Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Speed of Technology


Ten years ago we bought our first computer. We didn’t have a clue what we were buying or how to use one. Our son was six years old and we thought we should get one to help him with his school work. How na├»ve were we then?
We bought, or were sold, a Gateway computer (similar to that in the photo) with the infamous Millennium Edition operating system which developed a reputation as one of the most unstable operating systems ever. However, that is what I cut my teeth on – together with the dreaded dial-up. Remember that dialling noise as the modem tried to connect to the outside world?
I shudder when I think how little I knew then but everyone has to start somewhere and I can even remember boasting that I knew how to send emails! Wow!
It’s incredible to think back now though and realise that only ten years ago there was no internet in our house. Wi-fi was beyond our wildest dreams let alone being able to watch TV on our laptops. Our lives seems to revolve around it these days and sometimes we wonder what we used to do without it – it really has changed our lives and made the world a much smaller place.
Since then we have replaced our ageing Gateway desktop PC with its bulky CRT monitor with a Dell desktop with an LCD flat panel monitor and Windows XP (what an improvement) but that was five years ago so one of these days it’s going to be time for another leap forward into a new operating system – Window 7 (bypassing Vista).
I have made so many friends – cyber friends and real friends and learnt so much from the World Wide Web. I can buy practically anything I want without stepping foot outside the house and have it delivered to the front door which I love especially at Christmas time. The mind boggles at how technology has come on in leaps and bounds and one wonders what the next ten years will bring.
It’s very exciting – I just hope I can keep up with it.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Bumblebees


We have several bird nest boxes around our house. Some years they are used and some they aren't. I hadn't seen any bird activity around any of them this year so assumed they were all vacant. However, several weeks ago I happened, by chance, to notice a bee going into one of them. I waited and watched and there was another, then one came out and flew away and it was soon obvious that there was a nest of bees in this nest box. We were already members of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust so I look on the wallchart in the kitchen and discovered that they were most likely tree bumblebees (Bombus Hypnorum). This is apparently one of the less common species in the UK having first been recorded in the New Forest in 2001. It is widespread on the continent but it is not yet widely established here and has a tendency to nest in bird boxes. We already have a lot of bee and butterfly friendly plants and flowers in our garden and this year we made the effort to buy a few more.