01 April, 2006

The Greatest Invention of the last Century

Surfing: not on water. Visiting: not relatives or friends as we know. The web: not of the spider's. The Internet! It is the Internet. Within a very short space of time, the internet has rapidly progressed and is rapidly dominating most aspects of our lives: space, the military, education, technology, social relations and interactivity, and cultures and society - are all being fast and surely dominated by the internet. Like it or hate it, that's the way it is. We have to live with the Internet.

A few years ago, very few indeed - if any, thought we would be dominated in such a way by some thing as alien as 'the net'. And yet, more and more people are. We are spending more and more time with computers and being on the web. How many of us have time to behold: the wonders of the stars, the moon and the galaxy at night; the birds flying home in the evenings; the little ants moving in search of food all day long; the flight of butterflies; the ripples of the ocean; the sand dunes? It is only the fortunate (or the unfortunate?) who don't have access to computers and the Internet who have those kinds of joys and pleasures. For most of us entrapped in and by the web, we very rarely 'have time' for such. Here I am!

The web and the net, has names; some dwarves and some giants. Who uses computers or the net and doesn't know of Big Uncle Microsoft? I have been thinking: what has gotten in to Microsoft? Of late, they have been dishing out one service after another at a very fast rate, some of which are very similar: Windows Live and Start. Both betas. Both still inefficient. Very confusing and I think - unnecessary. It seems as if MSN has just woken up from a deep, long slumber and realizing its turf is in danger - has reacted; with or without vision - only time will tell. After how the Vista was managed, I am afraid for Microsoft. They should have focused on their Windows Live ideas first - I love their new superb Live Mail - and set it solidly moving and working, before confusing us with all these other inefficient betas. When all the other giants too are and have been busy in the beta business: AOL - the sprinter; Yahoo; and ..... and GOOGLE!

Yes! Google seems to show the way! I should say: is showing and leading the way; releasing one superb product after another - almost all are for free; universally. Which one of Google's do I love most: Gmail or Homepage ; News or Google Reader; Google Earth or Google Scholar? All these, after their enormously successful search engine; not forgetting their tool bar! And the many other products and features they have been spoiling us with!

AOL seems stuck and actually sliding backwards; Yahoo is still on - some of their latest releases have been very good, with Yahoo Mail Beta on top. And they have many more moving or lined up. Just thinking: Gmail is very simple and plain, and yet - was ingeniously thought of. But, the latest Yahoo Mail is superb. And so is MSN's Live Mail. But, I still find the fastest free email service to be: Fastmail, just as they say they are. Not only fastest in signing in and signing out, but in navigating from one feature to another and best of all - in attaching as many attachments and sending them fast. Fast! Which gets me in to thinking of browsers.

I have always used Internet Explorer, and still use it; have tried Firefox, and it is just superb! But went back to IE! Have tried Opera, and it is as fast as they say they are: the fastest. And sleek. But Opera still can not support many other useful services. I still have to try the much acclaimed Apple's Safari. Apple seems to have resurrected. The king of iPods is now producing many other highly acclaimed services and products too.

As for the dwarfs of the 'web' and the 'net'? Some are just refreshing and extremely useful; and some are incredibly good. Blogger, yes blogger is one of them. Technorati, is another. Maplandia and the latest: Swicki are other great products. And for those who need mobile offices on the web? Few can be as good and useful as these fine services: Jotspot, Thinkfree and Library Thing. I first read of LinkedIn as 'a well-heeled social club than a friendly free-for-all' - that I have not found out up to now; but, for any one who wants to promote his/her career - LinkedIn is the best free site for that. Very efficient and easy to use. It made me think: this could be the future of job and employment prospecting; no more carrying or sending CVs, resumes and letters of introduction; LinkedIn, and such services would do those in future.

Time for bed! And time for the stars - no moonlight now - and the galaxies. And tomorrow: valleys and mountains; the sea! And THE FAMILY!