Friday, October 03, 2003

The times are a changing

When I first came to England in the early 1990s to study, we were in the era of letters and (expensive) phone calls. I often went off to travel in various parts of Europe (and at times Africa) and it was fairly normal for my family in Australia to not hear from me for weeks and sometimes even months. I am sure that my parents did worry about me, as parents do, but none the less not hearing from me for a while was normal.

Now this was at the 1991 stage of technical development. Regular phone calls were still possible. No doubt a few decades earlier when people were restricted to letters, contact in such situations was less frequent than that, and if people were poor correspondents and on the other side of the world, they were probably not heard from for months or even years at a time.

However, since the early 1990s there has been a dramatic acceleration in communications technology. E-mail became widely used, even to the extent that one's parents had it. (I personally have been using it since 1988, and thus I was in contact with more technical friends in Australia more frequently than I was with family). Once e-mail was available, my parents started to get worried if they hadn't heard from me for a day or two. Once I started using e-mail when I was on the road, they then started worrying if they hadn't heard from me for a day or two then, too. (Once when I was going on a round the world trip when based in Australia, I was visiting quite a few friends. I gave my parents a list of the various people I would be visiting and their e-mail addresses, and I found as the trip went on that many of my friends had received "Have you seen Michael"? e-mails).

Oddly enough, since I have been blogging my parents have felt the need to do this less. They can go on the internet, check that my blog has been updated and yes, this indicates that I am probably still alive. Of course, the scary thing about this is that as my life goes on, things are slowly getting reversed. I start worrying about my parents if I haven't heard from them for a few days.

However, I now see that all this could be worse. One well known figure in the blogosphere has been L.T. Smash, who was an American member of the armed forces serving somewhere in the Middle East. Since he has returned to the US, we have learned that he was a naval reserve officer who had been called up and was serving in Kuwait, and that he had previously been well known in the blogosphere as the Indepundit. We also know that once he started blogging, this happened

When I became “too busy” to post every day, I got a stern email from my father. “You must post EVERY DAY,” he warned. “Your mother is worried about you!”

Somehow, I know how he feels. On the other hand, given that Mr Smash was off participating in an actual war, I do see his mother's point too. On the other hand, I don't think this happened in the Boer War.

Anyway, that's my posting for the day. I might go and take a daytrip to France on the Dover-Calais ferry tomorrow.

Update: A careful check of ferry fares led me to discover that it is cheaper for me to go to Calais on a weekday, so I thus did not go today.

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