I love to hate the internet

 

“Dad! The internet is down again!” – “The wifi is terrible, my NetfliX keeps stuttering…” – “In my room I can’t even watch YouTube on my Phone and dad wont fiX it!” – “DAD!!!”

wifiant

I consider myself a poweruser of the internet and all the things related to it nowadays. I play online games, watch series and movies via NetfliX/HBOgo, read and write my email, browse the web and write my blog, listen to music and follow the news. In our Household we have 4 smartphones, 2 iPads, 1 Surface, 3 laptops, 2 desktops, 2 XboX’s and an Horizon setup boX all hooked up to the internet. Most of them connected via wifi and being used by my wife and me along with our 3 kids. Most of the time there are at least 2, but sometimes up to 5 people connecting and using the wifi signal.

I love the endless posibilities of stuff you can do when you have access to the internet and i cannot imagine our life without it anymore. Ofcourse its not a life treatening thing when the internet is down but to be honest, we do all use it on a daily base one way or the other.

On the other side i hate this way of life as well… Connection to the internet has become a thing to rely on and people have started to take it for granted. When my wife likes to watch tv she turns it on, has instant signal and possibilties to watch a movie or series. She, and many others like her, eXpect the same when she decides to use NetfliX or another streaming service via the internet. When you turn on your device and choose a movie it should show in good quality and without any hickups. Same for the kids when they are trying to find their favorite YouTube channel or try to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It should work, it should work fast and without interuption when and how they desire. The thing is, it doesnt always work like that and with every other appliance connecting to the router the possibility increases something will happen and it will not work eXactly as desired. That is when everybody starts asking for “DAD!” to fiX it. You are the one with an interest in computers, you know how it works, im just a user, you fiX it!

Those are the moments i would love to turn back time 20 years when using the internet was for geeks like me who were amazed by the possibilities for the future and cried out in joy when there was a problem so we could try to fiX it. Nobody cared if it took an hour, day or weeks because nobody was waiting for us… they made fun of us spending hours behind a non functioning device and declared us fools for having an interest in something so unsignificant as “the internet”…

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Geocaching: the art of treasure hunting

 

AntGPS.pngA couple of years ago we got introduced to the phenomenon of Geocaching. At work they organised an event in which they eXplained the principles of Geocaching and in groups let us search for a couple caches.

For those people who dont know what Geocaching is let me take a quick minute to eXplain:

Geocaching is an outdoor activity, in which you use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device (smartphone) to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back eXactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boXes can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets.

It so happens that i missed the organised event at work but i was curious to how this Geocaching works so i downloaded an app on my iPhone and started looking for one of those “hidden treasures” on my own for the first time. I felt the little kid in me appear and decided that i just needed to get my kids into this as well… So i took them for a bikeride, carefully planned enroute a couple of nice geocaches and before i knew it they were also hooked on the new “treasure hunting”! Even my wife didnt mind stopping by some locations after the saturday football matches of the boys to go find a treasure.

Before we knew it we started making some friends of ours new enthousiast Geocachers and found out quite some friends and aquantances already participated in the cache hunt from time to time, we just never knew! Sometimes these searches lead to some pretty weird or even embarrising situations… Like the story of a friend that went looking for a cache which was hidden deep inside some bushes with his 6 year old daughter. When he came out of the bushes with his kid there were some bypassers that looked rather funny at that adult man emerging out of the bushes with this little kid… They quickly took off but they did find the cache!

There are a couple of apps to use with your smartphone when you like to start Geocaching yourself but the one i use (free app with the possibility to upgrade to premium to unlock more options and socalled Premium-caches) is simply called Geocaching Intro. It lets you navigatie to dozens of caches near you and you can also “log” the caches you find. If you like to get to know more about Geocaching there are many websites to eXplain the basics from starting to look for your first cache as well as all the things you need to know to place you own cache for others to find.

I can just recomment trying it one day and im curious if you liked it so if you did or you are an already a veteran Geocacher please leave me a message to tell me about it… Happy hunting!

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Space and Beyond

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Hundreds of years ago eXplorers set sail to unknown and undiscovered parts of the world. Nowadays we think we know all about our little planet there is to discover and we Google-mapped most of it. At least the surface of the planet that is because i believe there is still much to eXplore in the depths of the seas and oceans. Slowly however we are shifting our focus to the new big unknown, Space and the wonders that are still hidden for mankind.

I love what progress we make though, understanding Space, the stars and planets, counstellations, black holes and cosmic dust… Our ancesters in prehistory have already seen planets with their bare eyes (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), the star closest to our Sun is 4.2 years away if we ever achieve the ability to travel at lightspeed and the biggest star known to us today is more than 1500 times the size of our own Sun!

This week however there was this article about the evidence for a ninth planet in our solar system… and if you look at the unimaginable size of Space this is news that happened right in our own back yard! The most eXciting thing about this news to me is that apparently there are still giant planets to discover so close to “home” which makes me totally hyped for what future discoveries have in store for us. Anyone ever wonder what we will discover on the dark side of the moon!?

New Evidence Points to Giant 9th Planet on Solar System Edge: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/scientists-solid-evidence-9th-planet-solar-system-36398193

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