26.8.04

Gather round, children, & let granny tell you about the old days when email was new. Or new to me, anyway. Back in 1992 I got a part-time job working for a radio series, aptly named the Communications Revolution, which was all about demystifying & investigating the new technology that was just starting to explode on the scene. All of our project advisors were the hard-core geeks who had email before anybody else ever did, which meant that we had to have email too so we could talk to them. I still remember vividly when one of my coworkers wrote out a page-long set of instructions on how to upload a document (what we now call sending an attachment); I anxiously but gamely worked my way down the page, following each instruction, until I saw the lines of text scrolling up the monitor. It was a revelation -- this stuff actually worked!

When the web came along, I nursed a phobia of it, too, for several months until I finally jumped in with both feet, never to look back. I'm like this about every new thing that comes along on the net; I'm a late adopter but once I get over my anxieties I'm all over it. Anyway, one of our project geek angels back then was Tim Pozar. Tim set us up with all kinds of tech stuff, none of which I remember at all anymore, but the main thing about Tim was that he was a real mensch, whipsmart, & just so totally enthusiastic about the internet & its potential for good that you couldn't help but catch a bit of his enthusiasm yourself.

Meanwhile, back in the present, just now I was nervously surfing around for info about the wireless universe that I'm about to join, all for the sake of Better Chinese Restaurant Blogging From The Road. The concept of wireless has given me a whole new set of worries about security & encryption & so forth (thanks to that old job, I've always been aware of those issues too), & whether or not it's gonna end up costing me a lot of money, & so on & so forth. I didn't realize how anxious I actually was until I happened upon Tim's name at the top of a list of free wireless nodes in San Francisco, & suddenly felt much better. Like traveling to somewhere new & kind of scary, & then running into someone you know who's actually an expert on the place.

Reminds me yet again of this traditional Turkish folktale formula, which has been very much in my mind recently: "They went a great way but still went only a little way; they went over rivers and mountains and yet went straight; they went for six months and a summer, but when they looked back, they found that they had gone only the length of a grain of barley." (See Ahmet E. Uysal's Tales Alive in Turkey for this & many other variations on the formula.)

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