There’s a series on PBS, “Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World” which tells the (purportedly) wonderful stories of innovators through time. It’s one of those glorifying paeans we see or read from time to time. One I remember well occurred in the late 1970s and early ’80s, about the computer and how its wonders were possible because of silicon – which is, of course, sand. Most books in this time period were singing the praises of computers like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is why my friend John Gantz and I decided to show the warts, pimples, and strange underbelly of the computer industry in our book, The Naked Computer. We weren’t anti-computer; we just wanted to share some of the odd, human and funny aspects of the behemoth machines.
Fast forward to today, almost forty years later. We simply can’t get along with out our computing devices and the internet. But what happened to the fun? As Crosby, Stills, and Nash sang in “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” computing has pretty much gotten to the point where it’s not much fun anymore.
A lot about computer and internet use has changed – may I say devolved? – even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. The technology, once performing flawlessly at our command, is now quirky and garrulous, in large part, I think, due to the increased load on our web services. In a word, technology has gotten hard. In another, internet traffic looks like an L.A. freeway.
A case in point is this very site you’re visiting. We had a serious crash a few months ago, indirectly caused because another website owner who uses the same web services provider as we do, had stopped maintaining its [sic] site and installing software upgrades. This lapse opened a portal for a hacker to get into his computer, and then all of our servers, and wreak havoc on all of us customers.
This kind of thing is much more prevalent with technology today. Need I even mention how our phone services are preyed upon by phishing and spam and all sorts of nefarious schemers? As the CSN guys sing, It’s gotten hard. Definitely not fun.
But we who work with JackBoston have been turning lemons into lemonade and have made a number of really sensible upgrades and updates to make this site more accessible. And we’re still at it.
So while you’re reading my weekly blog posts (the alternating “Saturday Book Review” and “My Brain on Grape Nuts”), bop over to the home page and take a look around. One new offering is my forthcoming novel, Bridge Across the Ocean, in Lexington Woods. But there are a few others, some done, some still in progress.
It’s not really a lot of fun, maintaining and upgrading a website these days, but it must be done and we hope it’s making JackBoston a more accessible and fun site for you to visit.
Next week: A new “Lucinda” episode. (see, I didn’t forget!)