Old fogey alert

Thursday January 27, 2005

Isn’t technology wonderful? Not the obvious kind, now, like medical diagnosis scanners or satellite technology, wonderful though those things are. No, I’m talking about the technology that reaches down to us mere mortals and tickles our fancy.

Obviously, since I write a daily online journal, I get to touch the technology every day. When I started, I was at the bleeding edge of communications. Now, well, my efforts are rather old hat. Pretty, but from the technocrat’s point of view, rather quaint and old fashioned.

Who would have thought it?

I can’t say I’m too much bothered. Time marches on and I’ve dragged along behind with the baggage train best I can. Now and again I feel that the pace is getting to be beyond me, and the head of the marching column is getting so far out of sight that I can’t truly claim even to be able to imagine it.

Some time in the not too distant future my powers of concentration, and of sustained interest, will desert me. I’ll not just be trailing behind, I shall be deserted. When I get the feeling that is about to happen I shall switch over to something like typepad.com, radio.com or salon.com, and let the technical gurus there look after the nitty-gritty for me. I feel a little nervous about that, but I’ll get used to it when the time comes.

Now and again, though, something happens that makes me feel that perhaps I’m not lagging so far behind after all, and I indulge myself in a little crowing. Like, today, I discovered that my ISP’s home page will let me plug the RSS feed from my website into the home page I see when I log it. Right under the Guardian Online feed, as a matter of fact, and somewhat to the left of the weather.

What’s an RSS feed? Oh, you’ll have to look to a technical whizz-kid to answer that one. I know only enough about it to be able to put an RSS file up on my site, manually, and to update it daily with each new entry in the journal. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’ve had a gratifying boost in my hit rate since I created it. The how and the why I sort of understand but not well enough to explain to other people.

I’m chuffed, though, that I will admit. Seeing my syndicated feed there, along with the others to which I subscribe, is a small thrill. And surely, something that no-one will grudge me.

So, I say again. Isn’t technology wonderful? Surely, none but an old fogey would disagree with me.

Stickford Jan,'04
My Feed

Oh, alright, I’m playing silly games here. Can’t help it.

Other than that I’ve been fiddling with watercolours all day, progressing, slipping and sliding, concentrating on marine subjects for the most part. I’m looking forward to wandering along the banks of the Thames, sketching the boats, large and small, and all the marine clobber that goes with them. London may not be on the sea, but it’s a big enough magnet to attract an awful load of shipping.

And I’ve switched my reading, too, not just in the direction of how-to-do-it books on watercolouring, but to the books that provide and have always provided my mind’s eye with the material and the feeling for paintings, pictures, poems and stories. I’ll close today with a little drawing from one of those old, old books, one that sums up my love of water, of boats, and of messing around by the rivers and lakes of England.

I ought to offer a cyber-prize for anyone who can recognise it and, more importantly, identify it. The reward for doing so, however, is much the same as that I get when I push my drawing board back at the end of another attempt at watercolour painting.

The doing is reward enough. Or ought to be.

It's a mystery
a small inspiration



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