diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 24, 2013

When I woke up yesterday, my broadband wasn't working. There was some London-wide problem with my provider, and no news on when the problem might be fixed. It was ghastly.

So I went out for the day. I went to Beachy Head and did my favourite six mile walk along the clifftops. The chalk was sparkling white, there were butterflies across the downland, and the views were spectacular. It was excellent.

I was going to tell you about it. Not much about it, because I've told you about this particular walk before. But when I finally got home, my broadband still wasn't working. There was now some national problem with some hardware somewhere, and no news when things might be fixed. It was ghastly.

With my laptop entirely impotent, I can only access the Internet via my smartphone. And it's horrible. How do so many of the rest of you live like this?

It's not just the keyboard. Little tippy tappy letters, so easy to mistype, when I'm used to big chunky plastic keys. It's the size of the screen. It's the awkwardness of multi-tasking. It's the lack of utilities I can properly control. It's the inability to dig down under the surface. It's like living in a dumbed-down world. A damned clever world, but not somewhere I can fully thrive.

I'd like to show you some photos from my coastal walk, but I can't control how they'll appear. I'd like to add some links to interesting pages, but that's beyond the capability of Blogger's app. I'd like to show you my previous trips to Beachy Head, but locating the URLs has proven too problematic. I can write you this string of text, but sorry, it's not the multimedia experience you're used to.

Hurrah for smartphones, because if this Internet outage had happened last year I wouldn't have been able to bring you anything at all. But I worry that as mobile becomes the new default, we're heading into a walled garden where our creative options are considerably fewer.

Update: When I woke up this morning, my broadband was working again. That's a blessed relief. It feels like 1996 has gone away and 2013 has returned. It also means I can upload some photographs of Beachy Head to Flickr (there are nine here, and a previous set here). But I'm again struck by how much more I can do on my laptop in ten minutes flat than I could do on my smartphone in an entire evening. I truly hope the future isn't dumbed-down smartphone-tiny.

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