(Actually I’ll only been connected for a whole year come Friday, but never mind.)
What a perfect pretext for having a backword glance, something I like doing a lot! Here goes, then:
The first few months, of course, were mostly spent learning about it. This partly meant the “technical” (ho ho) things – like what a “browser tab” is etc – and it was going hand in hand with learning about PC itself – the last time I was more or less regularly using one was back when 3 1/2 floppy discs were taking over from the 5 1/4’s and the CD was seen purely as a music medium – in my country anyway. (A DVD? What’s that?) More importantly, however, it meant learning what the Net had to offer – and here I found I had had a fairly distorted view of it. I had thought that 99.99% of it was about (1) e-mails, mostly ones connected with somebody’s job of course, (2) chatrooms and blogs, (3) advertisement of divers kinds, and (4) pure entertainment. So I wasn’t so much surprised while discovering YouTube, though I still revel now and then in looking for – and often finding – songs/clips I’ve heard/seen yonks ago and thought I’d never hear/see again. But I was taken aback by the BBC pages, both by how “large” they were, and… well, Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal, both available to me here in the middle of Europe, and, give or take a second or two, live!
This evolved into the “greedy” phase – all the things one wanted to learn more about now within easy reach. It took me some time to realise I don’t have to copypaste it all into text files, as given I’d found some piece of info once, I’d probably be able to find it again. Then to realise that I don’t have to, in fact even possibly can’t, read everything there is about a particular interest of mine. (“Yes, there are hundreds of lyrics of songs you like that you don’t understand from mere listening, and now you can read just about any – but do you need to find about them all at once? After all, a few months ago you didn’t know you’d ever be able to at all!” And so forth.)
So I was slowly learning to take it easier; but at the same time I was more and more succumbing to the possibility of, how shall I say, doing something active myself. Like e-mailing this or that link to this or that friend, contributing to this or that project, saying my piece on this or that website, starting a blog, things like that. As with the paragraph above, I then had to learn that I can’t be at a zillion places at the same time, so that the last, say, third of this first year was to a great amount about adjusting my time according to where do I want to spend how big a proportion of it. Where do I want to, considering the time I have, spend more time, where less, and where I unfortunately can’t get at all.
And, to tell the truth, this final phase seems to be far from finished yet. Ay, I have an overall image about which sites I want to visit daily, which weekly, which monthly and which not at all. But I’m still (even if considerably less than, say, in January, despite the fact that I even found some new sites I learned to like a lot in the meantime) much too often finding myself growing somewhat nervous because of getting stuck on this page or that although “by this time I should have already been elsewhere”.
But I’m learning. Let’s hope that a year from now I’ll be already well-adjusted – Net-wise.
And let’s be inspired by them end-of-the-year charts, and, eight being my lucky number, put here links to the eight websites I’m the most glad I’ve discovered within the year. Realizing that if I was doing this yesterday or tomorrow, there might apper one or two different addresses instead of one or two of the following, and that the order might be somewhat different as well.
- en-Wiktionary (of course, actually it’s my watchlist I’ve set as a homepage), en-Wikipedia (even though I’m well aware of its drawbacks as a source of information) and gd-Wikipedia (for more than one reason – perhaps a hint for some future blog?),
- BBC News (my homepage often varying between World, UK, Scotland and Weather – and often more than one at the same time), Radio nan Gaidheal and Radio Scotland (can’t say I prefer one to the other)
- YouTube (sweet nostalgia, mostly, though certainly not exclusively)
- Akerbeltz (just fascinating, if you’re interested in the language, the Beagan Gràmair section in particular – can you imagine that the Gaelic “piuthar” for “sister”, does derive from the Indo-European swesðr, through lenition and later dis-leniting backformation?)
- Fòram na Gàidhlig (to think that as of 30/12/08 I’d still never said or written a single word in Gaelic to anybody else…)
- Pink News (the World according to Stonewall)
- www.amazon.co.uk (another area where I’ve got to watch my greed for books and music)
- and last but not least this one, of course. Plus obviously there’s Google and there are my friends’ e-mail addresses.