Sometimes having the Internet in your pocket is convenient other times it is extremely useful. This story is an example of the latter. Some context first, I grew up in Silicon Valley, one of the more well known tech hubs in our country. I also grew up completely immersed in technology because my father, Tim Bajarin, was one of the first PC industry analysts on the scene. I've had a PC of some kind in my life as far back as I remember, which is what makes this story all the more interesting.
I'm about as obsessed with technology and gadgets as possible. I started my career in the technology industry jumping right into the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley and had start up fever. However several years ago my wife and I decided we wanted to raise our kids not in a city / fast pace environment but out in the country where the pace was slower and we could have some land. So we moved just outside of San Jose to a farming town near the garlic capital of the world.
We also decided it would be fun to take up hobby farming and use some of our land to have chickens, goats and a big garden where could grow a lot of our own food, organically of course. Considering I grew up immersed in technology not farming I had some studying to do for best practices, tips and tricks etc. So naturally I turned to technology and most importantly the Internet. Now to the point of the story.
Last year I wrote on my personal blog about how having the Internet in my pocket helped me detect early signs of labor in one of my goats. While on the scene I was able to use my phone's browser to access a wealth of information useful to me as I assisted (if you can call it that) one of my goats deliver her babies. I was able to get information on what possible warning signs to look for as well as positive signs that healthy baby goats should exhibit. Luckily for me everything went smoothly.
This year was different however because this time around things didn't go so smoothly, this time she gave birth to triplets. Triplets in goats aren't rare but are relatively uncommon (like twins in humans) and even more so our breed. At four in the morning several days ago I heard some babies crying in the goat pen and knew delivery was happening. As I assessed the scene all three babies had been born but two weren't looking so good. So I quickly accessed the Internet on my phone and immediately starting searching for what to do about the symptoms I was seeing.
It turned out there was a wealth of information on "weak kid syndrome" which is what I was seeing. I read a long list of detailed instructions on what to do in order to give your baby goats the best shot at living. One of them was severely dehydrated, suffering from low body temperature and on the verge of death and the other needed assistance getting its first few doses of food because it was to weak to eat on its own. Current status is all babies are doing great thanks in large part to the information I found on the web.
Had I not had this valuable resource of the Internet, a city boy like me would have had to tell his daughters some fairly bad news about their beloved goats. Had I not had the Internet in my pocket I wouldn't have been able to act as quickly to take preventative measures to help the babies survival.
My point here is that there is no "app for that." That's not to say one couldn't be developed but given my situation I needed the depth and breadth of the full internet. This I feel is why the Internet needs to stay open and not closed as far as the debate goes.
Apps are great and sometimes walled garden experiences with the web are great but sometimes only the full power and knowledge base of the World Wide Web will suffice.