I know NOTHING about computers. Yep, that’s right, despite 12 years in the industry, I know NOTHING. I thought I used to know something, but apparently, I don’t. Before you start writing to me asking if I’ve started suffering amnesia or wanting to know if my 12 years experience were equally shared between the ZX81, Vic 20 and Dragon 32, the answer is no, and no. And it’s certainly not because the technology has left me behind.
The simple reason is this. This August, an occasional friend of mine is getting married to his long-term girlfriend. This friend of mine “works with computers” in the same way that a postman “works for the government”. He’s an IT recruitment consultant. This enables him to have the most dangerous knowledge there is – a little knowledge. He’s heard of the World Wide Web and everything that’s “in it”. He’s no stranger to words such as Java, ActiveX, CGI, scripting, Flash, querying, active server pages and so on. I mean he really does – he knows which ones are nouns and which ones are verbs, and that’s everything as far as he’s concerned.
I thought I’d heard of the Web and what was “in it”. But it turns out it’s as much as I like driving my car, and I know there’s oil “in it”. For his impending wedding, this friend (lets just call him Keith – after all, his mum does), approached me saying he’d want a Website for it. I was slightly bemused. I’d put together websites before, albeit simple ones, but these were for companies, and products. What would he want a website for? I had mental images of him sat round the kitchen table with his wife-to-be writing out their infallible list of everything that had to be perfect, and nestling somewhere under stationery and above choirboys was “Website”.
What did he want? Did he want wedding photos? Invites? Maybe an interactive present list? I started thinking of actual good uses for the site. A map to the church? Details of nearby accommodation? Did he want to go the whole hog – a domain name? www.keithswedding.com? Which I believe is still available.
He stared blankly at me. Good God no – what he wanted was Java. And Flash. He wanted secure elements. Some scripting. Browser detection. “Why?” I responded. “What do you want in the site? I can do it for you in HTML.” A dark cloud passed over his face – I felt like I’d insulted his mother. He didn’t want HTML, oh no, he wanted a good site, and apparently, you couldn’t do those without the best technology. Oh dear, he didn’t have a clue, and I’d just admitted to being able to ride a bike – but only with stabilisers.
I’m not sure the site will actually happen now, as Keith has not asked me to do anything for it. Guess if I’d have feigned ignorance and just told him “I know how to make a website” it would have been a great wedding present. It could have been something old, or something new. Something borrowed (with graphics from other sites), or something blue (with graphics from adult sites).