I’m just old enough to have only discovered the internet at about the time I graduated from high school, and have been using it for about 15 years. Every once in a while though, it comes back and hits me just how cool the whole thing is. Not “yeah, neat”, but a serious wow at just how amazing it is to be able to communicate with people the world over. I think the first time that happened was when I had been exploring some of the early nineties internet – gopher and the web with lynx. Which was neat, but not in the “wow” sense. Then I stumbled on to IRC somehow, and since at the time I’d already started taking Italian courses, I thought I’d see if there was an Italian channel. There was, and I think the conversation went something like this:
me: so, where are you guys?
someone: Italy, and you?
me: Oregon, but, no, seriously, where are you?
It was a very concrete demonstration of the fact, that, thanks to this new thing, I could talk to people all over the world, for free!
Of course I’ve grown used to this, and take for granted that I can call my parents in Oregon via Skype for free, and a lot of other cool things, but once in a while something makes me take a step back and say “cool!”.
Most recently, a web site I follow that I follow has had an interesting back and forth between Paul Graham and David Heinemeier Hansson, with additional comments by the likes of Paul Buchheit, which, agree or disagree with their modus operandi, is an impressive cast of characters to be able to interact with, and learn from, without moving from my perch up here in the middle of the Tyrolean Alps.