Returning to a blog post forced upon most of my fellow school compatriots, in this course, I’d like to talk about Libraries. I am currently partaking in the DofE Bronze course, something that I will talk about at a later period, probably after I have completed it, due to my opinions on the true nature of it and perhaps how those comments might be taken in a way not beneficial to my completion of it, and as part of my volunteering, I am working at a homework club, after school. This is a rather simple task, where I sit there and help children with their homework, and attempting to impart my knowledge to them in an interesting way without them vomiting profusely. But this has brought something back to me; the fact that Libraries are darn useful. I can recall myself, sitting in a library and reading books about Physics and History at the ages of 6 and 7. But Libraries are now an endangered species. They are at risk of cuts by local councils, bottlenecked by old systems and ideals for running the libraries. But as the internet is becoming more and more powerful, libraries are being sidelined. The extra services they provide over the books, such as the homework clubs, or use of the computers are required for some people, and indeed help to flourish people and their skills. But I think that for now, libraries are to stay – for the sole reason the internet is not fully open. Libraries represent the diversity of knowledge and the freedom of that knowledge currently does not exist fully on the internet. It is possible that if several censorship laws are passed, knowledge previously garnered from the internet would have to be found in a library, a nostalgic experience for many. Thus, I think what has to happen is we use libraries as our backup, for the possible burning of the modern day Library of Alexandria; the hub of knowledge that is the internet. We require an equilibrium between the two. This may simply be the case however in countries with more wealth, but I think that in poorer countries struggling to make the jump, knowledge is what is needed, and the library can provide that. But libraries have to be supplemented by the great hive-mind of the Internet, to allow the extra services and knowledge that the library provides become a small amount compared to what the internet provides, but have enough force to show the governments that Libraries are here to stay.
I write this blogpost inspired by, and hoping to share awareness of Save Our Libraries day, occuring on the 5th of February. I thoroughly encourage you to spend some time in your library that day, and perhaps help out with spreading this post, and Save our Libraries day.
On 2 interesting library related notes, firstly, has anyone seen my hardback copy of Snuff, by Terry Pratchett. And secondly, the library I volunteer at, well I owe them about £1350 in late fees for a book I “borrowed” when I was 5. It was about trains. Yeah…
As the factories of Foxconn manufacture the technology of today, some of it isn’t travelling very far – simply over the border, to Hong Kong. At one of many bus stops (where people wait in immaculate order), the majority of people will be reading the news that day. Say there are 20 people waiting – probably 15 of them are reading the news on their phones, 2 or 3 will be reading the newspaper, and the others simply waiting. Technology is big in Hong Kong. And it isn’t just private use – there is public use of technology. The MTR system (the equivalent to the tube in London) has, at the colour coded stations (THEY HAVE THEIR OWN COLOUR), iPads (which cannot be hacked) show information using a custom firmware, displaying information about status of the MTR and a map, and a system to determine the fastest route! This is quite frankly amazing, and in some cases surreal. On the trains themselves there are ads for the MTR app – for Android. It is indeed a multicultural country in the sense of technology – a plethora of devices flock the area, from the old orphaned Android tablets to the mollycoddled iPhones.
On the financial side, there is a system that goes beyond the call of duty. It is called “Octopus”. It is a card, much like the oyster card, that can be used for public transport, but the great addition is that you can buy things with it, in a shop. So very simple, but so useful – no longer do you have to get your wallet out, choose the right amount of money, but you can simply tap your wallet on the reader, and pay for your items. This speeds up the entire process of buying and selling, increasing numbers for revenue.
Another stark difference between London and Hong Kong; wi-fi. In the stations, even at the deepest levels, waiting at the platforms, there is Wi-Fi. What’s more, it is fast AND free (8MBps). And whilst walking about, every single telephone box has a wifi network connected to the telecommunications system, and that too, is free. Connectivity and information sharing is at the very heart of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong is probably where the “Internet of Things” can be seen the best currently. Unfortunately, they STILL haven’t got Apple TVs. I’d like to apologise for the lack of pictures in this post – I had some but I was a stupid and went and wiped my iPod without taking them off. So just take my word for it.
My god this post was reedited time and time again,
A short blog post on a variety of things here. Starting off, Thank you. This has been quite amazing, and I hope that the new viewers will stick with me. I am doing a follow up post, and I am currently on holiday in Hong Kong, where I went on the iPads, which I am pleased to say can also be bypassed in the same way. Sadly there were no Apple TVs in this Apple Store, so I instead did a bit of digging which deserves its own post. I’ll also be reviewing/comparing the two Sherlock things that have been going on recently (Sherlock 2, Sherlock Series 2 (BBC)). There will also be a post about Hong Kong, and technology in it; it is amazing. If any of my viewers come from or have been to Hong Kong, do comment on this post if you have something to add. I’ll try and make a start on the Hong Kong post, and I may do another very long post about the iPad bypass and the firmware on it, after I make a visit to an Apple Store in the UK with a friend (I don’t think I’ll go for Westfield Apple Store though…).
Expect more, and a belated Happy 2012. I look forward to another year of tech lulz and random stuff.