One morning at the TED Global conference in Arusha, I watched a friend use Skype to call his family on the West Coast of the US, reaching his wife late at night her time. After they chatted for a while, he recorded a voicemail message for his kids and uploaded a set of photos for Flickr. The next morning, his wife played the message for the kids, showed them his photos and where he was, on Google Maps. The result is a sort of “soft telepresence” that probably beats the crap out of having Dad show up after two weeks with a handful of postcards and some toys…
I had my telepresence moment today when I saw a post on Rachel’s blog, including a photo of the raspberry canes we planted a few weeks ago. They’ve come into leaf, and at least a few of the canes are going to need trellises in a few more weeks. Poking into Rachel’s photostream, I can see that our blueberries are doing well, but don’t seem to be fruiting yet, and that the lawn isn’t quite as nightmarish as I’d feared. (The high grass is supposed to be high, actually – we mow the edges and leave the center as meadow…) I would never have thought of pointing a webcam at my backyard so I could monitor the grass growing from South Africa, but I found it curiously satisfying to get a glimpse of plants growing 7,800 miles away…
(Of course, the truly geeky conclusion to draw from this would be that I need a system of cameras, and a remote-controlled lawnmower that I can control via a web form. Or that I need to travel a little bit less, and stay home and mow more often…)
For some weird reason I just can’t picture you resting your legs in the back porch and occasionally taking a swing or two at the lawn. With that itchy mind and those restless legs! Ah, well, maybe when you turn 150 or 160.
You’d be surprised, Kwasi. Give me a warm summer night, some fish on the grill, a beer in my hands and I can slow that restless mind for at least a day or two… :-)
I love seeing your travel photos when you’re far from home; why didn’t it ever occur to me that you would enjoy seeing my home photos then too?
Yeah, we had another wild rain and wind storm and Freezing Man took some damage. He’s prone at the moment, and may be a little bit…um…wounded in a few places. I’m sorry about that. :-/
Meadow looks beautiful, though. All but one of the new berry canes are bursting with happy leaves. (And since it keeps raining, I haven’t had to water them.) Blueberries look happy though I haven’t seen fruit yet; I figure Nephew and I will weed that bed this Saturday, if it isn’t raining then, and maybe we’ll find some berries!
Oh, hey, speaking of relentless rain, the breakfast nook is still nice & dry. :-)
ROFL! Just think of all the global warming, generated by your frequent travels and there you have it – the perfect excuse for staying at home and mowing the edges…
It’s true, Juergen – I wrote about carbon credits a few months back and thinking I would just plant more trees at home instead. I have plans to put in a dozen apple trees later this summer – I wonder how many flights that offsets?
What’s “meadown”? Sounds like a technical botanical term and at the same time like what you’d expect a Muppet to be covered with.