Is this the golden age of internet?

This being Olderhood, the temptation is to dismiss everything new and everyone young, to state that things ain’t what they used to be.

Certainly, much of what passes for modern is little more than a con. People’s need to yak on their mobile/cell phones while blocking the sidewalk, for example. The European Union, for example. Most modern films, for example.

But you can obtain this sort of commentary from anyone in your family over the age of 50. You come to Olderhood for original insight, tips on retirement living, and the chance to see Bill Storie in a swimsuit.

So, instead of telling you how awful everything is, I’ll try to accentuate the positive. Take, for instance, the Internet. It’s a wonderful thing, and most remarkably of all, it has defied most efforts to censor it. I refer here not to China, Cuba or other countries who routinely block access. I refer to Obama, Cameron and their ilk, leaders of supposedly open societies who have tried, and failed, to limit what people can see online.

These are the golden days of surfing. Before too long, the companies that provide content will realise that the only entities getting rich from the online revolution are the ISPs and the telephone companies. (And Apple, who have made a fortune out of people’s desire to be seen to be chic.)

Prepare for the portal: the tollgate on the electronic highway through which we will all one day have to pass, at ever-increasingly high cost. Want to watch every episode of an old TV series on YouTube? Free now; won’t be for long. Keen to catch coverage of breaking events, without inane TV commentary? Free now; won’t be for long. Want to compare the cost of sofas or car insurance? Free now; won’t be for long.

Your grandchildren will laugh when you tell them that you were able to watch pornography all day every day without paying an extra cent for it (which I’m told is possible). Of course, they’ll laugh whenever you tell them anything, which is how it works with grandchildren.

But make the most of the Web while you can. The AOL pay-for-access model, so roundly rejected when it first appeared, will one day be the only way to reach the Internet. We’ll pay for everything we see, before we see it, and no refunds when it turns out to be garbage.

When that happens you will with accuracy be able to tell people how great the old days were. Until then, shaddap.

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