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Volume 28 : Issue 40 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:
  Re: The End of Alone 
  Surge Protection 

====== 27 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:12:49 -0500
From: Will Roberts <>
Subject: Re: The End of Alone 
Message-ID: <>

In Telecom Digest (Vol 28 # 39), Monty Solomon wrote:

> Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 23:39:43 -0500
> From: Monty Solomon <>
> To:
> Subject: The End of Alone
> The End of Alone
>       By Neil Swidey
> At our desk, on the road, or on a remote beach, the world is a tap 
> away. It's so cool. And yet it's not. What we lose with our constant 
> connectedness.  .  .  .

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The following is from the January 1995 issue of M.I.T.'s "Technology Review" 

Amy Bruckman

     If I had a network link, I'd be home now.

     From my chaise lounge on the terrace of my parents' Miami Beach 
apartment, I see a grid of four-line roads with palm-treed median 
strips, yachts moored on the inland waterway, a golf course, and a dozen 
tall white condominiums.  The hum of traffic is punctuated by the soft 
thunk of racquets striking tennis balls somewhere below. The temperature 
is in the 70s and a breeze blows through my toes.  I am a long way from 
Boston.  If I had a net link, I'd know exactly how far.

     I'd know the weather forecast for Miami, and, if I cared, for 
Boston too.  Just about anything you might like to know is out there on 
the worldwide computer network -- the Net -- if you know where to look.

     It's Christmas day in Miami, but I'm not sure it would really be 
Christmas or I would really be in Miami if I were plugged into the Net.  
I would be in my virtual office, a "room" in the text-based virtual 
reality environment where I do most of my work.  I have a desk there, 
piled with things to do, and a fish tank -- just like my "real" office.  
Except that the virtual fish don't need to be fed -- they're just a 
program I created one day while procrastinating from real work.  My 
virtual office is just some data on a computer housed at MIT that I can 
tap into from anywhere, but it is a place to me.  When I log onto the 
network, I am there.

     And I would be there right now, if not for a difficult choice I 
made two days ago.  I was packed for my trip south and had called a cab.  
I had the important things: airline ticket, wallet, bathing suit.  I 
stood in the hall staring at a padded gray bag, the one containing my 
Macintosh PowerBook computer.  I grabbed the bag, double-locked the 
door, and started to walk down the hall.  I stopped.  I went back, 
opened the door, and put down the gray bag.  I stood in the doorway, 
feeling foolish.  The taxi honked.  The honk gave me courage: I locked 
up again, leaving my computer -- my office -- behind.

     A vacation should be about escaping from routines; going somewhere 
else provides a new perspective.  But when I travel with my PowerBook, I 
bring many of my routines with me.  I can readily gain access to all my 
familiar tools for finding information.  It's as if I never left.  And 
that's the problem.  Had I brought my computer, I would not have written 
this essay (for which I am using a pencil).  Instead, I would have 
logged onto the network and entered its seductive, engrossing world.  By 
now I would have read the newswire and Miss Manners's column, answered a 
dozen questions from friends and colleagues, and possible posted by 
thoughts on a movie I saw last night to a public discussion group.  It 
would be as if I never left home.

     The network destroys a sense of time as well as place.  Daily and 
seasonal rhythms are subtle at best.  As morning turns to evening, I am 
more likely to bump into my friends in Hawaii, less likely to encounter 
my friends in England.  In the summer, things quiet down.  April 1st is 
the only real network holiday -- don't believe anything you read that 
day!  Beyond that, life on the Net proceeds at an even, unpunctuated 
pace.  There are no holiday decorations on the Net.

     On my flight down here I saw a young boy carrying a sleek black bag 
on his shoulder.  He held it naturally, but with a hint of importance.  
It took me a moment to see the logo: it contained his Nintendo Game Boy.  
His generation sees nothing remarkable about traveling at all times with 
a computer.  It is already possible to connect to the network from a 
palm-sized computer with a cellular link.  As computers get smaller and 
cheaper, we will lose even the excuse of the weight of that black bag or 
the cost of losing it.

     The Net is becoming an important part of the lives of a broader 
segment of the population.  Its spread presents a worrisome challenge: 
is it ever possible for us to take uninterrupted time off any more?  The 
new technologies of connectedness are pushing people to blend their many 
roles into one: personal mail is mixed with professional correspondence, 
and work crises arrive on a cellular phone during leisure time.  If our 
coworkers and competitors have made themselves perpetually available, we 
feel all the more pressure to do the same, lest we be left behind.  One 
of my colleagues deliberately vacations in places so remote that getting 
a Net connection is almost impossible -- it's the only way she can get a 
real break, and, for a little while at least, be a carefree newlywed 
instead of a world-renowned researcher.  But such exotic locales are 
getting harder and harder to find.

     I love the network and the people and the places I find there.  But 
sometimes I find it important to disconnect -- to leave the cellular 
phone and the beeper in a desk drawer, leave that padded gray bag at 
home.  To be out of touch, not for hours but for days.  To leave behind 
routines, both virtual and real.


[Fourteen years ago, when this was written, Amy Bruckman was a doctoral 
student in the MIT Media Laboratory and known for creating MediaMOO, a 
text-base virtual reality environment for media researchers.  She is now 
an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology affiliated 
with the School of Interactive Computing.]


Of course, we can reach back 75 years to the 1932 classic film "Grand Hotel" 
in which the great actress Greta Garbo delivered the line which will always 
be associated with her: "I want to be alone."

Twitter, anyone?  Really?



Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2009 13:05:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Surge Protection 
Message-ID: <>

I have a need to add some surge protect a telephone system.

I need the surge protection on the incoming circuits, right at the
demark point. I have several lines including POTS voice lines, POTS
dial in modem lines, VDSL, ADSL, and T1 circuits. Is there a surge
protector that will protect all of the above lines without degrading


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