A story about how technology impacts our daily life. It examines how much communication technology have changed over the last couple of decades through the experience of two long distance relationships. Today we can use tools like Facebook, Skype and MagicJack to keep in touch with our love ones.
I Miss You
When I was in my junior year of high school, I took one course at the college next door. It was a mathematic course and I was the only high school student among college students. It was in this class that a met my highschool sweetheart. I don’t remember exactly how it happened but we started dating. I couldn’t believe it, here was this high school guy dating a beautiful college girl. It turns out she was not only beautiful but also an excellent human being. This was a couple of months before summer. It was a very sweet relationship. The first couple of weeks we were together were very promising. When summer started, problems also started.
Thinking About You
I had planned to go to a summer camp away from home and out-of-state. I had enrolled in an astronomy class and an english class at Ithaca, New York. I was very excited with the opportunity to travel away from home and experience something new. Ithaca is a gorgeous place. I was really enjoying my time at summer camp. My main problem at the time was communication. This was more that 25 years ago. There was no formal world-wide-web available to send e-mails, to connect on Facebook, to run Skype. There was no cellular phones to make phone calls from any location with signal. There were only land lines to make phone calls. Making long-distance phone calls then, was a very limiting and expensive experience. Conversations had to be concise, short and certainly were not conducive to a good relationship. My girlfriend complained and when I came back from camp it was over fast. I am not saying technology was at fault but I think todays technology has improved communication and shorten distances.
I'll See You Soon
Last year I spent 10 months away from my love. I work in the construction industry and was offered by my company the opportunity to be part of the team that would open and develop a new international office at Panamá. It was a difficult decision since my wife could not move with me immediately. She still had two semester to complete on her college degree. We decided we would accept the challenge and be part of the international expansion of the company. It was definitely a difficult period of our relationship. But we grew as a couple. I know the nature of this relationship is totally different to the relationship 25 years ago but I believe technology allowed us to have a rich and satisfying long distance relationship. We were able to see each other every single day of the week. We were able to talk and share for the amount of time we wished. We were empowered by technology to have as much contact as we wanted.
You may be far from your loves ones or you will be apart for a time and want to be ready. I want to share with you how we maintained a healthy dose of communication that was functional, easy and cheap. We relied on two tools widely available to all. I don’t have any commercial relationship with them nevertheless they helped us.
I was able to talk and see my wife using Skype. To learn about Skype click here. Skype is a free application you download to your computer. To be able to communicate with it, you will both need a computer and an internet connection. To be able to see the each other, you will both need to have a camera with your computer. To use Skype, (1) Go to their download page (click here); (2) Start Skype, click “Don’t have a Skype Name” and create your account (see more here); (3) Add each other as contacts and start speaking! Using Skype we were able to speak to each other, see each other, messaged and played games while talking. You will reconnect from afar. Skype connects through the internet and everything is free no matter how much time you spent connected.
The second tool we used is MagicJack. To learn about MagicJack click here. MagicJack is a device that connects to your computer USB port on one side and to a telephone on the other. You need an internet connection to use MagicJack. Once connected you can make phone calls from anywhere in the world to the US and Canada free (the cost is the internet connection). To use MagicJack, only the person away from home needs to buy the device. I bought mine at Radio Shack for $39.99 and included one year of free calls. You pay $19.99 a year after the first. You can also buy it online. You will also need a regular phone, the type you use in your house. To use MagicJack you just connect the device to your computer, connect your phone to the device, wait for MagicJack screen to be ready and then dial on your phone as you’re use to. You can take your device to every place you go.