iSight/iChat Internet Father
As usual, I'm spending a month and a half of the summer in the Middle East excavating. This time in Israel at Tel Zeitah, where I was last summer for the first time. What is unusual is that this time my daughter Kalypso, age 9, is with me (as is my student Roy DuBose III), so that means I only have to miss two people in my immediate nuclear family: Therese and Gilgamesh. But this year we have two iSight cameras and using iChat we are able to video chat with amazing clarity. The time zones create some havoc, as we typically video chat right when Therese and Gilgamesh are waking up, so my son is a bit out of it. But I think the separation is somehow easier for both of us to see each other in real time. I used to excavate in south Jordan where even placing a phone call was impossible. I would say goodbye for a month and a half with no contact. Video chat is excellent, the sound quality is at least as good as the phone, but we get to see each other in fairly clear video. The delay is very minimal. Also, using Flickr, this blog, and my daughter's blog, all the friends and relatives can keep up to date and share our experiences. My point is that in this specific case I believe that the internet and technology have improved my life. But that was not the case on the way over here, when the computers at Continental almost didn't allow my daughter to board the plain, because they decided she didn't have a ticket. The human at the Continental desk intervened and the computer backed down.