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March 19, 2008

Playing Favorites

My friend Tim Windsor asked about my favorite spots on our journey. I usually answer this question with something like

"It's hard to say, each place we've been has offered something unique. Our favorite places usually end up being places where we were in sync with whatever that thing is."
But something made me start listing off a few places that jumped into mind. Looking at the list, I thought it would be fun to link to blog posts we'd written about each spot. Well, that email ended up turning into this blog post. Here's to a trip down memory lane...

Memorable Experiences


The next generation's Internet

Photo: Ashley Computing
I received this photo of my niece computing, and it prompted me to think about how the generation that's growing up now interfaces with the Internet.

Her generation will not have known a world without a global network of computers or pocketable Internet access devices/communicators that can get to anything or anyone, anywhere in an instant. It's quite a different world than we grew up in. It's great to see that she's already engaging in what will be her primary means of contact with her world.

Despite the influence of the previous generations, today's kids aren't growing up watching TV, they're interacting on the Net, in real-time 2-way communication. Participant, not consumer. Get this... Kids today think that email is for old folks! They prefer more interactive means, like synchronous communication (instant messaging), social networks (obtaining information via the influence of friends and their friends and their friends, ...) and real-time multi-party collaboration. It's quite amazing to see them go. Their brains were wired for this kind of thing from the beginning and they are master multi-taskers. They handily carry on three to five conversations simultaneously, while browsing the web in multiple tabs, having many sites open at once, while actively choosing and listening to some music.

They're able to contextualize it all at once and handle multiple information inflows and outflows simultaneously, without stumbling. I can't do that, despite computing since I'm 10. But mine were linear interfaces. Do one thing at a time and wait for it to finish, then move on. For them, the infinity of information is accessible synchronously and they have the tools to access and create them in multiples at a time. And they do.

The pace of change continues to accelerate. It's so great to see that she's starting to wire her brain so she can function in the world that awaits her.

Your package is here!

Michelle, a yogi living next to us in Byron Bay, Australia exclaimed "Your package is here!" and I jumped out of my seat in disbelief. I was sure it was a goner...

The package took the most convoluted path across the earth to arrive with us. We had feared that it was lost or stolen during the last leg - between Brisbane and Byron Bay (a 2 hour drive apart) - when a week passed without a hint of a delivery.

I'm ecstatic to report that the mailman (who we'd been talking to every day this week) hand delivered it to Michelle, who, fully aware of the eagerness with which we awaited the package brought it to us.

Western Digital 320 GB Passport 2.5You see, my trusty Thinkpad X61 Tablet had run out of disk space back in Thailand so I ordered a Western Digital 320 GB Passport 2.5" USB 2.0 Hard Drive online while we were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from somewhere in California. It was shipped to Louise in New Jersey, who repackaged it and sent it (with difficulty because of UPS's idiosyncrasies) to Michael in Montreal, who loaded it up with data I desperately need and mailed it to Travis and Carissa's place in Brisbane - but it arrived the day after we had left for Byron Bay. Finally, they re-mailed it to Byron Bay where it now sits expectantly with a cool blue glow, awaiting its indoctrination.

Thanks to all who were involved in this adventure in world-wide data movement.