At last, I’m back online. You don’t know just how much I’ve missed having internet access! Once more, I can read the news, listen to the radio and most of all, use Google again. I hadn’t realised just how much I have come to rely on Google for providing me with instant answers to every question.

The technical details: I have a wireless Compact Flash card (which comes with a PC Card adapter) that I just slot into my laptop. It then functions as an ISDN modem, so I get 64kbps dial-up access. That’s about 1.5 times the actual speed of a 56k modem. I pay a flat rate of JPY 3,000 per month, so it is quite cheap, and I don’t have to fork out JPY 40,000 for a telephone line (plus connection, line rental, ADSL, ISP). I can also use it anywhere (subject to signal strength) which so far means at home and at work.

The bad point is that the provider cuts the connection after a couple of minutes of inactivity. (Also after 5 hours of continuous connection, but that’s not such a drawback). You can redial, but it’s annoying when trying to browse. Anyway, that problem is no more; thanks to half an hour of Perl coding last night, I made a kind of web spider that happily wanders around downloading pages, adding the links it finds, and waiting a while between each download so as not to use too much bandwidth. It’s working perfectly so far.

I also started redesigning this site, with a new photo-montage-based logo. I have to get permission to use one of the source images in it first, however. I’m going to try to make better use of CSS, rather than the nested tables currently used to layout the pages, having seen the redesign over at Wired News.

I’ve also changed the diary to the front page, because it’s the part that changes regularly.

It occurred to me last week that there really are some people who just don’t understand modern technology and its limitations. I saw a gentlemen of advanced years attempting to put his supermarket loyalty card into the machine, the one that gives you discount coupons or whatever. This machine had a screen on the front, with an animation showing how to put the card into the slot. However, the man in question was placing his card on the screen on top of the picture of a card. Needless to say, it wasn’t working. It made me think, though...maybe we have become so used to interacting with machines and working with their shortcomings, that we blame the user for not understanding the machine, rather than the machine’s designer for not understanding the user. And if so, what bad habits are we storing up for the future through the widespread use of (convicted monopolist) Microsoft Windows!?