I’m delighted with the Internet. No, really.
I’ve been writing a book the last few days, using leanpub to assemble the manuscript, writing siginificant chunks at will, on a whim, whenever the mood takes me. Because it’s based on a dropbox folder and text files, my mobile phone has the power to access and edit the book chapter by chapter, and right now I’m typing this post on my Android tablet with a USB On-the-go adaptor hooked up to a real keyboard for ease of typing at speed.
The usefulness of a real keyboard and a touch interface had never struck me, but it’s quite a combo.
I like the immediacy and direct access of using leanpub and dropbox like this. I can get going straight away, produce a preview and edit at my leisure. No doubt I could actually put the preview on my Kindle to see what it would look like in the end. That’s a very powerful position to be in when you consider a hundred years ago novellists were writing long hand or using good but heavy typewriters for hours every day. The simplest mistake would need correcting and proofreading again on fresh paper. Now we simply edit, recompile and download a fresh copy.
God bless the BBC and their News website. Oh, I whinge and moan about the way they don’t report all the news and how JLS being sold off to private investors is more important than the NHS splitting up, but they do a fair enough job and it’s all accessible stuff to most folks.
How about online music sales? I love Bandcamp. I love being able to literally record what I want into Garageband or Audacity, fiddle with it and save multiple copies to come back to, decide how I want the finished product to sound and just upload it.
I love being able to read stuff on my Kindle that I downloaded for free because it’s easier than buying a physical book and just as accessible nine times out of ten.
I love being able to see a place on a map and look it up on Wikipedia.
I love having a Twitter account and getting in touch with cool people I might never have met otherwise.
I love having my son ask me what “arbitrary” means and showing him the results of a search for “arbitrary definition” on my mobile when far from home and dictionary (I do own a dictionary – a really big one.)
I love Soundhound and the way it tells me what’s playing.
For everything I have to give up – private data, birth date and address, credit card details and a certain amount of my right to an anonymous private life, the rewards are immense. I can see a time when we look back at the early 21st Century and say “For a small price, it was all but free, man. They knew how to live back then.”