On Spending Too Much Time on the Internet


This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners...
This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world’s first Web server. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I retired I’ve spent more time on the Internet, mostly I’ve explored new blogs, that is, blogs I had never had time to read and enjoy while working.  It’s been most enjoyable — there are some really good writers out there whom I always find interesting.  But I think I’m spending too much time surfing the web.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I’ve been spending too much time on electronic media, not only the internet.  In the popular jargon of the day, I want to stand down.

First, obviously, I’m going to limit, and carefully schedule, the time I spend surfing the web to twice, maybe three times a day.  Another thing I need to do, and this wasn’t so obvious to me at first, is put the Kindle away.  Over the last year I’ve read books almost exclusively on my trusty Kindle.  There are many reasons: it’s compact, I can carry a whole library around with me, it’s very light and easy to hold, and I don’t need to worry too much about lighting conditions to read something.  However, it’s electronic, and I sense that this innocuous little device may be contributing to my electronic media addiction, so into the drawer it goes.  For the next month or so, I’ll read only print media.

Finally, if I find articles or documents on the web that I want to read, I’ll print them out.  As a side note, the first articles I printed under the new regime was a series being done by Professor Anthony Esolen on the Crisis Magazine web site.  The series is on Catholic social teaching as defined by Pope Leo XIII and it’s excellent and I highly recommend it.  Find the latest effort here.  It’s led me to actually want to read Pope Leo’s encyclicals and apostolic letters to go into more detail.  I might add that I’ve seen a great many things of interest on the new, revitalized Crisis Magazine website and I highly recommend it also, not just Professor Esolen’s articles.

One more thing, I need to offer a MOOC update.  I think the class itself was very interesting, absorbing as a matter of fact.  The problem I ran into with this was trying to navigate through the software itself.  I completed answers to the first quiz and tried to post them, to no avail, they would not save.  I tried posting a note in the discussion section asking for help, it wouldn’t save.  Also, there was no help documentation anywhere that I could find that explained how to do these simple things; none was to be found.

Conclusion?  First, I probably joined the class too late; I’m guessing that the input areas for the first 4 or 5 quizzes are closed.  Second, for Edx at least, there is a great need for better and more obvious documentation and instruction on how to actually operate the course software, which seems to be totally lacking or very well hidden.  There is a course that looks interesting on the Coursera site that starts in October, so I may try that one, getting in on it from the beginning, and see how that works.

One question that you’re probably asking is how am I posting here?  I use an iPad to draft my posts and copy the drafts into Microsoft Word, but I’ll do that off line and only use scheduled internet times to actually enter the posts here; I hope that’ll be the one exception to my general fast from things electronic.

If anyone who stumbles on this post has suffered this same problem and has some good ideas for combating it, I’d love to hear from you.

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