Friday, August 04, 2006

Travel, Cell Phones, Internet, & Web 2.0 - #4

After our last class, we had a long-awaited trip planned to the Austin, Texas area. Steve was attending a workshop at UT-Austin for AP World History teachers. I was getting an eagerly anticipated chance to catch up with family, do research for our group project and finish my web page.

We drove in three-digit heat to Texas and had a lovely visit with my uncle in Dallas. The next day we had lunch with one cousin and went to see another cousin when we got news that there had been a death in the family. While we were making arrangements to come home, I found a great article (in next post) about businesses utilizing Web 2.0 in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Thanks to the beauties of Wifi available in local area establishments, we were able to book plane tickets, begin funeral arrangements, make hotel reservations and secure rental cars all while on the road back to Illinois.

I was grateful the entire trip home for the connectivity offered by cell phones, laptops and Internet availability in hotels. Without these necessities of modern life, we would not have known that Steve’s dad died, been able to contact the nursing home, the funeral home, other family members and so on. Yes, cell phones can be an annoyance, but in this instance, I will be eternally grateful for the convenience provided by having phones available in our entire family. We were able to cancel attendance at the conference, cancel hotel reservations and make all the necessary arrangements en route. We made plane reservations from Panera Bread in the middle of Oklahoma. We had the outlines of a memorial service accomplished by e-mailing each other in various locations. Even the priest conducting the service sent and received information by e-mail.

I have read in several blogs about the necessity of stepping away from the computer when we do our work that way all day, but here is a flip side of that and just how helpful these tools can be. We are still dealing with moving belongings and settling the estate, but e-mail and cell phones make it much easier to accomplish these tasks even from a long distance away.


Blogger vickib said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. I hope all went well.
In general, I'm not a big cell phone fan. Sometimes I don't want people to be able to get ahold of me, especially my kids! But at other times, it is a blessing. I lost my mom in February and I was able to use my cell phone to keep in contact with everyone as they were traveling to Rockford in an attempt to see my mom before she passed away. Most made it, some did not.
So, I'm glad cell phones are around. They are here to stay. We just need the phone service and the customer service to get better.

11:26 AM  
Blogger christopherf said...

My condolences. I hope things are a bit better as time has gone on. Memories are always something you can keep close to your me...I agree with you about the fabulous conviences of society's technological advances. I would never have dreamed, 15 years ago, that things would advance so much, so rapidly. There are so many different ways for us to communicate with each other, and gather information now. It truly is amazing. But, I would say that even though technology has made some parts of life easier, it has also made other parts a bit more complicated...Just my two cents.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Stephens said...

My condolences to you and Steve.

Doesn't it make sense we shouldn't ban cell phones from libraries because they can also be important data devices and create connections?

6:01 AM  

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