Saturday, February 21, 2004

Technologically, this week has proven extremely challenging. Being without a phone or a connection to the 'net was particularly trying in that much of what I'd planned to do this week related to school and work was dependent on at least a dialup connection. Once we left the Sandman hotel last Saturday, I was without a connection until late Wednesday evening.

I find it especially daunting to get "back to speed" in terms of communication following an "extended absence." Four days may not sound to "extended" to many, but I can assure you it is a considerable amount of time in the world of 'net-based discussion. Timely contributions are necessary to ensure a "critical mass" in terms of communication.

This is especially pertinent in terms of deadlines. My apologies to all colleagues in CTL1922 for blowing my deadline for my peer-review of Ron's project. I'll get my thoughts posted by tomorrow noon and make an effort to do better with future deadlines.

I was particularly interested by my reaction to being away from "technology" this week. For years now, I've being on a computer on a nearly daily-basis. Even when not posting to this blog, or making school-related posts, I've at least been working on documents and checking e-mail. This week I did a bit of computer-based work, but was nearly completely out of touch due to a lack of a 'net connection. A dead e-mail account only added to challenges this time....

By Wednesday I borrowed Martha's cell phone (actually she insisted I take it ;-), but wasn't missing a lack of e-mail by that point. Indeed, it felt good to have a break from the machine! I know that part of this "sense of freedom" comes from avoidance due to what awaits when finally re-connected. The technology is only the first step....

The apologies to make, catching up to do, and trust to restore all make "social reconnection" with one's on-line colleagues a difficult process. Of course it's MUCH better advised to stay current in the first place, but "issues" will arise. Anyone who has worked with computers for any length of time, no matter the operating system, will tell you that you'd best be prepared for a "work around" -- what's the plan when this or that "goes South" (i.e., "stops working") on you?

Again, this week surprised me in terms of my reaction to being offline. For the first two days I was extremely agitated at not being able to connect. By Day 4 I wasn't nearly as agitated, but feeling very guilty for letting down school and work colleagues by not having contributed deliverables.

At least with work colleagues I had the option of a toll-free number as well as access to a calling card. Academic and personal business were more limited although I did have web-access to my school e-mail, but didn't get in to check it until finally connected at home.

The biggest surprise for me was how quickly, in relative terms, I got used to being "disconnected."

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