Wednesday, July 1, 2009

High tech! - Tony's Toastmasters speech

I knew I was spending too much time on the computer when my wife sent me an e-mail, asking if I was coming downstairs for dinner.

I was introduced to computers back in 1978 with the first colour computer called a compucolor.  This was just after I played pong - not the smelly type either.  But with the compucolor I could travel through space with star trek, rule kingdoms playing Kings Quest and visit bars amongst other dodgy activities with Leisure Suit Larry.

My first work computer was at the National Bank, but each day we got our paper back up files - just in case "the computer" failed (which it did once).  My second job introduced me to the Macintosh which had some great games.  

My first really fast computer was a 486 in the mid 90‘s with an incredible encyclopedia called Encarta and movie database called Cinemania.  It seemed mind boggling that so much information was available on these CD ROMs.  To give you an idea of the computing power of a 486, we ran 9 users in our office off 1 486 computer!

We also had bulletin boards & on-line games which meant tying up the phone lines while we played Doom on 9,600 bits per second modem connections.  Last night my broadband was 5 million bits per second!

I joined the internet in the mid 90s with a company called Compuserve.  It cost $19.95 per hour which is equivalent to $27 after tax today - so I had to work for 3 hours to get 1 hour on the internet!

When Xtra started on 1 May 1996 & I joined, paying $5 per hour.  In August of that year, it halved.  Today I pay the equivalent of 5 cents per hour.

But suddenly the world started seeming a lot smaller & the information much broader. 

I remember the first time I introduced my mother to the computer.

After explaining to take the mouse and her screaming “Where’s the mouse?”, she began waving it in front of the screen.  When I showed her the internet & told her it could answer any question, she thought for a minute, then typed “How is my mother today?”

But the internet can be really useful too.  I’ve used it to buy a piece of the Berlin wall & a signed picture of Kenny Baker (the actor inside R2D2).

On the internet, I found out that in 2002 scientists spent a whole year determining the funniest joke was:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

There are also some wonderful one liners like:

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

or words of wisdom, like:

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

But as one person said, getting information off the internet is like getting a drink from a fire hydrant.

But some people just shouldn’t talk about the internet.

George Bush - is quoted as saying "It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."

But these last 2 quotes sum it up for me:

"The Internet is a giant international network of intelligent, informed computer enthusiasts, by which I mean, "people without lives."

or  "Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks