A few months ago my family was blessed with the arrival of a grandchild. She's a beautiful little girl and seems to be doing fine.
Strangely, I think I've been more aware of her development than I was of my own children's.
I've noticed how when she was just days old, her eyes spent most of the time closed, and she slept. After a couple weeks I noticed that she began to visually notice things, and then gradually focus her attention on things she could visually perceive.
Then, after the ripe old age of about two months, she began to really react to her visual perception.
If Grandpa got right into her view and gave her a big smile, she would return the favor with the most genuine cheek-to-cheek smile you could imagine.
It's worth the effort to entice her into it, for it's truly heartwarming, even if it is a little drooly.
But lately, I've noticed another change.
Now, many times she'll just sit quietly and look around at things. Nothing in particular, just looking at everything.
I call it her ``data acquisition mode."
I think she's filling up her memory banks. Doing data entry, if you will. Vacuuming up information about the world around her.
I suppose everyone does it, but I can especially relate to it.
You see, I'm an information junkie.
I have been in data acquisition mode for my whole life.
I worked at a newspaper for more than 30 years, and it was like a drug addict working in a pharmaceutical factory.
To this day, I still love learning about what's going on in my world, and here is where technology has tied in so nicely for me.
I used to be satisfied reading the newspaper and watching TV news, like a normal person.
Then came the Internet. This was a whole new ballgame, folks. For an information junkie, it's like pulling out into the fast lane and unleashing the horsepower.
There seems to be no limit to the number of places to find information.
And the sheer volume of it all isn't even the best part.
The best thing is, on the Internet, I can pick what news I want to read about.
I don't just get to see whatever some editor thinks I want to see, or what they want me to see, or not see. I'm the one who gets to decide, not someone else.
If I think one particular news source is not doing the job properly, I can look around and find other presentations which may be better, or in some way better satisfy my curiosity.
Of course, I don't want you to think that I don't read The Daily Star. It is, after all, the best way to learn about local news.
I do, however, usually read it online. Just as an informational counterpoint, my wife prefers the print version.
But when it comes to larger territory, the Internet prevails decisively. More, better and faster.
As an example, I'll let you in on my default reading schedule. In the morning I usually spend about a half hour reading news. Actually, I'm reading news while eating my breakfast.
In this half-hour, I can skim headlines and read the stories I find interesting in The Daily Star, The Albany Times-Union, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, The New York Times, thatsracin.com (the best NASCAR website) and look at the daily Sinfest comic.
That's seven _ count 'em _ newspapers, in a half-hour. Try that with paper, if you could actually get them all at delivered to your house at 7 a.m.
Then, at lunchtime, or after work if I don't go home for lunch, I read The Adirondack Enterprise, BBC World News, CNN, Groklaw, The Christian Science Monitor, and a couple of tech websites. That's seven more news sources. Probably another half-hour to an hour.
After having access to all the information on the Internet, I couldn't imagine living without it. For me, it's like going to a smorgasbord of news every day.
If you crave knowing what's going on, the Internet is certainly the most efficient and comprehensive way to find out. Believe me, I know.
Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at