Sunday, August 08, 2004

technology is great

We just moved to Guatemala, not even been here 48 hrs yet.
It has been a long, drawn out process since it started over 15
months ago with the decision to take this overseas job.

I'm 43 years old, I dragged my wife and 2 of 3 teenage children
along for this adventure. I learned to program computers using
card punch technology and card readers. As part of the bribery
process, so that the children might not mind leaving their friends
so much, I bought them each a laptop (and one for the wife!),
and set up a wireless lan. I would venture a guess that the computing
power in these 3 laptops, and the network capacity of the router
represents more computing power than existed in the whole world
when I was born.

I also bought a IP phone (packet8.net, check it out!). We lugged all
this stuff from hotel to hotel, to grandma's house, to the beach, another
hotel and finally to a Guatemalan hotel.
Each stop, I would do what I could to hook it all up. Some places more
successfully than others. The computers and the internet are my
kids link to their old friends, and the link used to meet new friends.
Today, my daughter finally got to meet in person, one of the girls who
will be attending the same school. They started talking as if they'd known
each other for years, they had been "chatting" via the internet for many
months
.
Other people already living here, sent us pictures of the area, pictures
of housing, information on schools, what to bring, and what not to bring.
Much of the school registration process was done via email. And now
that we are here, if we didn't bring something...we'll probably order it
off the internet.

I hooked up the IP phone to our router (which is plugged into the hotel's
DSL). We called back to family to tell them we had arrived safely. This
morning, I talked to the son we left behind (that is a blog all by itself). For
the most part, the connections are better than placing an overseas call
through the hotel's phone and the PBX, (as the landline telephone system
is known here.) The phone has a U.S. number. My parents and extended
family dial as if it is a local call. We call anywhere in the U.S. for the low
price of $19.95 a month and the inconvenience of dialing a 1 followed
by the entire 10-digit phone number. What a deal! I once was on an
extended business trip overseas and missed Thanksgiving. Our phone
bill was in the neighborhood of $1500, $9 per minute. ATT of course
would insist it was only $7 per minute, the rest was taxes.

When something can provide the instant information, easy
communication, and save me money like that, it is great.

Technology is great.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

So glad you made it safely! And I'm really glad that you took care of all the computer and phone hookups so that we can all keep in touch. Especially when it comes time to plan our trip to GT ;-)