Oh, what a beautiful morning.

Friday, August 16th, 1996

We were listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation as we skirted along the northeast corner of Oklahoma today, through the Osage Indian Reservation and through town after town with Cherokee names that seemed very familiar to folks like us familiar with places in the North Georgia Mountains. On the other end of the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee live in a state with ‘Native America’ as its license plate slogan and just about as many tacky franchises and convenience stores as the rest of Generic America.

Talk of The Nation was doing (as part of its ‘ScienceFriday‘) a conversation with Internet cognoscenti about the recent 19-hour failure of America Online’s network connections and the idea of the overclogging of the net in general. It was great conversation—I wish the Atlanta NPR station would carry this show—and I listened with some bemusement as one of the guests—I believe it was the LA Times’s Larry Magid—talked about his adventures checking email and surfing the web on the road. Some of it—especially the part about using Netscape running in a public library to check email for free—seemed anecdotally quite familiar.

I’ve found that life on the road has its own delights and frustrations, and adding a PowerBook to the mix simplifies some things and complicates others. Eh? What do I mean by that? Well, when you’re toting technology along, the temptation is to use it—to go ahead and plug in. This tends to be difficult at campsites, and ends up being the excuse for motels. (And don’t get me started on phone jacks.) I’m thinking about all of this in terms of our upcoming trip to Mexico (for Sammy’s dissertation research.) What technology do we bring? Well, what technology do we need?