Friday, September 01, 2006

Because the world is getting smaller ...

Ok, I have now been overseas for three months, and I feel that I am still in close contact with all my friends, family in Australia (as well as being v.busy making new friends in Zurich, Switzerland). Why is this? well, it is amazing how easy it is to communicate with anyone (who wants to be communicated with!). I find out what my friends, family are doing pretty much at the same time as I did back in Melbourne, Australia (Mum has just bought another BMW!!??). And I think we will all become a lot more accessible as time goes on (e.g. 24/7 email, video conferencing, blogs from mobiles, personal GPRS Google Maps synchronisation). But in the present, these are all the forms of communication tools, I have used, and am currently using, no relying on:

  1. Chat; unfortunately, my friends, family have been divided by those who have Google chat (e.g. Kate, Simon, Sarah etc.) and those who do not (Georgia, Pete, Tim, Karl, etc.); I intermittently catch friends online - with the always on Google chat - especially on Sunday afternoon (when it is Sunday night) Australian time. It is quick, efficient, and robust - I wish all my friends could use gmail (after all it is the best web email tool!) - and thank goodness most of my friends have listened to my advice and swapped over.
  2. Email; effective, especially with the difference in timezones and the mandatory group OS email - slowly being surpassed by other forms of communication.
  3. Telephony; ridiculously cheap (but still not free, unlike the other communication methods above); and in Zurich, Switzerland phone booths are in abundance still. Indeed, a v.futuristic glass telephone dome is 20m outside my apartment - ideal for the weekly Saturday morning phonecall home to Mum!
  4. Blogs / Forums; through my own blog and others who have started to write to the Internet about what they are doing (well done Bec, Simon!) - this is an invaluable insight into what people are thinking. Alongside this are forums where like-minded people communicate online on various (same-interest) topics; the English Forum (just click the Forums link) in Switzerland has been an invaluable resource since coming over here - and a good outlet for a night or two out ;)
  5. Mail; still required and v.ingratiating when one receives mail overseas! (so thanks Soz for sending over the bond form) and I have even sent the odd postcard - old school!
  6. Photos; establish contacts with FlickR (with your friends) and suddenly - wherever in the world your friends may be as soon as they take a photo and put it to the Internet you see it! The slide night is officially dead!
  7. Internet Telephony; yes I have skyped - twice; both times somewhat disappointing as there is lag, the audio quality is somewhat poor, and it is dependent on each of the persons broadband connection (e.g. too many variables); something to try again in 6 months.
  8. Video Conferencing; ok - haven't tried this as I need someone else to own an Apple and have MAC OS X iChat! when I fire it up on my side the Internet camera embedded in my laptop seems to produce high quality video images - now when is anyone buying an Apple?
Looking forward to communicating soon ;)

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