What things were like before Mosaic
Things have come along way since those pioneering days, less than twenty years ago. Mosaic was superceded by Netscape, and then by Firefox, which introduced us to the joys of tabbed browsing now copied by all of its competitors. And even though much of the web's content is still the same, i.e. text-based, it is surrounded by flashing whizzy graphics.
And things are getting flashier and whizzier. Over the last year or so, my favourite news websites have gone from simple, fast-loading pages to Flash City, with tickertape and ever more annoying adverts. It got to the stage where I was finding it tedious to use them because Firefox would take forever to render them, especially if I opened multiple tabs.
I decided it was time to try something different, so I downloaded google's Chrome browser. The difference was instantly noticeable. The same webpages now load much faster, and the browser rarely hangs. Chrome doesn't have as many features as Firefox, which is a good thing. The problem with software is that it gets more and more clunky and difficult to use as they add more and more features. Chrome is much newer, and so hasn't got to that stage. Yet.
I've only been using it for a few days, but so far it seems to work fine. It even has a porn mode, for anonymous browsing. I've not tried it, but I'm told that people who are married find it useful. For buying that surprise birthday present, obviously.
Now the web is back to being almost as fast as it was back in the old Mosaic days.
Still on the subject of new technology, I took Helena to get a bluetooth USB adapter the other day. She wanted to transfer photos from her mobile phone to her laptop. Argos were selling them at half-price, i.e. under a fiver, so we got one and tried it on my Ubuntu netbook.
Like the web, wireless communications have also come a long way since the first Marconi wireless networks.
Nowadays they can get all this on a USB stick.
As far as I'm concerned, bluetooth is Voodoo black-magic, but Helena knew what to do, and we managed to get a photo off my phone and onto the computer. "Now disable bluetooth on your phone, before anyone tries to get into it.", she advised. I was impressed by her security-conciousness. Apparently the children all use bluetooth to transfer pictures and music in the playground. And for malicious purposes too, it seems.
This is the photo. It was taken on a recent visit to a local restaurant.
Notice the position of the hedge
We were sitting outside, and Helena suddenly looked over at the carpark. "That's awful!", she exclaimed. I turned round and looked at the two disabled parking spaces. "There should be enough space for the driver's door to open fully. How else will someone in a wheelchair get out? That goes against Document M of the building regulations."
I've checked, and sure enough, Part M of the UK Building regulations states that there should be 200m of hatched out space on the driver's side of every disabled parking space. As well as 200m at the back. It's amazing what useless information gets into children's heads. She's not interested in a lot of the more "academic" school subjects like science or maths, which has led me to question how she plans to earn enough money to look after her dad in his old age. How much do building inspectors earn, I wonder?