Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Learning to unplug
Published on June 2, 2011 By Draginol In Internet

I've been online since I was 15. That was 25 years ago. Back then, it was BBSes using C-net 10.0.

You could say that I've grown up entirely living online. Before people used twitter for facebook to express their every inappropriate thought, I was mouthing off on things that I really shouldn't be mouthing off on (or at least, things that shouldn't be held up to scrutiny).

This year I started to live life in "the real world". And to give you just an idea of how out of touch with "the real world" I was let me explain what my life has been like for the past 20 or so years:

In the morning, I'd get up, go to work, work on "stuff" on the computer until I was too tired or too hungry to continue, then come home, eat, and then get back online to do more work until I had to go to bed and repeat.  

I know I'm not alone in that. Some people squander that energy and time on MMOs and such. I know, I've squandered more than my fair share of time on everything from Ultima Online, WoW, Total Annihilation (boneyards), Warcraft 3, Starcraft, Diablo, Counterstrike, L4D, Stellar Frontier, Demigod, countless internet forums.

But for the most part, I prefer to make stuff than consume stuff. Most of the stuff I've made in my career has failed. That's the thing about running any sort of business. Most of the time, you fail. Because a successful business person means you get used to failing a LOT. 

So anyway, last year kind of sucked. It shouldn't have. My business made money and our company had its best year ever. It was a huge benchmark year for Stardock

In 2010, Stardock's software was pre-loaded on a near majority of PCs. Every Dell came with the DellDock (made by Stardock) and every HP was coming with Fences. A royalty on every PC sold.  We had Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy which was awesome and we released Fences Pro.  And let's face it, Fences was probably the most significant non-game new piece of WIndows software released in 2010. Millions and millions of downloads. Not as sexy as a Minecraft or an Angry Birds but I'd bet more people are using Fences (more to the point, I KNOW more people are using Fences) than virtually anything else released for the PC last year.

The only downer for the whole year was Elemental: War of Magic. But what a downer it was. At least for me. I'm really the type of person who takes the good things in life for granted and fixates on the negative. Not a healthy thing but it is what it is.

The toxicity of the Internet really came home last year. It's interesting how toxic the net has gotten over the past decade. It's not been an overnight process either.

The sheer hate you see online is really breathtaking if you think about it. Endless September doesn't even begin to describe it.

Most people online I meet are great. So I don't want to paint the net as some sort of festering pit of asbergerism.  I'm just saying that there's enough man-childism going around on the net now that last year's War of Magic debacle managed to wake me up and spend some time in the real world.

And it turns out, the real world is pretty nice. And boy have I gotten out of touch with it.  They have self-checkout lines at grocery stores. I watered plants recently. I got a dog.  It's amazing how easy it is to become consumed with work, especially when work involves being online every waking hour.

Last year I felt the fatigue creeping up on me which is why I told my friends i was going to take a sabbatical in 2010. I didn't get to do that of course but now I am and it's great. As I type this, I'm at home, with my kids playing in the yard, my puppy napping and just relaxing.

The Internet is still a place of wonder and enjoyment but a little balance can go a long way. Just something to consider for fellow travelers who have grown up on the Internet.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 02, 2011

For me, being online has all been about skinning....something like 15 years or so.

Originally with dial-up it was 'limited'....$2 per hour made it so....and only having one phone-line likewise.

These days...ADSL....cheap [ish] and looking after this bit of the Net whilst all the US side are [mostly] tucked up in bed ..... can get a little lonely....and tiring.

I kinda forget what 'the real life' [tm] is actually like.  The only real time away from SD's bit of net over the past decade was my trip to the US [to visit SD] in 2009.

BTW...

I hate self-checkout lines at grocery stores. If I watered plants recently they probably died anyway [they don't like me]. I got 2 cats - one sliced and diced me when she caught her lower jaw in her collar - I bled a 'bit'....

on Jun 02, 2011

Most posts you write, Brad, I just cannot identify with at all, but this one...I TOTALLY know where you're coming from.  Sometimes a person just has to pull back to see what really matters.

So I don't want to paint the net as some sort of festering pit of asbergerism.


And as the mother of an Aspie kid, this had me ROFL! 

on Jun 02, 2011

Just so everyone knows that there are older folks here, 62 and been 'on-line' less than eight years.      Yeah, I know!!!!!  

