What's yer smiley, eh? If these words mean nothing to you, then this is the page for you. :-) or somet!
Q. So, what are your interests? A. Computing? Q. Hooked up to... (dramatic pause) the net? A. No, I think my PC is a bit expensive to use in fishing.
The 'Net' is the big thing when you're into computers, and if you're not hooked up, you're not happening. Let me explain. All this rubbish is to do with the Internet, a vast link of computers using phone lines, or something like that. It was set up by the military and/or universities, depending on who you believe. Indeed, if a university isn't offering you net access, it probably isn't much good.
What is most distressing for me though, as a computer fan, is that the only contact I have had with this Information Superhighway thingy is when the supermarket I work in, sends the bakery department an e-mail thingy, usually telling us that there is an incorrect price in the price book. I believe we once got one telling us that ten pack jam doughnuts were to be reduced by 20p to 79p. What a bargain!
Yes folks, that Hyde Supermarket, Food Dwarf (not advertising them at all!) got wired before me, and way before this college.
The net is the big thing at the minute. So let me try to describe it. It has two uses: a vast database of useful (and useless) information, and debates on certain subjects. Porn. Indeed, if you believe the sensationalist reporting rubbish of the gutter press, the whole thing is nothing but a big bin where lots of porn goes, only to be lifted out by lots of nine year old kids. Indeed, the net is so popular that it has even been installed in the Learning Resource Centre Library (what a daft name - Library was much easier, and it didn't wear down my keys so much.) So popular, that they are giving you unlimited access to it.
Unlimited access? Great! Ahh, but this is why the thing is just so popular, and not a waste of money at all, honest guv. Yes folks, you need that Carearlines thing to use it.
Carearlines - what is that? Oh, it's a little yellow and red card that came with a ton of literature that you chucked in the bin before inserting the card in your nearest cash machine, in the hope of getting some money. At this point you'd have chucked it away, realising that you couldn't withdraw all the money from the Tory party's bank account.
Or could it be that playing pool and actually meeting people in the flesh was just a bit more interesting. Hmm, lets weigh the options: go on a restricted access internet computer where you can't have access to half the interesting stuff 'cos some bloke at the BBC didn't think it was appropriate for schools or colleges, or get out and meet people. Yep, that's a difficult one.
Perhaps everything changes when you actually try it, but hey, I can't be bothered actually bringing my Carearlines card to college with me. Bit like my ID card. Hey, it's just too much hassle. Besides, I'd have to plead with the bank to give it me back without charging me for the damage to the cash machine.
This is one of an age and no mistake...
Cast your mind back to 1996. This internet m'larky is pretty low key - a few people with beards, and lots of students.
It ain't mainstream by any means - won't be for a few years - but to show how 'with it' our sixth form is, they've installed a net connection in the library.
Oh and you can only use it if you have a 'Careerlines' card which was a plastic credit card shaped thing that we were all given for reasons I still can't remember. I know it came with a ruler although why is another matter.
I do recall however it several times on the card and on the letter accompanying it, that the card wouldn't work in a cash machine! Oh yes, many have tried before, and many have failed, or so it claimed.
Ultimately the use of this new world of internet was so popular and amazing that... err... well they put in a 'special offer' where anyone could get unlimited usage... Oh and incidentally, for some other reason, the web we had at college was filtered to be 'educationally appropriate' by the BBC. Obviously.
Of course the internet's still crap, but we don't mention that anymore.