Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I Didn't Start the Fire

It’s hard to imagine, but I was outgeeked last night at my own home: Jo actually stayed on the computer later than I did. Worse, she took the netbook with her to bed. Sure, she had a good excuse, but it probably is a sign of the times; an indication for just how much the internet has taken hold of mortals’ lives and not just the gadget oriented.
There are other signs out there for the whole world being infected with internet geekiness. Here’s one.
More than three years ago I purchased a Firefox t-shirt at the Mozilla website. Those keeping an eye on my photos at Flickr must have seen it being worn on one occasion or another as it is one of my favorite shirts.
When I wore it to work on a hot casual Friday three years ago there was only one guy making an audible comment about the shirt. He pointed it out and told others that I’m wearing a silly web browser shirt but no one else knew what he was on about.
On Monday this week I wore the shirt again for the self declared casual Monday I celebrated before the Melbourne Cup holiday. This time around the shirt was commented on by virtually everyone I’m on talking terms with at the office. Not only that, I got comments and smiles while walking the street. Several people have referred to me as “Mr Firefox” even though they only saw the shirt’s front, where the Firefox logo is on display but nothing actually says “Firefox”; those people must have recognized the logo.
On my way to the train station I got stopped by all the charity organization hawkers that stop you and ask you to donate money to their organizations. I used to be annoyed by them but now I fully despise them: A week ago, The Age has revealed them to be the employees of a marketing company (as opposed to ideological volunteers) that collects 90% of the first year’s donations into their own pockets (as opposed to the money actually going to the charity of choice). I was so annoyed by the revelation I canceled my regular donations to Oxfam. It’s not that I don’t think Oxfam’s agenda is worthwhile anymore, but I am quite annoyed with their lack of transparency and the way they treat their donators.
But I’m straying, as usual. This post’s point is that people are much more internet savvy than they used to be, indicating at cracks in Microsoft’s grip of the computing world. If a non for profit, open source organization like Mozilla can achieve such recognition then there must be hope for civilization yet.

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