Multiple updates today: I’m finally done moving house, and by now most of the brown boxes are either far out of sight or hidden beneath the bed. What I haven’t yet been able to stash away, however, is my focus on all things domestic after weeks of dominating my personal landscape during the past few months. So it’s very likely that a few of the upcoming stories published here will have a home-related theme, probably until I completely settle down and grow accustomed to the semi-new surroundings. Fortunately with internet access up and running, the rolling out of posts resumes as normal. I feel a bit silly for saying this, but in the couple of days that I was’t connected, I discovered I was more severely net-dependent than previously imagined. But it wasn’t because of not being able to check e-mail in real-time, nor was it so much as having a slower alternative should there be a need to log on and check up. It was the mere fact that my browsing experience – all of the add-ons, customized interface, bookmarks with correlating images long-saved and waiting for modification prior to publishing – had suddenly shifted to alien terrain.
It’s very much similar to the circumstantially-altering experience of physically moving house. Is this, I wonder, how it would be should I happen to find myself in a future situation in which work comes to a temporary though unavoidable off-line halt? Yet it’s happened before, in fact, and I never felt this impact as a result. Slightly worrying character development, I must admit, as what’s most striking now is the fact that even using available temporary alternatives fails to trump a sense of withdrawal that implies my tech-cloud dependency goes deeper than anyone would deem reasonable. But as with most things, it rests on the notion of comfort in familiarity and not wanting to put in the additional effort to acclimatize and treat something else as one’s temporary ‘own’…though maybe that’s just me. I’ll have to explore this net-addiction phenomenon a bit more and report back…
In the meantime, how personal is your homepage? The Crayola-assortment of various home-sites providing the option for personalization through countless widgets and skins is very telling. In the technological age during which the letter ‘i’ has come to signify much more than just a personal pronoun, it is now more important than ever for browsers (people) to use browsers (the web) at any time, in any place, and on any device to access their collection of necessary, routine, and entirely unique i-nformation with the ease that a single screen can provide. I never did quite see the point in multiple news-bytes and feeds when it was still about MSN, AOL and Yahoo!. To this day, I greatly despise interfaces such as Netvibes‘, with tasteless design that pales in comparison to newer, much more appealing and functional options out there (my apologies to readers who’ve recently accessed my feed via Netvibes – it’s nothing personal).
Then what do I use, might you ask? I confess I am one of the many who have resigned to Google’s wield and use iGoogle as my main port of call whilst browsing. It simply could not be helped as a Gmail user: it’s clean, it’s functional, and most importantly, you can design your own themes with precision (as opposed to fedtechnologies). So having officially launched my company Springbox Design as a single registered proprietorship a few months ago following predominant operation as freelance, I’m releasing several Springbox themes on iGoogle to explore and take that personalization even one step further. If you, too, have an iGoogle home, feel free to check out and use any of the five available new themes — the first of which is up as a trial version via the link below. I shall update that link after further editing and modification in the developers’ Sandbox, as well as the rest when public links are posted.
Sarah Badr © MMVIII