Friday, March 02, 2007

Something Is Different

For many years I have carried on a correspondence with one of my college professors. He is my mentor, a father figure, a friend. I am forever in his debt for what he shared with me and he has continued to share with me in the decades since I graduated from college. I have hundreds of letters that he has written to me over the years. His handwriting, his little cartoons and interlinear musical notations - they are treasures. I read them over and over, following the curve of his hand as he painstakingly wrote to me.

Several years ago, at the age of 81, he began writing email messages to me. While our communication increased and became more convenient, it is not the same. I can pass his letters to my children. But his email messages? They are full of his humor and style. But they print out in Verdana 12 point with a header full of gibberish assigned by servers. He is the same person but it is different. Something is missing. Something important.

— Douglas Yeo, What Happened to the Internet?



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