I can still be astonished by the internet's capacity for storing and sharing information; I've just found a film clip of my father commanding a parade, sometime between returning to Europe from Palestine and leaving again for Korea. Previously, all I'd seen was a 10" x 8" still photo, now clearly taken from a film frame. There's no sound, but it's still astonishing. And curious that it should be in the public realm and I just another anonymous viewer. But that's the net.
This new generation cannot imagine how we coped before the net, when searching for information was physical, often involving travel. I remember too clearly my hours spent in the PRO at Kew and in the Newspaper archive at Colindale, fighting for a desk at the BL or amongst the great unread book stacks kept at Imperial as part of the National Science collection, in the IWM's annex driving one of the huge old Steenbeck editing desks or with county archivists in run-down records centres and always, always, with voluminous paper 'finding aids' a single volume of which could weigh a stone. Those days weren't better - just slower, more frustrating and harder. Just so long as they don't throw away the original material, digitisation is fine with me.
I realise now it's been over a week - more like ten days - since I've had the TV on. I see that BBC bosses face theft and fraud charges after being caught fiddling their payoffs. As the Telegraph reminds us that 10% of criminal prosecutions are for not paying the TV tax, and the Mail reviews the £30 Chrome dongle. Surely it can't be long before even this wet and dim government realises that the licence fee is unsustainable? I'm not hopeful, though - even a wet and dim culture minister can introduce a new 'information levy' on ISP charges.