A tribute to IT-College Denmark (Part I)

As I read The New York Times article from a few days ago – Serendipity, Lost in the Digital Deluge, I come to think of the rather long last day at IT-College Denmark, how I’ll miss that place, and how it has raised me. Indeed the changes that this place had brought about to my life are far greater than this blog-post, and nonetheless they deserve at least an outline for the future generations.

Going Digital

The article mentioned above which has to do with the loss of serendipity in the in the digital age, which is very reminiscent of the day that I moved away from ITC, which when I decided to throw my old CD’s and DVD’s out, all of them. Those old things had been dusting in my room for nearly all the 3 years that I’ve spent at that place.

By the end I had grown so much accustomed to simply burning a new CD each time I had to format my computer(roughly once a month) that I didn’t even bother trying to find the old CD of that good old Client or Server OS, which was probably even outdated. Of course, if even the software, which my life so restlessly circles around, lays around dusting, you can only imagine what had happened to the music, movies and especially the games.

As I sat around there I thought of the fact that these, now seemingly analog things, described who I was, and nonetheless I couldn’t recall the last time ANYONE had ever even frowned upon them when they entered my room. The reason was that most of those things were in Russian, and meant little to the usual Dane anyway. That pushed me to the actual step of throwing all of them out. As I did that, I thought of what was to come next, how was I to display my personality in my living area? Certainly not through these analog, and now rather expensive media?

Sure enough social networks have replaced much of the need for such a thing, but still I’d feel rather empty if not I had anything personal to present in my room. Well, nonetheless, the future will show how those things turn out, for now I decided to dump all of that forgotten past into the trash.

The Games

Oh, games are the worst by the way. The year before ITC I was in a Counter-Strike team and couldn’t live without a lap-top that couldn’t run the newest GTA or NFS, however ITC changed all of that in an instant. The only game I had ever played at ITC was Portal(for its ingenuity) and solitaire. There were a few others, but I guess you catch my drift, my life moved way beyond gaming, and I have no real idea for what reason.

The Movies

The movies were most in Russian and of absolute no use to me past the first half of my first year. It was than that I learned how to keep a digital video archive, as well as get movies and series through digital means, legally of course 🙂 In my time being at ITC I hadn’t bought a single movie, or even watched any of the ones I had except for a very distinct few.

The Music

Well, the music was starting to go digital when I started at ITC, as my mobile phone became my MP3 player, but what had really changed that part of my life was lala.com. Paradoxically I learned of the service only in early October 2008, which I had spent in the states. lala.com is a service where you can upload your music(it doesn’t upload the titles it already has, merely creates a link to it), and then you can listen to it from anywhere with a decent internet connection. While that last criteria might’ve not always been there for me during my stay in the stay in the states, I fell in love with the service, or perhaps simply with the idea during the mere 3-4 weeks of using it.

Unfortunately as I got back to Europe I had figured out that the service was U.S. only, and of course that broke my heart. After that I went on to using Last.fm and Awdio.com for my music, but I never ever got back to the CD’s. As a result, I didn’t listen to music on the go either, only when seated behind a computer. This gave me a chance to pure my mind and get a few fresh thoughts instead of wasting my brainpower on music on the go. This lead to another change, a change within my way of thinking, which I will talk about later.

And so I sit here, in poor Denmark waiting for something decent to come around, ever since Last.fm has become something that we have to pay for. Spotify, Lala, Last.fm, anything free, please come to Denmark, I miss a decent Music service.

Unlike many people I can’t live with a big music collection either. When I get music it is usually rather unordered and poorly chosen. But amidst that minor chaos I always manage to find what I want to listen to, but am forced to shift my music collection every now and again, because I get bored of the 8-10 artists I regularly have on my iPhone. It’s odd how I can’t live with a 32-gig iPhone, I do not need all that space, since I never listen to it, I have my periods in tastes of music, and I merely need a few gigs that I can shift every month 🙂

The Data

Another real big change, like the music, or perhaps even grander, is the way I handle data nowadays. In the old days I’d write notes on pieces of paper and compile them into huge binders and put them into boxes and lock them far-away in the basement. However, times have changed and so has my way of keeping data. At some brief point it was on CD’s and HD’s, but nowadays it on a few servers somewhere in The States, India, Russia, or really, God knows where. All that thanks to another amazing service I had discovered while in the U.S. – Syncplicity.

The way I found it was rather interesting. Whilst in the U.S. I had decided to buy my first netbook – the sort of machine that would sooner become the only computing I’d even bother having in my room. So I was looking for a simple means to sync my old lap-top and the netbook. When I started at ITC I already had 3 machines, and so I was familiar with tools like SyncToy, and of course, their lack of functionality.

I quickly fell over the service Syncplicity, which had all that I wanted, and offered just a little bit more. It can sync data between several machines by using the mysterious cloud. Thus, I could sync data from several machines AND be able access it from any 3rd party I wanted, i.e. from any browser with flash installed. This was perfect – it was both a sync, backup and cloud service all rolled up into one simple service. The service became popular not only on my machine, but throughout ITC, and today I’m proud to have it run in the background on my netbook, securing me every minute from any sort of a hardware failure 🙂

The Machines

As I already mentioned, I started ITC with 3 machines. One Zepto notebook, one very old rusty server, and the IBM giant I had gotten from my school. Within the first 6 months I drove my Zepto to the grave, and barely ran Windows 2003 on that rusty old machine, which nonetheless hosted my company-website at some distant period in this recent history. As I gave up using that machine, and went on to more virtual services, all I had left was my Big FAT Ugly IBM notebook which had to hunch my back to carry those 700 meters to school every morning for the next 1,5 years.

Once it came around to the trip to the U.S. the so-called netbooks began apearing in the U.S., and God only new when they would arrive in DK, so I together with some friends decided to buy them whilst there. Never had I made such a clever choice, I fell in love with the machine right away – it was everything I ever wanted in my past lap-tops, it was small, light and it had battery, small, but you could survive on it. I even used Visual Studio, Photoshop and 3D Max on it, and you know what? I loved it, I didn’t need a bigger screen, it had all that I wanted – except that it wasn’t a tablet. For the next 4 months or so I would use that machine every day, and my IBM would, thank God, lay around and dust in some far corner of my room.

Unfortunately as I was around another round of formatting my machine, the netbook broke, having the lousy hardware that it does, which is when I had to pick up my IBM and live with it for the next 6 months, as I had no money for a new netbook(but did have money for parties, and an iPhone).

To be continued…

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