I had firmly believed that I was long past the point where I could be surprised by the unintelligible world of computer technology, but wonders truly never cease. Earlier this evening, a few people passed comment on my previous post and what they had to say was accompanied by photos of themselves; as any comments I post are accompanied by some bizarre abstract image that bears no resemblance to my facial features, even after a few beers and another sleepless night on the sofa looking after my dog, I thought I’d put up a photo of myself instead of the default whatever-it-is that’s currently there. It seemed the polite thing to do, when having an exchange.
I must have suffered a momentary lapse of reason, in so much as entertaining the notion that this would be a remotely feasible endeavour for me, given all that’s gone before. I clicked on my icon or whatever it’s called to be presented with the Gravatar page, but I didn’t understand any of the options on offer, nor could I see one that seemed to fit the nature of my enquiry.
So, I opted for what seemed most relevant and clicked on this page purportedly dealing with Image Requests – my jaw dropped when I read the first two very short sentences, which were: “Gravatar images may be requested just like a normal image, using an IMG tag. To get an image specific to a user, you must first calculate their email hash.” What on Earth is an IMG tag? And how in the name of all that’s holy do I even begin to calculate an image-specific email hash? What in the name of sanity is an email hash, for that matter?
All this was bad enough and more than ample to completely dissuade me from the vague, pleasing notion of posting a photo of myself online, but my mind reeled when I came across this particular gem a bit further down the page:
If you’d prefer to use your own default image (perhaps your logo, a funny face, whatever), then you can easily do so by supplying the URL to an image in the d= or default= parameter. The URL should be URL-encoded to ensure that it carries across correctly, for example:
To URL-encode a string in PHP, you can use something like this:
echo urlencode( ‘http://example.com/images/avatar.jpg’ );
Seriously, I have absolutely no fucking idea what any of this means and I could make more meaningful sense in a much shorter space of time of a rongo-rongo tablet. Computer English has now descended to the point where around 95% of what’s written is completely incomprehensible to me and let’s face it, matters can only go further downhill from here.
But it really doesn’t matter, because I’m at peace with it all. A few months ago, I came to the belated realisation that computers and I are on divergent paths of evolution, although it’s perhaps more accurate to say that I am becoming estranged from computers and those conversant with their workings and language.
There’s nothing whatsoever I can do about this, so I’ll just keep broadcasting for as long as I can and for as long as the inclination takes me, before each group fades from the view and hearing of the other, and we each disappear into “An Undiscovered Country”.
Ships in the night. Peace.
“They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.”
Nathaniel Lee, 1653 – 1692