Grey Nomads and The Digital Divide

digital ageWhen we set out on The Lap eighteen months ago we thought we were doing very well. I had actually convinced The Man that a smart phone was the way to go… so now we’re duly armed with one each. This is progress. The Man hates mobile phones and while they are invaluable when trying to find him in a shopping centre, this was the only use he could think of for those pesky mobile phones.

The Digital Divide between The Man and I has long been a wide crevasse, not that I am a wiz at these things. I admit to hoping the Grandies will program the DVD player or all other things digital where as once before it was my province. Since my retirement some time ago I have moved from the coalface to well into mid-field and I find now I would even like to just slip off the edge quite happily. Now-a-days I am hard-up programing a clock… a sad state of affairs where as once I would have considered myself proactive. Retirement certainly has this effect on you as your grey matter tends to go even more grey and an indifferent complacency sets in.

I also armed The Man with an Ipad and while this, after 18 months, is still in the “L” stage of things he has at least come to depend on the GPS’s regardless of the maps he keeps at hand …link yes … that is plural. One for him (which was once mine and which he nicked), the Hema which is a class of its own and my own trusty mini Ipad which was a much appreciated gift from our only daughter The Princess, who knows well my propensity to now get easily get lost. This little sweetie now has its own cradle in the car and is loaded with the much used and loved Wikicamps Ap.

This was what we set out with to travel full time, taking advantage of freecamps across Aus’, in all confidence. Since then we have added an antenna and a mobile modem, giving up on dongles and the expectation that across Aus’ reception is usually broadly possible with any other telco carriers than the big T. We use personal Wifi broadly which hang off this nifty little modem and to which most of our Ipads, phones and computer connect too using all things Wifi. We also have become au fait with hotspotting and Macca’s café’ bars along with shopping centres which have joined the digital age of public Wifi. We have had some mishaps or rather misses in purchasing progress, mainly in that the first antenna we bought was a transmitting kind, rather than a receiving kind… ya live and learn.

However, now back at the Homesite we are in a fast learning curve once more, catching up in the Digital Divide. Albeit another version of the same.

My lovely regular readers will know all about my dislike to commercial TV offerings… or rather the commercial ad channels that are transmitted with the occasional program offerings. Aus’ has to be the worst in the world for our commercial hammerings on the telly, which are so prolific in our programing that the commercial stations are now mostly unwatchable. It was because of this that I gave up the telly… now using it mainly for DVD’s and other hard-drive media collections.

Most travellers we have met have a source of supply… ie their kids collect recorded offerings which are usually stored to a media drive and viewed as they travel. However this now has been somewhat constrained due to the recent copyright clampdown and this in itself is a sad thing.

As an author copyright certainly concerns me, however I admit to a liberal view. If you buy any of my books then I really don’t object to sharing it around. This is after all a humungus global market and while the returns are certainly modest in my case, I am just happy that you might simply enjoy the read. I know myself that if I enjoy an author or artist I will purchase their work. I will buy the DVD if I like the movie and revisit it often. Or I will purchase a CD of their songs and my huge DVD collection is testament to this as is my huge book collection. I think in this day and age that people have simply got “a lot” greedy in the artistic world of copyright, particularly in the US and particularly in what is now a global market, governed by a diversity of global law.

If a downloader or pirate, or even a book thief has a true propensity to nick something then they aren’t going to pay for it in the commercial domain… no matter what. Other than this it seems to me people have the right to decide if something is worth paying for. This neither makes downloading or pirating right nor wrong but what is wrong is when they profit from their activities and the work of others. To me… this is what is illegal. This is what should be stopped, not the poor sucker caught up in a data exchange records between industries who rely on the dissemination of data and media for their business. I hope the fates or karma will simply bite these trackers who persecute the “little people”. I really don’t feel that the world of commerce has any right to access and use to their own ends any form of private data collection… this to me is real piracy.

What is more, is that accessing someones data records and using them for gain is a form of piracy in itself. It is an act often used to harass and vilify the general public and an act that is undertaken purely to profit from, without any creative effort. If downloading or accessing data or media for free is criminal then what the hell are they doing insisting on free access to data to allow them to incriminate anyone?

Downloading or the receiving of “public domain” data should not be illegal, it is after all very like listening to music in a store as you shop… accessing something you have not purchased but which is used to entertain. This essentially is what movies are, they have placed themselves in the public domain to generate profit. What should be illegal is what you do with the data/movie/book and profiting from it personally without compensating the artist or creator is what should be morally criminal. Isn’t this what the mob in the US are now doing in their pursuit of profit in their threats to litigate the general public using a persons personal data?

In interesting movie Doco’ on Data collection and use can be found currently on SBS called Inside the Dark Web… quite worth watching. (Expires on the 1st June, 2015)

Anyway… back to the Digital Divide. I have discovered something that has turned out to be a lot of fun and this is connected to Wifi and all things Internet. When we were purely Homesite based I learnt the value of connecting the computer to the telly. After all… Youtube is fun and on the bigger screen it is even more fun. The Man has even learnt the value of ‘how to’ clips. He now loves, and often relies heavily on Youtube!

What I have discovered though is ‘on-demand’ TV programing. This is those programs, movies and doco’s, which are offered by the TV entities for free viewing once they have run the program to air. I have discovered that I don’t have to flick through the channels endlessly looking for something worth watching, this usually between Aunties offerings. I can now go on-line, choose what I want to watch and access these programs for free, when convenient to me and at my own leisure. I have discovered even Aunty is getting smart.

Out there… in telly-land there are of course your private operators such as Netflix. The Baby Boy connected to this and very much enjoys (and pays for) the offerings. However in Wifi world my little puter, when at home on the Homesite, links up to the internet and we now enjoy the program offerings from stations like SBS, SBS 2, NITV , ABC iview and so on, all free to air over the internet. These deliveries are not commercial free, but I have never minded a small commercial offering though the current lack of diversity is annoying. Aunty runs these commercials but they are only grouped in two’s and threes, are of around 30 seconds in duration usually, and come two or three times in any 45-60 min of programming.

I have found that 7’s offerings, Tenplay and 9’s on-demand programming over the internet  are unwatchable still due to their high volume of ads. The number of shows which are now shot in the dark seem also to be increasing which doesn’t bode well for LCD and LED format. The commercial channels have not learnt much when it comes to why people are switching off in droves and I expect that as this field of media expands they will undoubtedly be left behind with other media dinosaurs of our time. I have yet to explore the international offerings on ‘on-demand’ Internet programing but I certainly am going to get there as soon as I work it out.

Yes… Aus’ has moved on while we have been out on the wallaby and now arriving back to the Homesite for a visit we are finding that it is also an adventure in itself to simply catch up.

Happy travels

To find out more about Jan’s books, check out the page on “The Dreaming” for tales about the Shaman of Aboriginal Lore, or visit “Around the Campfire” for reads on travelling around Australia.

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