Without A Net
Millions of people today still go through lives untouched by LCD screens and laser mice, and all the Bachs and Shakespeares of history did reasonably good work without them, so it must be possible. Is it preferable?
[I wrote this for my personal website, but as I finished it, I realized I was talking about a lot of software listed on freshmeat. I hope it's of interest here.]
I'm sitting in shelter #92 in Patapso State Park on a glorious cool Spring day. The sunlight makes the leaves glow as the breeze tosses them, and the pair of does grazing the hillside next to us have finally wandered off. The picnic remains are back in the trunk, and Glenn sits across from me, reading the paper.
It's a simple outing, but, until recently, one that would have been hard for me to take. At the very least, I would have been sitting here anxious about getting home, instead of committed and engaged in being here. The woods would have been wasted on a mind full of all the work left undone.
The culprit, as I've gradually realized this year, is the computer. Last year, I would have brought my laptop with me. I would have done what I could here, then hurried home and put it online. For my day in the city Saturday, I would have broken my back lugging it onto the light rail, where I would have brought it out of suspension to get 15 minutes with it before I had to close it down to take it over to the subway, repeating the process all across the day. Last year, I either had my fingers on my laptop, or I wasn't working.
The problem is that a computer, especially the big computer we call the Internet, is infinite. I can turn on a computer at 7:00 AM, and it instantly becomes 11:30 PM, and I'm looking back on a day of YouTube and Wikipedia and chasing this which reminds me of that which makes you stop and wonder whatever became of those and what was I doing and why does my back ache? Enough days like that, and you're looking back on a life of wandering the electronic Sinai.
I was spending long hours each day glued to a screen and brief, almost guilty ones in the physical world. The world is better and healthier, and I've worked for the last few months to flip the time I spend in each. I'd like to share some of the ideas and tools in my arsenal and invite your suggestions and your own experience. Without A Net | freshmeat.net