Dear Mr. Smolan,
Cyberspace has made such a significant impact on my life, I really intended to create a web page for 24 Hours in Cyberspace explaining it all, but I ran out of time. I was too busy:
Creating a web site to help disseminate information to employees of [employer deleted]. Because of my experience in Cyberspace, I was selected to spearhead my department's efforts in the web site creation business, something of a change of career from my former position as a technical writer.
Creating a web site for the North American Shortwave Association, a club focusing on the hobby of shortwave listening, and for our monthly publication, The Journal. The site seems to be bringing new members into the club, which we're all happy about. As a result of creating this web site and my other efforts toward bringing the club into Cyberspace, I've been invited to speak at a shortwave conference in Pennsylvania next month on the topic of "Computers in the Radio Hobby"; preparing for that has kept me quite busy lately as well.
Updating a help system for an application at work. I had created the original version of the help system a couple of years ago in my previous job as a technical writer. For this issue of the software, one thing after another kept coming up, distracting the team from putting the help system together, so they called me in to put the system together at the last minute. I had two weeks to finish a six week project. Cyberspace saved me when the east coast of the U.S. was hit with two and a half feet of snow in the middle of my project. I was able to dial in to my computer at work, access the files I needed, and continue working toward my ridiculous deadline, despite the fact that I couldn't step out of the house for almost three days. I made the deadline with about three hours to spare.
Teaching my dad about the Internet and WWW. He's working on putting a newsletter together to post on the web. We hope to make it useful enough that it draws some attention to his manufacturing consulting business.
Helping my friend Nora at Czech Radio in Prague with some fine points about Radio Prague's new web site. I wrote Nora a letter a year and a half ago thanking her for a program she had done on the radio. I included my e-mail address because her program the following week was about an Internet conference in Prague. She answered my letter by e-mail, and we struck up a friendship. I taught her much of what she knows about the Internet, which enabled her to move into a new job in charge of Internet efforts at Radio Prague. She even offered me a job at Radio Prague last year; I wish I had been able to take it. I also spent a week with her and her partner Dusan in Prague last summer. I had been there once before, but the difference between seeing a city with the help of guidebooks and seeing it with guides who have lived there and know the city is amazing. I learned so much more about Prague and the Czech Republic this time. Dusan introduced me to the joys of Becherovka, an herb-based spicy liqueur, late one night in the lesser quarter of Prague. I got to see plays by Vaclav Havel performed in English and a new Czech film with English subtitles, both just off Wenceslaus Square. I tasted many wonderful Czech beers, most of which aren't available in this country, including the original Budweiser. It was a blast to be able to go into a pub by the end of the week and carry out an entire transaction in Czech (jedno pivo, prosim!). It was hard to go home after my week there.
Shopping for Valentine's Day presents for the woman I met online, Laura. We had been friends for over five years, thanks to a mutual interest in certain obscure rock bands, as explored in the Usenet group rec.music.misc and in e-mail over the years. One day, as I was driving to visit friends elsewhere in New Jersey, I passed a sign with the name of her hometown on it, and realized that, while I had met friends from Atlanta, Columbus, Boston, Amsterdam, Hamilton New Zealand, London, and Prague, I had a friend within short driving distance that I had never met face-to-face. Within a few weeks, we had made arrangements to meet for brunch one Sunday afternoon near her house. We hit it off so well that I called her a few days later to ask her out for a Real Date. Our one-year anniversary is in a few weeks. We exchange e-mail every day at work. Yesterday I got an online Valentine over the web from her. We love to go to concerts at the Knitting Factory and films at the Film Forum, both of which have sites on the web to keep us appraised of upcoming events we might otherwise miss.
Cyberspace has kept me awfully busy in the past month since I heard about your project. I'm afraid I've been neglecting other things. I should really answer my e-mail from the friends in Boston I stay with every August when I go to Macworld Expo and who I stayed with in Karlsruhe, Germany, last year when one of them was studying there for a few months. And I feel bad about not contacting the friend in London I met on rec.music.misc to find out how his recently-born daughter has been doing this month. I need to get in touch with my friend in Amsterdam who edits the World Radio TV Handbook, too, to see if he would be interested in commissioning a followup article to the one I wrote for the 1994 edition of the book about radio software for the Macintosh; I was able to point out improvements that could have been made to their article in 1993 because I recognized much of it as having come from an old document on the topic available online. There are about a million other things that would slip my mind if I didn't have my backlog of e-mail to remind me. Some times I marvel that I have time to eat and sleep. Nine years after discovering netnews on my first day at work at AT&T, I'm not sure there's any aspect of my life that Cyberspace doesn't touch any more.
So I'm sorry I wasn't able to create a fancy home page to help celebrate 24 Hours in Cyberspace. I hope you'll accept this excuse and my humble apologies.
Really! Want proof?