One of the good things about working on the web is that one learns something new everyday. And I am not talking about the latest scoops from sources that are not caught in traditional media. Nor is it just about software (what’s good about downloading software if you can’t use it anyway?). It is about many things, like new services and facilities and new ways of allowing the computer to extend one’s native abilities. Ultimately, it is about allowing the computer and the world wide web to be an opportunity for one to exert one’s abilities thereby developing them.
Offline, one normally gets oneself developed through one’s job and job-related training. Then there are self-improvement opportunities provided by social clubs (e.g. Toastmaster International) and seminars and workshops which one can attend on one’s free time. Then came the computer and the internet, and these revolutionized the way we live and the way we carry out our tasks in the office. Those engaged in research and human development would know what kind of help they get from both computers and the internet. Now that the web is well-developed (it has undergone quite a lot of changes since 1989), we can now even talk of a life ONLINE
“Online.” Some people would still think that strange. But there are now jobs that are carried out online. Consider the webmaster’s job or the employee at the online helpdesk. And there are activities originally done in the privacy of one’s room that are now done while logged onto the web. Just yesterday I went into an internet cafe to buy myself an internet card. I saw one of the customers playing his guitar on one corner as he listens to and reads the lyrics of a song in one pinoy music site. And then don’t forget the case of a woman somewhere in the States whose husband left her because all she did throughout the day was to chat (kind of like women who, before the days of the computer, would spend their time talking with neighbors from across the bakod (the fence)).
This brings me to what I am doing on the web. I am spending more hours on the web now than I did years ago. With Res Biblica and Otium Sanctum and other sites needing regular updates and maintenance, I am logged onto the web more often now. Writing articles is easy. One prepares them offline and then posts them while online. Maintenance job is more difficult. The other day I found out that spammers have been doing their thing at Mga Ulat Pinoy, sending it trackbacks that make it look as if my blogs were associated with illegal pills and pornography. (What does Awit 132 have in common with viagra and erectile dysfunctions, you tell me?) So I had to install a plugin into the site to make it more difficult for spammers to spam and easier for me to delete the posts they make. And then the work goes beyond that. Right now I am monitoring this website for member registrations. Once new members register, I send them emails telling them what to do next. This kind of work can be enjoyable at times and really annoying at others. Glitches In Time always gets spammed and so I have to delete the posts spammers make by directly cleaning the MySQL database associated with the site. But once in a while someone sends me an email to comment on a post I’ve made or refer me to a reference material he/she has recently published or even offer me help on something I expressed my need for. Then that truly makes my day.
When I look back at what I knew about computers and desktop publishing in 1992 (my thesis on Hosea 11:1-7 was typed through WordPerfect then still a DOS application), I realize how much competency I’ve developed through the years. Back then, it was already an accomplishment just to format one’s WordPerfect document well using a combination of keystrokes from memory. These days, the question is “is your document portable?” Man, if you can understand that question, we breath the same air.
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