Was listening to a podcast of Web Talk Radio this morning, and they posed a curious question: how has the web affected your life?
First on the list is that I'm coding for the web these days. I did a tiny bit of fat-client work at my last job, but most of my work since late '99 has been using a web browser as a client platform, or has at least used HTTP as a protocol (i.e. web services). But that's missing the question, I think.
Second, I can get virtually any piece of information I want, especially thanks to Google (and its predecessors, like DejaNews). While that makes my work much easier (I can barely recall the time when to learn a thing, I needed to go buy a book, as that was the only way to get the info), it makes many aspects of life easier as well. Don't wait for the evening news (or even the 10-minute cycle on the Weather Channel), go online (to www.weather.com, even, or www.nws.noaa.gov, my current favorite). Or research books (or other commodities) on Amazon. Or sell things on eBay.
Third, I can connect to a group of people that is interested in just about any topic known to man. The web has really made connected people (and ideas) much more accessible, (which is a good thing).
But if I were honest, apart from that, it's still really nice and relaxing to disconnect from time to time. Stay offline for a few days. Granted, moving a few weeks ago was hectic, but there wasn't much problem to staying offline for 4 or 5 days. (Dealing with the pileup of email when I got back was an issue, of course).
So I will readily admit that the 'net (web, email, etc.) is pretty central to my life, and central to many things that I do, I still see it in much the same way as, say TV/radio or telephones, in that they're all tools, but tools that you can get too much of. And that the real stuff of life is still found either on the other side of, or completely apart from, the tools.