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It's the latency, stupid

I took our car in today for regularly-scheduled maintenance. The work was supposed to take about 2 hours, so I opted to wait at the dealer while it was being done.

I pulled out my laptop and my cryptocard, hooked up to the complimentary wifi, connected to my VPN, and was fully connected to my work. I chatted with colleagues in London and Israel and across the United States. I sent dozens of e-mails. I downloaded some data files and an update for my instant messenger program. I logged into servers in California and worked on resolving some bugs in Open MPI. I did all this without even thinking twice about it.

But for some reason, I abruptly stopped working, sat up, and looked around. I saw cars being dissected in the garage through the window. I saw an obviously newlywed couple signing papers to buy a new car. I saw a woman at the receptionist’s desk scheduling some future maintenance work on her vehicle. I saw other salespeople chatting by the water cooler.

And then it hit me: I’m sitting in a car dealer’s waiting room. And I’m fully connected to everything that I need to do. I’m talking with people on different continents. I’m working on servers thousands of miles away. Wow! Isn’t that just cool?!

We tend to such connectivity for granted these days. But take a step back: isn’t it amazing? You can be anywhere, any place, any time, and be connected to your friends, family, and colleagues around the globe. Such things weren’t possible even a few years ago.

That was my moment for the day. Then I went back to work. ☺


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