Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Technology: Can You Take It; Can You Leave It?

Ah yes, Damselfly has been pondering ponderously again. The other day my cable modem mysteriously lost its tiny little mind for awhile until T-Man came home and unplugged and replugged a few things and it got its little arse back in gear. It does this every once in awhile especially after T has been messing with his computer’s connections. He has lost his Virtual Private Network connection for work and he can’t work from home until it’s fixed. It doesn’t want to be fixed. It’s possible that the modem problem had nothing to do with that VPN problem — his computer wasn’t even turned on at the time. Our Modern Conveniences are occasionally rather Inconvenient. With an evil mind of their own.

Anyway while my modem was temporarily out of commission, I took the time to peruse some video podcasts that I don’t usually have a chance to watch. If my hands are busy enough to want podcasts, then I want to listen because my eyes are busy too. If my eyes aren’t busy, then I usually want to read blogs or email instead. Video podcasts are kind of intermediary fun. Easier to glance away from to work on a tricky bit of knitting because they keep going along. Unlike when I read, if my eyes glance away then of course I stop reading. And I have to find my place again when I glance back. Video podcasts are like mini TV shows in the same way that regular podcasts are like radio programs. There are two that I’ve been watching: Lets Knit2gether and Knitterati, both of which have some fairly professional production qualities. The former has been around longer but the latter is quite entertaining too. (Check out the animation!) I’m sure it takes more expertise and equipment to create a video than an audio podcast. Just for starters you need another person with a camera! And I bet they take more time to edit and prepare before uploading. They are also necessarily shorter than most audio podcasts because the video takes up much more space for the same number of minutes.

Do you listen to audio podcasts? I’m a big fan because as I said earlier you can free up both your hands and your eyes to get to work while your brain goes on a happy vacation. I like it better than the radio because you can choose what to listen to and if you miss something you can rewind and listen again. No commercials. Fast-forward through anything you don’t like. I like it better than TV or DVDs because you don’t have to watch anything except what you’re doing. There are lots of different kinds of podcasts — something for everybody. Most people think first of music programs. I have a couple of folk music ones I like, including one that is locally broadcast on a wimpy university’s FM station on Saturday mornings when I usually can’t listen to it. As a podcast I can hear it anytime I want and I can play it over again any time if I like the music.

I know I’ve mentioned before which ones are my favourite crafty podcasts so I won’t repeat the list. There’s a few that have disappeared in the last while or that I’ve gotten bored of and stopped downloading. Not tellin’ who though so feelings don’t get hurt. I can totally understand why it becomes too big of a job to keep up or interests or circumstances change and one can’t continue recording. It’s a lot of work to podcast and even more to do it well. That wouldn’t be me. As I’ve said before, putting a microphone in front of me is the only sure way to shut me up!

So of course I had to have those podcasts already downloaded onto my computer when my modem went on hiatus. I run iTunes at least once a week even though I’m very far behind on listening to many of the episodes. That was handy! But have you ever noticed how many times you look things up on Google or other search-engine-of-choice? How often you check a website for information? How often you send out an email or read and reply to posts on groups and forums? How annoying it can be when you can’t because your system is acting up and you can’t get online? I have come to realize that I am quite dependent on being wired to the world. I hate telephones (don’t even own a cell phone) but cut me off from my Internets and I’m feeling like I have one arm tied behind my back. If you had told me 15 years ago that this would happen, I’d have laughed at you.

P.S. Susan and TK, you’re quite welcome for the mention in yesterday’s post! And Susan darlin’, this is my 590th post since May 2005. Methinks that’s a pretty good record! Sometimes I don’t have anything babble-worthy, sometimes I don’t have time, and sometimes I just can’t. get. it. up.

1 comment:

Asylim said...

Hi Aunt Louisa.

If your ISP is Shaw Cable it is possible that they've begun monitoring all of the packets going in and out and it is possible they've blocked the packets that would be usable for a VPN.

When I was in Toronto we tried to setup a VPN and found out that Rogers was blocking it.

I had heard that Shaw was thinking about it to control the traffic on their network so if Uncle T has no luck in getting it to work he may want to give Shaw a call and ask them. Though they may not be very forthcoming as packet shaping is a very touchy issue right now.

Hope that helps.