I have a habit of raiding the technology section of used bookstores in order to get my hands on knowledge lost to the sands of time. I've picked up a really decent xml primer, several (still relevant!) books on responsive site design, and one (very outdated) book on how to use the Internet to share and stream audio. Internet Audio Sourcebook by Lee Purcell and Jordan Hemphill originally sold for about $50 suggested retail, and I picked it up for about a tenth of that. It contains information on how to use HTML 3.2's embedded media capabilities to their fullest potential on Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape Navigator 4. I'm having vivid flashbacks to the days of RealPlayer while reading about how to properly install Real Audio server software so you, too, can stream sound to the masses.
There's a great hope for the future in some chapters, with the author truly believing that as standards coalesced, we'd eventually get a single telephony protocol that could dial users from any given piece of VoIP software to any other VoIP software. Just like chat programs, which I discussed in my last blog post, this has largely not been the case. I really like looking at all this dated optimism, though. It makes me hope that we can get some of that spirit back in the future as the masses start to tire of closed systems. (Although it's not clear to me if that's what's actually happening, or if I'm just stuck in a techie echo chamber, tbh.)
I definitely want to share a short blurb from the book concerning a problem I suffer with in many spheres of my life, as the author's imagination and forethought towards the future of technology are on full display:
It's easy to get lost in the "one-more-piece-of-equipment" syndrome. Anyone who has ever owned a computer has faced this dilemma. "If I just had this one extra piece of software, I could train my computer to read Balinese poetry and recite it to me in Cindy Lauper's voice. Or, with just a small extra piece of hardware, I could set up my computer to sample my moods using galvanic skin response and then use an aromatherapy module to fill the room with appropriate smells." There is an endless array of tools, gadgets, and software available that can quickly drain the bank accounts of anyone less prosperous than Bill Gates.
Apologies to my bank account for my many sins across the years. I'm trying to cook instead of buying prepared foods, but I don't think I'll ever be able to stop buying random electronics. I will, however, try my best to resist the siren call of always-connected IoT devices which can sell the data the galvanic skin response monitoring aromatherapy sensors pick up to the highest bidders.