TRAVEL ON INTERNET
At last everything is ready: it is time for the first connection to Internet. The modem dials the telephone number and here comes the "house page"of my provider. (This is page with a welcome by the supplier of the access to Internet.) The graphics are very smart: there are various photographs and the choice of various languages for our conversation. I select Italian and start moving the mouse down the screen , which seems to be endless. In fact, every time I get down to the lower edge, the whole page goes up, the first lines disappear and new information appears at the bottom. There is quite a full range of subjects:
in addition to specialized areas such as advertisements and available services. Each of them offers quite a variety of choices. I start moving around with the mouse and I click on the photograph file. I am swamped by an infinity of images of every kind that slowly materialize on the screen. I am fascinated by the model, who is immediately superimposed by a vew of my adoptive town, Florence. My curiosity is aroused and looking through a magazine I find the address of the Florence university: "http://www.unifi.it"--the magic symbol that instantly connects me to the computers of that university. As by a happy spell, new information relating to the various subjects, both in writing and photographs, begins defiling down the screen. I am attracted by the Science Museum: the address is all a program named "Galileo.imss.firenze". I click and there appears the photograph of the first room in the museum, with the paintings and the doors to the following rooms. I am enrapt in the visit and stop every now and then to admire old scientific instruments that I had never seen in my physical seven-year stay in Florence. The power of Internet!!
Still pleasantly impressed, I decide to go to Bologna selecting the Cineca site (this is the name given to the computer centers that supply information on Internet), address http://www.nettuno.it. There appears the god of the sea with his trident. I notice a wording "Routes of Bologna town". My idea of having an information system at the service of the individuals wasn't so absurd, after all!
I see that many of the ideas that have been crossing my mind for years have now become real; I avidly read the list of subjects; each one is accompanied by an amusing icon (a colored drawing illustrating the wording):
- Bologna Commune
- Civil Administration
- Information and discussions
- Emergency S.O.S.
- Health Service
- Transport and mobility
- Economy and Finances
- Education and Employment
- Commerce and Industry
- Continuous office hours
- Culture and leisure time.
(Every wording is accompanied by the English translation,) At last an information system at the service of the individual, information of every kind easy to read: where to stay, the town's statute, a list of museums and public parks, ecology and pollution, applications for certificates.
By clicking on the blue wording we open new windows with information on the associations, area committees, health services, road and public building maintenance... I get lost in the sea of data and regret not being a Bolognese. However, I find that other town networks are being set up in towns such as Rome and Milan and I realize that what was my dream some ten years ago is becoming more and more real.
But now it is time for diversion, even though it is so hot, the traffic is heavy and parking space is hard to find. Let me try on the Internet Shopping Network, that is, Internet's supermarket. For the moment there are more than 600 firms that sell and deliver all over the world. The electronic supermarket is divided into six virtual storeys: Personal articles, clothing, computers, services, furniture, new media.
Each storey is huge and the assortment of goods is enormous: from presents to CDs and records, from books to tropical flowers, from steel modeling to Swarowski glassware. The catalogs are rich and well illustrated, and the price of the goods is quite interesting. I am drawn to a pretty present for my daughter. By electronic mail I confirm my purchase and anticipate the pleasure of making my Mariangela happy.
I look at my watch--time has sped away. Regretfully I end the connection and exit from Internet. Anyhow, I now I can go back whenever I want to. It's a pity that it is over for today, but I need not regret, because my friends and I will take a nice trip in my green Umbria.