I meant to revise this entry, but decided to leave it there and just complete my thoughts here. In adding the links to that earlier entry, I see that it illustrates some of the defects of “real time” posting – most of the post was spent setting up the point, too little time to develop my thoughts, and no chance for revision within the limited time available on the public equipment. So, here’s my attempt to be more thoughtful.
The first issue is the practical one of how to actually draft the entry. In Ashland, I attempted to use public Internet access, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I know that there were more public machines a few years ago than I found last weekend. More and more, “internet café” is coming to mean “wireless.” There are obvious benefits for a business to shift from providing computers to providing wireless access (less equipment expense, lower support costs, fewer security issues, and less space required). What that’s meant for Ashland is, besides the public library (which has quite a few free, public terminals), there are three public machines that I could find. Two are in a couple of coffee shops and are available for free and the third is in a copy shop, available for a minimal fee. None of these places were open on Sunday and demand was high for them all (although I didn’t try to copy shop this time). It may be that the days of relying on public machines for anything more than a quick e-mail or blog entry during business hours are over.
A personal laptop, then, fits the new world of wireless. There are a couple of other readily-apparent advantages: it’s available for writing whenever you are and you can take notes, draft, revise, and store for when you can upload to the ‘net. It really helps with the immediacy. It also has all of the tools that you are used to. (That was one of the obstacles with the two Macs in the coffee shops. Not complaining about Macs, I’m just very much less familiar with them.) It’s unlikely that I’d ever take a laptop on a hike, but it could work on a boat trip (as long as I had good protection for it). Drawbacks? More to carry, more airport trouble, one could spend too much time on the computer and not enough observing where one is, and the expense, of course.
For this trip, a laptop would have been nice, as I didn’t actually meet my objective of blogging what we were doing or seeing. It was just too hard to get the writing done in the limited times I had on the machines. A laptop back at the room could have met the need for drafting in closer-to-real-time and also allowed for a chance to review the entry before I post.
Italy in October? I dunno…
A good entry written on the day that something happens has a freshness that the more thought-over posting a few days later doesn’t. And there’s no freshness comparison at all with the entry written a week after returning from the trip. Each has its strengths: immediacy, perspective, and mature consideration, respectively. The real problem with me, though, is that I tend to wait too long for that mature consideration and other things arise to interfere and normal life returns and then I’ve got nothing. Or, at least, nothing that seems very important, anymore. Better to have something, perhaps, even if it reads like the superficial drivel of the sunburned and novelty-sated tourist.