Something I realized today while writing a Usenet post: My father was born in ’34, I in ’68, so he was 34 when I was 0. Two years ago I was 34, while he was 68, and 34 years after that I will be 68. I didn’t have any kids when I was 34, but maybe that’s a good thing – after all, who wants to be 68 when your kids are 34, or vice versa?
I shied away from Usenet in recent years, mostly because I never had a reliable Internet connection for personal use. Email was usually available where I worked, so I joined distribution lists and got email sent to me. I’m defying the “conventional wisdom” by using Microsoft Outlook Express as my newsreader: I tried a few different ones, and settled on Mozilla Communicator, but it let me down by downloading a virus-laden attachment, despite being clearly told not to. It didn’t try to execute it, but it was still stored locally and picked up by a virus check, which is a little embarassing at work. I also had problems getting Communicator to work properly in Offline mode, which is what I need, since I don’t get time to do much on Usenet at work beyond downloading the messages, perhaps quick replies in threads I’m already involved in.
My other concern was time: would I spend hours and hours on there, to the exclusion of other things? No, I’m managing to keep Internet use, and related offline work (Usenet, email, this website) down to sensible levels. I seem to have grasped the message that the Internet, like all culture, is optional: these are the things we don’t have to do. Unless we want to.