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 2)
on Jun 04, 2011

I find it awesome that the originator of WC is saying "Hey, I'm outside doing things I should have done a long time ago..." Take heed...Do the same...its the end of the world.

on Jun 04, 2011

 That's interesting. I never lived that much on the internet. I started with the Commodore 'Pet' and the ancient Macintosh computers that were in the school labs in '82 and worked my way from there. As for Windows, I've gone through all the versions of Windows starting from 95.

Doesn't look like this excessive internet use has harmed you in any way Brad. My only problem has come when I accidentally spout a political or religious belief among friends or family who have differing opinions. On the net this can be done anonymously without getting people I know upset with me... for instance, I can go to Yahoo message board and blurt out any political belief no matter how inappropriate or offensive without upsetting anyone I know. But if I forget myself and do this in real life it creates a problem. I have to remember to be more diplomatic with my beliefs sometimes.

As for toxicity, I don't think it has increased. I do think the internet has become less intelligent to a large extent though. With such easy access and virtually foolproof operating systems the average internet user of 2011 seems much different than 5,6, or 7 years ago.

on Jun 07, 2011

I am so happy for your family.

Bravo Brad. 

 

on Jun 07, 2011

I got my first computer when i was 11 or 12 (i'm not sure) but i think it was an Apple. And a few years later i got a Windows PC (Windows 3.11) and later windows 95 and with it came the internet (..i think). So, it's 15 years ago. (Damn, i'm gettin' old).

on Jun 07, 2011

Remember the 15 floppies you needed to install Windows for Workgroups 3.11?

on Jun 07, 2011

Remember the 15 floppies you needed to install Windows for Workgroups 3.11?

Yes and all the great games

on Jun 07, 2011

Remember the 15 floppies you needed to install Windows for Workgroups 3.11?

I still have them...

on Jun 07, 2011

My first computer was a (Radio Shack) Tandy TRS-80

TRS-80 Model 5 for me....doing survey closures, vertical alignment for roadways and programming in BASIC...

 

Personally I've always thought we went off course after DOS 3.....damn graphical user interface....

on Jun 07, 2011

@Jafo -

There is a reality series on A&E here in the USandA about people like you.  Not so sure about Oz.

on Jun 07, 2011

There is a reality series on A&E here in the USandA about people like you.

What..."Tales of the beautiful, talented and modest" ? ....

on Jun 08, 2011


Quoting Daiwa, reply 20Remember the 15 floppies you needed to install Windows for Workgroups 3.11?

I still have them...

So do I.  But I doubt they work. Floppies only have an expected life of 2-5 years, and mine are easily 15+ years old.  IN fact, I still have a few hundred floppies - of software long gone by!.

on Jun 08, 2011

Not being a hoarder myself, mine are long gone.

on Jun 08, 2011

Dr Guy
So do I. But I doubt they work. Floppies only have an expected life of 2-5 years, and mine are easily 15+ years old. IN fact, I still have a few hundred floppies - of software long gone by!.

If they're looked after they last.

Few wears ago I dumped all the old stuff on floppies onto a harddrive just in case I felt the urge to run dosbox or something and play with the likes of Xtree.

I even still run the original demo of Mechwarrior2 [came on 4 floppies].

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be....

on Jun 09, 2011

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be....

It still has its good points!  And for the record, I have the disks copied to CD (which I know only last about 8-10 years).  Still, I keep the floppies around as I may be able to use them should I have to copy back to floppy. (and they are already labeled).

on Jun 09, 2011

Dr Guy
It still has its good points! And for the record, I have the disks copied to CD (which I know only last about 8-10 years). Still, I keep the floppies around as I may be able to use them should I have to copy back to floppy. (and they are already labeled).

I'll see that and raise ya one..

I created a CD many moons ago that i could boot from, install DOS 5.5? then Win 3.11 if I so choose. The great thing about Win3.11 was that it ran on TOP of DOS. So.. using PKZIP I would zip up my windows directory and keep it tucked away for hard drive space reasons. Had a nifty DOS menu that was quite handy. When I would launch win 3.11 it would unzip it then launch. When done with it, it would rezip and put away. Great stuff, but I digress...

I made iso images of most of my CD's and have them tucked away on a non production hard drive or two. I can easly burn them to physical media if I choose.

There is a reality series on A&E here in the USandA about people like you.

 

What..."Tales of the beautiful, talented and modest" ? ....

- anybody else puke a bit in their mouth at that??

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