Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Age of the Internet

Computers arrived long before the internet.

In the mid-late 1990's computers were beginning to appear as playthings in households. A household having one was at this time something to remark upon, but not overly so.

By 1999-2000 it was possible to connect to the internet. However it was a plaything only. Very little could be done on the "internet" besides chatrooms, some personal emailing & reading bit of basic (american) news & suchforth.

The cost of each time you connected, all at the highest trunk call long-distance telephone charge, on a 14k connection, meant the internet was something one didn't connect to more than a couple of times each week.

Mine Host first used email (& thus the interet) for business purposes in 2004. In that year he sent 4 work emails. These were all to the accountant, & were sent purely for the novelty value. It would have been easier & cheaper to either phone or send a fax. It took upwards of 10 minutes to get to the point where an email could be sent. When surfing it could take several minutes load a webpage. Websites that were more than one page just weren't worth bothering with, as the time & money it took to navigate that website would far exceed any benefit.

Any email that had an attachement (containing graphics) would take between 20 & 45 minutes to send/receive. At long distance (trunk call) rates this was too expensive, and presented quite a problem if someone sent you one, as there was no choice but to receive it, if you cut the connection, you'd only have to recieve the attachment at another time.

Even the word "Draft" superimposed diagonally accross each page of a document would be a graphics file of sufficient size to choke the transmission.

Before the internet could become a work tool it had to first become both cheaper & faster than a telephone call.

That did not come to pass until 2005. In that year Mine Host sent several emails, but still they mostly were all to/from only his accountants & solicitors, however they were no longer for novelty value, but were fair dinkum business communications. (This is also the year Mine Host commenced blogging.)

In 2007 the question one asked (or was asked) changed from "Do you have an email address?" to "What is your email address?".

This was the moment when the internet had become a part of business life.

Shortly after this it became law that pubs must have an email address. Many pubs have forgotten this, and probably are unaware of which email address is registered to their name with the state government. Not that it matters, as the state govt has never yet used this email address database to send us all an email!

Also at about this time the major supplier of wine & spirits created an online order form, which a couple of years later was upgraded to fully integrated real-time online ordering. However, to this day the same supplier does not use email for communication with us. It is to this day all done with telephone calls to/from their travelling rep, or to their head office.

All government forms are now downloadable from the internet (we use plenty in the pub trade, I can rattle off the code number of more government forms than I care to mention).

Also we use the internet heavily for research. Now that most things are to be found on the internet that is.

However, for those who accuse Mine Host of being "behind" in his use of the internet, it must be pointed out that what happens in, & is provided to, the major metropolitan areas is not necessarily available in most of this great nation.

And, as a parting stinger to those who say I must use the net "more" for business, it must be pointed out that neither of the two major breweries are enabled for internet interaction with customers. We have to order by hand written order form, faxed in to them, or else place a verbal order over the telephone.

None of the minor suppliers have online ordering. All foodstuffs, cleaning & packaging products, & minor items are ordered by phone or fax.

To clarify: Of the more than One Hundred suppliers with whom Mine Host deals regularly, only One has online ordering facilities, and None use email to communicate with customers.

How can one possibly use the internet more for business, if those with whom one does business will not use it? (Many of them multi-national corporations - one being the world's largest liquor company).


Boy on a bike said...

I see that "No place for sheep" got a mention in the SMH today.

davis,br said...

Just curious, but how far out in the country are you?

...pretty much because if you were to subtract about 10-15 years from your Internet debut dates, it's about what I recall from life in a small seaport community in Northern California.

One reason I ended up moving to Sacramento (the state capital) in 1998, was so I could have a full on ISDN connection. And about then - maybe a tad later - is when I recall it becoming a "What is your email address?" kind of thing.

By 99 or maybe 2000 though, there was cable broadband appearing everywhere, and it was assumed you had an email address.

And actually, one reason I recently chose to move to Washington state, was because there's ongoing effort [here] to provide fiber to residential customer's in most cities and towns.

...just curious.

RebeccaH said...

Your time is coming, Australia. Here in the US, internet usage spread faster than it apparently did there (which is understandable, since it did begin mostly with us Yanks). In a few years' time, nobody there will be able to operate without an email address or website.

Steve at the Pub said...

I've heard a bit about it BOAB. NPFS is conducting a legal-defence-by-blogpost. For mine, I've never found rationalising to sympathetic listeners ("this lawsuit against me sux for the following 10 reasons") to be a forum that matters one whit in a courtroom.

Davis, Br: Sacremento? The very first foreigners I met came from there. I was barely of school age, & a nice old couple from there were visiting my grandparents. I was thrilled to meet real live people from overseas!
How far in the country am I? Not in the country. I am in a town, quite a large one at that, as I can pass people on the street & not have the faintest idea who they are.