In my previous articles I pointed out how tech can drastically worsen our lives:
This time I want to highlight all the awesome things about the Internet in particular and technology in general. These days, high-speed internet plans have gotten so darn cheap! Even home broadband has gotten cheap. This leads us to think for a bit. Am I using the right tools on the internet? It’s easy to blame tech for everything wrong in our lives when there are ways to control our usage and ensure that we use tech, and tech does not use us. Tech usage should be mindful and essential only. This article serves as an appreciation post for a few of the many awesome features of the internet and how it has enriched our lives.
- GPS Navigation:
I live in a city two hours away from Mumbai and almost all major meetups occur around Mumbai. That includes book clubs, book fairs, concerts, plays and workshops. A lot of times I have to travel by train to a city I have never been before and look for the venue. Google Maps is a life-saver to me in these cases. If it is close enough (~20min) then I prefer to walk there (if it isn’t too hot). Or I hop into a taxi/rickshaw and instruct the driver exact directions like a boss. It is seriously very cool to know approximately how early I should leave home to reach in time.
- Video calls:
Only recently, my grandpa learnt to make video calls on WhatsApp. Us grandsons did our best to help him out, but it took him quite some time to memorize the steps. It is such a pleasure to video chat with people you would otherwise see once a year or so. Even my Dad is transferred to another city for a couple of years and once again, video calls are awesome.
Vividly, I recall an incident when I was at a mall and I happened to chance upon a great looking denim jacket that fitted me perfectly. Only thing is, it was too expensive. It’s not that I couldn’t afford to spend that much, just that I have been raised in a household that taught me not to splurge on unnecessary things (which I am proud of). I wanted my dad to see how cool the jacket was. In a way, I guess I wanted him to convince me to buy it (I know that sounds silly but it’s true!) So I made a video call to him, he said it looks good. If you like it, buy it.
- Free long calls:
Finally we can talk on the phone for hours at a time without having to consider the consequences of a super huge bill. I have talked to people for so long that my ears start to pain. Then I switch to either speakerphone or add a bluetooth speaker. Free calls yay!
- Availability of awesome art:
When the internet was a new magic in our home, I was overwhelmed with happiness how I could suddenly listen to any music or watch any Movie or TV show in a few clicks (albeit very slow downloads) (and unawareness about piracy).
When I was a kid, I had to wait for my favorite songs to be played on TV channels or the radio station. Then I would whip out a huge cassette player/recorder and record that song onto a blank cassette. This I would play at my leisure on my Walkman! You would be doomed if there was a power cut or someone made a noise while recording. Or worse, the cassette would run out!
- Putting out your work for the world to see:
This is perhaps the best use of Internet and is an extension of the previous point. If you have ever dreamt of pursuing any art form, you could do it more easily now than ever before. I see so many comic artists, sketch artists, musicians and film makers put out excellent content online that would otherwise not have survived in the tightly controlled world of TV and Cinema.
- Learning anything
Want to learn singing? How about sketching? A new language? Literally anything you dream of has some sort of teacher on the internet who will help you (in most cases, for free) It is now possible to learn a myriad of skills online with just passion and hardwork, thanks to the thousands of gurus sharing their knowledge for free.
What else would you add to this list? What are you grateful for? Let me know in the comments below!
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