Caught In The Web

Click here to see more of Vicky Brock's fine work on Flickr

There have been several mind-boggling technological leaps of faith in my 27 years as a journalist. When I started as a spotty cub reporter for a weekly newspaper group in 1982 (Jimmy Connors won Wimbledon; ET was the movie to see and Duran Duran dominated the charts) it was a much simpler world. No computers; no mobile phones; no coffee shops on every street corner; smoking in offices; liquid lunches and a printing process called hot metal (literally). In fact the most prized possession (apart from a Rubik’s cube) was a typewriter ribbon. They were like gold-dust.

Gradually, something terrifying called ‘new technology’ started to creep in. Journalists, like other office workers, were usually bunged a few grand to put up with this upstart. Happy days.

First we had PCs and mobile phones and then the internet came along. The digital dawn had broken. You either went with the flow on an exciting voyage of discovery or were left way way behind in grey cardie and slippers muttering about the good old days.

I love the internet. It opens up all sorts of possibilities good and bad. A fantastic resource on the one hand and a melting pot of false truths and distortions on the other. You take you pick….

Up until a few days I had no idea how a web page was built. Wasn’t hugely bothered. After all, like Blackadder, I am quite happy to wear cotton but have absolutely no idea how its made.

So in my latest guise as MA student at Teesside University I am required to craft a web page or two. And so I was let loose on delightfully named software called Dream Weaver. But sadly I didn’t manage to weave any dreams…or sensible content for that matter. It was a nightmare and I have renewed respect for those who can create magic from a blank electronic canvas.

I’d like to think I’m sensible and relatively IT friendly but after two hours of toil it looked as though pre school infants and four chimpanzees had been let loose on a keyboard. My debut page had the look of one of those pioneering web pages from 1990. Basic, clunky and oh so plain.  

The next session is looming. I can feel a short illness coming on. Perhaps swine flu.

However I am a determined old sod so failure is not option. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

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