in Switzerland, and it outlined a way to easily access files on linked computers.

He presented the paper on March 12, 1989, which history has marked as the birthday of the web. The first smart phone, which is basically a mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than basic feature phones, was designed by IBM in 1992 and was called Simon.

I've had a smartphone for a few years now and although I functioned perfectly fine without it before, losing it now would send me into a mad state of panic.

Technology has changed our lives so much in the past decade or two, and I sometimes wonder what things would be like in this day and age without smartphones and the internet.

Would life be less stressful as we would not feel like we're on call all the time, or would it be more stressful as we wouldn't have easy access to so much information and feel less connected?

I know quite a few people who have ditched Facebook and although they tell me it was hard to do, they say they have more time for things that matter.

Not using the internet would make my work rather hard to do, impossible really, but I am thinking about taking a break from it all when I can.

Maybe it's time to take a little holiday - this weekend sounds good - to connect with nature, real people, and focus on my own thoughts for a while. Just to keep the balance right.

Martine Rolls is a Tauranga writer and digital strategist.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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