Scratching the Surface of the Digital Age

It’s here. I’ve been waiting for as long as I can remember for the moment where my life becomes completely digitized. It’s a switch on an unprecedented scale where the advantages of leading a digital life blow away that of any analogue system. It’s also a switch that certainly doesn’t come overnight, and it’s a switch that must fit with your personal lifestyle.

When I was at school, teachers demanded a paper-based system whereby you handed in sheets of paper, exercise books filled with homework, and completed final exams on paper. Everything I seemed to do involved paper, yet by the time I’d reached my final year of A-Levels, aged 18, I’d concluded that paper-based systems had been completely holding me back. Without a digital device, it’s incredibly hard to look up a spelling, perform a calculation, find the definition of a word, record and playback a lecture, create beautiful documents and presentations, find information, get help with a problem. Without a digital aspect to learning and studying, you’re completely and utterly limited.

And it doesn’t stop with studying. Without digital, it’s incredibly hard to find anything or stay organized. Without a computer, there’s nowhere to type “live for” that will search every single message you’ve ever sent, the content of every document you’ve ever written, and (in this particular case) every single track you have. Finding the sheet music or the guitar tab for “Live Forever” by Oasis has never been as easy and instantaneous for musicians as it is now in this digital age. Finding all the photos you’ve ever taken at a particular location (such as an ex-home or at a holiday location), or all the photos of a particular person has been completely impossible without this digital age. Still, this just scratches the surface.

I own less than five books. I don’t own CDs, nor DVDs. All of my content is now in some format purchased through one of the main digital distributors, and all of this content is now available to me wherever I am, and on whatever computer I choose to use. Not only is this so much more convenient, but this solves both the physical storage problems and the organisational problems. By using a computer, the same content is now immediately accessible, and in many ways the experience of that content has been completely enhanced from higher quality to greater playback controls to the flexibility of when I choose to watch a particular “TV” show.

The internet has become the final piece in this seamless digital integration. Now I can create an event in my calendar on a tablet, and be reminded about that event on my phone while I’m at a bar. I can save changes to a document on my phone, and those same changes will occur automatically on my desktop. The two versions of the document are kept completely synchronised. With automatic backups occurring every single hour of every single day, I’m no longer afraid of loosing anything; cherished photographs, contact details, painstaking work, detailed notes, and personal preferences, to name just a few types of priceless data.

I can now communicate with every single person that I know while I’m at home, at an office, on a train, a boat, a taxi, or walking on a footpath. Email, instant messaging, audio and video calls, and social networking are now all completely available to me whether I take my phone out of my pocket, pick up the tablet from my bed, take the laptop from of my bag, or use the desktop on my desk.

Because every device (ranging from phones to desktops) is now a true computer with incredibly powerful processing capabilities, user interfaces which are far easier to use,  and communications that are using increasingly fast internet connectivity, it’s possible to utilise technology in a way that has never been possible throughout the history of the human race.

But these tremendous advantages don’t come for free. I’ve found that knowing how to use different types of computers, as well as knowing a little about how they work is completely paramount to being able to take advantage of their benefits! The more that you know, the more you can use computers of all different shapes and sizes to your advantage. What’s more, only knowing how to use a single type of computer is not being able to see the full picture. Sadly, I left school having had an education in computers that comprised of the Microsoft Office suite and Windows. Thankfully, I was able to find my way into a wide variety of operating systems, radically different software and applications, and a range of devices, such that I was able to find what I felt was the best for my life. This digital world is colossal, it’s able to touch every single aspect of life, and it’s expanding at an ever-increasing rate. If you don’t think computers can help you, then you’re not looking in the right place.

I believe that the ability to be digital will blow away any non-digital competition.

Finally, check out this video for an incredible interpretation of what a “computer” really is.