I was a mere child but I remember when the first transistor radios and hand held calculators came out, really.  

on Jun 02, 2011

As a Resident Manager I find there is about 10% of the population in any building that is, shall we say,"unfavorable". But, even if said exact percentage was extracted. The lesser percent would rise up and take up that space. I've come to the conclusion that that's just the way it is.

And I also have spent alot of time on my pc. But, find I am slowly, as time goes by on it lesser and lesser. I do what is required, info get , banking, games,places I haunt, etc.  I am a huge fan of my pc. But, as time goes by my curiosity or wonder of it's hugeness has lost it's mystery I find. 

I'm not sad. I am just turning another page in the book of my life.

on Jun 02, 2011

Philly0381
I was a mere child but I remember when the first transistor radios and hand held calculators came out, really.

Yep...my sister's 62-ish now.  Her first tranny was a stitched leather casing with a flap at the back for the 9volt battery that was about 8" long.

AM, of course..... FM was still a dream [somewhere].

The first production calc was the size of a teledex....cost several weeks' wages and was made by Braun in Germany...some fellow Archie students bought them while OS in '73 ....cost about $180 back then.

I didn't do all my 'growing up on the net'....though my first 'fiddle' with computers was about '68 .... I was pushing 14 then....

on Jun 03, 2011

I was 16 in 68 but my first computer happened in 97-98. I remember Win 3.1 and windows for workgroups. Win 95 and 98, then 98SE, 2000 (which by the way sucked) ME (sucked too) XP which worked unlike Vista now Win 7. Win 8 changes almost everything and IE still sucks.

on Jun 03, 2011

As I type this, I'm at home, with my kids playing in the yard, my puppy napping and just relaxing.

The Internet is still a place of wonder and enjoyment but a little balance can go a long way. Just something to consider for fellow travelers who have grown up on the Internet.

Makes me happy to read this.... many memories come to mind... stop typing, go play with the kids and enjoy it. It's all too short: They grow up all too quickly.

on Jun 03, 2011

when I got my first computer I had a choice between an Apple IIC and the IBM, I took the Apple.

I won't use self checkouts cause it could cost someone a job.

the bbs's, limited to either a download limit or time? I remember downloading the indexes to plot my next session, won't say what of but I bet you can guess.

I've started a new family and although retired I have a 4th grader who takes a lot of my time and landscaping that needs attending to. I'm having some mobility issues (hips, knees and ankles) but all in all, I am a happy/content camper.

I'm happy for ya Brad. glad to see you taking the time to smell the roses, and that goes for anyone.

good to hear that stardock is doing well, so quit reminiscing and get back to work.

I'll upgrade to OD this year.

on Jun 03, 2011

...$2 per hour made it so..

I remember paying Compuserve $22.50 an hour just before or at about the time 9600 baud modems were just coming out. The local BBS was 300 baud so that was screaming....

 

I have a hard time getting out from behind the monitor as well. I spend 8-10 hours a day with AutoCAD up and running as well as a lot of other work supporting software and then to unwind I spend time on the computer. Once Friday afternoon rolls around I pretty much concentrate on outdoor activities....especially if the weather (and finances) let me put the boat in the water. My "honey do" list seems endless but I figure that's a plus. Couple more hours and I'll have to choose between shrimping overnight or chasing reds early in the morning.

on Jun 03, 2011

My first PC was XP Home in 2005.

on Jun 03, 2011

Mine was the same on an eMachine. XP Home Premium.

on Jun 03, 2011

While you pretty much matured with the internet, just think about the College kids of today - they never knew a world without it.  At least you did.

on Jun 03, 2011

Mine was the same on an eMachine. XP Home Premium.

Mine was an eMachine also...lol.

on Jun 03, 2011

I stopped looking for trannys a while back...

But my first computer was a beautiful Apple IIe in 1982.  With TWO (2) 5.25 floppy drives!!!  Man, could I get shit done.  And there was nothing like the sound and smell of a rocketing Okidata DMP in the morning.

on Jun 03, 2011

My first computer was a (Radio Shack) Tandy TRS-80, in 1980.  I will never forget backing up my first husband's Master's thesis on those cassette tapes!

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