Back in 1997 or 98 my cousin asked me on Christmas Eve if I had gotten into the mp3 craze. Having never heard of it then he showed me pictures of his and his friends’ creations. At the time they were moding their computers into smaler cases that fit under their seats and were storing nothing but mp3 files, which apparently had something to do with music. These chopped computers were connected to their car audio systems. He even showed me a picture of someone who had cut the number pad off of a keyboard, connected to a caller ID display, as the user interface. Fascinating as this all was I didn’t fully understand why someone would want to do all this for a few years. Shortly after Napster came out in 1999 my life was changed forever. At the time I had been borrowing cds from friends and burning them, for which I would get these sideways looks when I asked to borrow them because I wanted to burn them. The first CD I ever burned was Sloan’s One Chord to Another. With the advent of Napster getting music to burn suddenly became insanely easy. Even after the rise and fall of Napster, Pier to Pier file sharing still occpies a percentage of my time.
In 1998 Apple released the iMac and I hated it. I hated the advertising, my friends who got them disgusted me, and I felt that anyone who would buy a computer simple enough that anyone could use was just stupid. I was convinced that you could still build a better computer using the Windows operating system. I was younger then, and I was also stupid.
I was having problems with several worms and viruses, having to defrag my computer several times a week when the Feburary issue of Wired came out in 2003 introducing me to Firefox. Firefox was the open source browser that would set me free and allow me to customise the way I used the internet. I grew excited with every add on and tool that I could use and install. This new passion for open source software led me to discover Open Office, which allowed me to replace Microsoft Office. Which made me start wondering if I should completely replace my entire operating system, and jump to Linux. As I researched and debated going with Gnome or KDE my wife was less enthusiastic to abandon the system she’d grown to know, for one of my kicks and some system that she’d never used before. “If it’s so good,” she would ask “then why doesn’t everyone use it?”
“Because they’re stupid!” I pleaded.
Last fall our computer started acting up the way your car does before you find yourself in a downward spiral of replacing every part under the hood before finally selling it to a scrap yard for fifty bucks. When I returned from deployment we took advantage of buying a new computer tax free from the Naval Exchange. We decided to finally switch to Macintosh, getting an iMac core 2 duo. Our lives were forever changed, in ways that some of you already know, and the others may never know that I will save for another post.
Last summer while on deployment I kept reading about RSS feeds. Unable to utilize them on a government computer I grew anxious to dive into them when I returned home, only to find that I couldn’t really find a reader that I like, and that the majority of the sites I used at the time weren’t utilizing RSS or XML. Last week I stumbled across Vienna a free open source RSS reader for Mac OS X. Suddenly I was able to check up on the many sites I try to regualry visit at once, with no effort at all. My efficiency of using the internet was once again changed forever. It now takes me a tenth of the time to get what I need, and I am able to take on much more of what I want, and ignore what I don’t. In a sence I have rediscovered blogging, something that I have gotten bored of since I began in 1998. Vienna incoperates tabbed browsing, and multiple frames, that I have start up at log in and automatically check for updates every 30 minutes. As I look down at my dock now I see that there are 11 new post that I need to obsess over, so this is where I will end 3 Things That Have Changed my Internet Experience and Essentially My Life.