It seems that in the past year I have attended more kid parties than actual parties. Well, I take that back, we have had a few gatherings here at our place which I would not consider a “party” as normally considered. Rather, they were much more of a gathering. And as it turns out everyone has kids.
This past weekend was no exception. We attended a birthday party for a two year old and I got to talking with one of the guests who was the same age as me. He works for a large internet company and I had actually used his software. This lead to a discussion on the internet as a whole and I am amazed by how fast things have changed and how many years passed since we all hopped online.
So, I’ll share a few of the points with you should you care to read, but this is mostly for my benefit as I feel like writing them down.
I had my first website in 1997. It was composed using Microsoft World and simply hitting the “translate to html” button. I used free hosts like Geocities, Angelfire and Lycos. Back then it was kind of a badge of honor as most people were not yet online and most people didn’t know what URLs were nor HTTP.
During the conversation, I found I could differentiate my “internet learning” with my travels abroad. The use of Microsoft Word for websites was pre-Japan. Then I didn’t do much with it for a year or two due to a very slow internet connection (air card).
When I got my first apartment in Tokyo I started to update my page and found that the Macromedia suite was perfect. At that time “frames” were popular which were individual web pages loading at the same time to make a complete page. The problem was that to update involved changing a massive amount of links in the URLs on the page to load certain pictures and make sure they do not take up too much room.
For instance, a 1mb picture would take entirely too long to load so you had to format each picture to shrink it down to use as a thumbnail. Then you had to have the regular sized picture to display when they actually clicked on it. Therefore, to show one picture you had to have two picture files and two separate URLs. What a pain!
Then along comes blogging. I started this in 2003 and downloaded Moveabletype. The problem was I had to learn on my own how to read php script. For an entire year I struggled with this only to finally figure out that I should be using a Linux server instead of a windows one.
I cannot describe the euphoria I felt when I saw my Moveabletype page load for the first time. It took me an entire YEAR to figure out!
This lasted until I moved to San Francisco where I continued to use MT for one year. However, MT was still very ornery and I had trouble getting things to work properly. The only reason I didn’t switch to WordPress is because I wanted the challenge.
But in the end, I got sick of the challenge and installed WordPress on my host. I was amazed how simple and easy to use it was. However, this was the exact same time that Myspace and Facebook came around.
I think Myspace caught on first but most people were terrible at designing pages. You would go to their page and see a bunch of flashing stars or something combined with very loud music that would blast my eardrums without warning. Further, many people were using black backgrounds and an array of word colors which made for very hard reading.
Luckily, Facebook came soon after and the rest is history. But, what I’ve found is that the initial excitement has worn off, the friends have been “friended” and now it is settling into its “groove.” I miss the first contact phase when everyone would write catchup letters and whatnot whereas now, it is just random postings without the personal touch.
We got to talking about the Facebook philosophy regarding how many friends people have. For me, I use it as more of a “rolodex” in that if I’ve met you once we can be friends on FB whereas others prefer to keep it a bit tighter. I’ve found myself using FB less and less but when I do, it is mostly just to see what people are up to, if they’ve married and to see the picture of their kids. I still find it interesting to see how people have turned out.
Then we got to talking about the future and came to the conclusion that it is impossible to predict. How many of us knew that we would all be using the internet in 1995? Then, who knew that social networking would take off the way it did?
So I wonder what the next big thing will be. For me, I’d like to have my own personal page where I can make things work exactly as I want them to. I want my blog, my FB social network as well as my Yelp restaurant list/notes, Pandora music and just about everything else in one place and under my control.
My vision is that I pull out my tablet, turn it on and then on the desktop is my own page/portal whatever. I don’t need to click a browser or anything and have my entire life organized and ready right from the start. It would be a combination of these things.
1. Social network on the sidebar
2. My Restaurants (with menus and notes) right there
3. My wine collection
4. Bills to be paid
5. Music ready
6. GPS – to keep tabs on places I’ve been
7. Coupons (non invasive) which give me deals to come back to places I’ve been
8. News – geared specifically to the things I am interested in.
10. Career opportunities
11. Finance – Analyze my finances and tell me how I could spend less/save more
And so on and so on but in a nice beautiful format completely under my control to act as I want it to. Basically, it is my entire life available in a beautiful, clean format which I can access from anywhere.
Then, if we go even farther in the future, I want this all available on some type of sunglasses which just knows what I’m thinking about and brings up the information in my peripheral vision.
That would be cool.