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Archive for the ‘Technology and Internet’ Category

I shared my post  about my AFS year a few weeks ago with those very students who were such an important part of my year, and remain an important part of my life. 33 of us are on a Fbk group, and we’re individually in touch with one or two others who don’t “do” Fbk. There are a few who continue to be elusive, having lost touch in the intervening years before the internet reunited so many of us.

As it was our 40-year anniversary, we had talked previously talked about whether there was a possibility of a reunion there. I’d been planning a trip, another person was waiting for a wedding date there before she could commit, but the likelihood of more than one or two of us getting together there was slim. I was sad about that, but resigned to it. It is 2020, after all, and there’s a global pandemic, so travel is pretty much impossible, and if not impossible, then it is definitely unadvisable. But then Sharon B had the brilliant idea to do what lots of people are doing during this pandemic.

“Let’s have an online reunion!” she suggested.

After a little organisation – mostly because the Kiwis complained about getting up at 3 am – we fixed a time. Cocktail hour for many of the Americans on  Friday night, and early afternoon for the Kiwis the next day worked perfectly. Those of us who had never used Zoom downloaded it. We tried to link in a few who weren’t part of the Fbk group too – at the last minute I realised Madeline wasn’t in the group, and linked her into it just in time.

At the appointed time, we logged on. It was fantastic, watching each person sign in to the meeting, seeing their face for maybe the first time in 39 years. Exclamations of delight, helloes, waves, and big grins all round. It took quite a while for everyone to get on, especially as many of us had learning curves. A few didn’t quite realise their discussions with the families would be heard (Jane putting in a crucial beer order, for example), but we all figured it out eventually. And at least we weren’t like the young woman I read about last week, who was on a Zoom meeting with her workplace, took her laptop into the bathroom, placed it on the floor, and sat on the toilet, before she realised they could all see her! We may almost be boomers, but we’re technologically capable, thank you very much.

Fifteen of us signed in, which is not a bad turnout given the circumstances. We had a great catch-up, finding out where people lived and what they’ve been doing the last 39 years, who had been back to Thailand, were still in touch with their Thai families, etc. Of course, we indulged in some reminiscing. Some of us drank tea or coffee or water, others enjoyed wine or cocktails, one fell asleep on the couch after a busy work week, Jen dialled in briefly from her car (when she wasn’t driving) in Australia, and right at the end, Cee cooked her dinner. Gradually people started signing off, all with commitments to do this again, sending love and safe wishes.

When it got down to the last six or so of us, it was a more manageable conversation, and my goodbyes when it got down to three of us were lengthy, as we chatted easily, and didn’t want to sign off, but after three hours, figured it was time.

Technology makes life so much easier, so much richer. Even in times that are hard, when people might feel isolated from others, when people were already feeling divided, technology allowed us to come together. I’m still smiling now as I think about it.

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  • [The uploader has not made this content available in your country/region.]
  • [This provider does not ship to New Zealand.]
  • Netflix in NZ is not the same as Netflix in the US. We pay more for less.
  • Website promotions are almost always restricted to the US, Canada, and UK/Europe.
  • Spell-checkers or grammar-checkers rarely offer a New Zealand English option.
  • There are different global Amazon sites. They do not allow you to gift between sites. For example, at Christmas we discovered that you cannot buy an e-book on Amazon dot com and gift it to a member of Amazon dot com dot au (Au=Australia, which is what NZers are forced* to use), even if you are sitting on the same couch!
  • Postage/shipping (frequently) costs more than the price of the object.

*   unless, like me, you’ve somehow managed to evade detection and stick to the dot com site

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Some time ago, I heard a discussion on a radio podcast (and subsequently found this article that prompted it) about what our email inboxes say about our personalities.

  1. If your Inbox has many unread emails in it, then you are an Ignorer, and are amongst the most productive, recognising that emails are representative of other people’s priorities not your own.
  2. If your Inbox is empty, then you might be a bit of a control freak.
  3. If your Inbox is full, but almost all the emails are read, then you might be deluding yourself into thinking you will get around to addressing them all.

I’m a combination of an Ignorer – I leave many of the Promotional emails unread – and a Saver, as I manage to convince myself that I will get around to reading them later, especially if they sound like they might link to interesting content. The Husband is definitely a control freak with an empty Inbox, and occasionally he freaks out when he picks up my iPad and can see how many unread emails I have. But it’s like my pantry – I never know when I might need one of those spices … um … emails.

So, which category do you fit into?

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