I have a mobile phone tariff that includes (for a fixed monthly charge, of course) something called “All you can eat data” which, as it sounds, means that I don’t have any cost limit on how often or for how long I can open a connection to the so-called Information Superhighway.
When I have either a Wi-Fi connection or even a minimal mobile phone signal then every uploaded piece of human knowledge, not “classified” for security reasons, is, quite simply, THERE for me!
Of course, sometimes it is necessary to choose the correct search terms to find what you want but if you assume that what you are looking for is in there somewhere you will usually be able to track it down.
I will, incidentally, get to the reason that this subject occurred to me in a while but in the meantime would like you to consider how things used to be.
I don’t know if any of my readership falls into the rapidly rising percentage of the population for whom the Internet has ALWAYS been there but those of my own age group will certainly remember a time when “looking something up” did not involve a computer or Google.
If a particularly obscure piece of information was needed to answer a homework question or, later, to settle any kind of friendly pub argument or bet it was not possible to tap something on a phone screen and receive an answer almost immediately.
Oh dear me no! If having the right answer was THAT important to you it would require a visit into town and the Reference section of the Public Library. And that could take some time without either a clear idea of the subject under which your required answer might be found or an intimate acquaintance with the Dewey Decimal library cataloguing system!
That is what I, with my father’s help, had to do when Mr Green my 2nd Year Primary school teacher (Year 4 in today’s money) started setting us General Knowledge questions for fun each Friday.
How much easier it is now!
When my dear wife is trying to get to sleep, she often asks me questions which highlight my lack of Doctorate level knowledge in subjects like Cosmology (which result in articles such as this https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2014/08/).
More often, however, her questions are more along the lines of “Who was that Actress who was in that film? You know…. that 1990s British Romantic Comedy with ‘Thingy’ in it!”
Once upon a time such a collection of unknowns would have defeated me without hours of extra questioning but now I just fire up my little Lenovo Tablet that lives beside the bed and within minutes I can have the name of the movie, a reasonable guess as to who “Thingy” is (probably Hugh Grant!) and a very short list with photos from which the subject of the original question can be chosen. I don’t even have to have seen the film myself!
The Internet search that prompted this piece was somewhat harder than the example just given.
For very good reasons of my own which are temporarily eluding me I wanted to find an example of the badge of my old school, Copleston Secondary Modern School for Boys in Ipswich – the badge that adorned the top pocket of my school blazer.
Not the rather generic torch emblem of its current incarnation as some sort of sports-orientated Academy but the original divided shield featuring a plough, a cog wheel and a quill pen representing the fields of Agriculture, Engineering and Clerical work that we were all supposedly destined for.
Via Google I had managed to locate a tiny monochrome image of it but nothing I tried initially would bring forth a sample of the proper, Maroon, Blue and Gold version in all its glory!
Until, that is, a few days ago when I tried again entering the school name in a search window, not realising that I wasn’t in Google but YouTube.
And strangely enough, some guy on there had posted in a video format, a photo-montage of his Copleston “memorabilia” including a very clear representation in glorious Technicolor of the badge from his jacket. For such moments was the Windows Snipping Tool invented and I now have a copy of my own at last.
The person concerned (who had left before I started in 1964) had the “enhanced” version of the badge signifying sports “colours” by the addition of golden laurel leaves and an embroidered letter “R” indicating that he had represented the school at Rugby. He was probably not, therefore, the kind of sadist that I would have got on well with – my friends and I did what we called “Cross-country Stroll and a bit of a Chat” on Rushmere Heath each week just to get out of being mauled by the knuckle-draggers who played Rugby!
Such embellishments as the laurels and the letter are easily edited out of digital images, however, and I only wish now that I could remember what I wanted it for!
So I am now a firm believer that ANYTHING can be found online although presently that is not helping with one of my own questions.
On drinking a particular flavour of “Cup-a-soup” the other day I was heard to remark:
“Chicken Noodle Soup! Which part of the Chicken is its Noodle?”
I’m not getting anywhere with that although I suspect it is located somewhere close to its Goujons!