Gmail requires IE5.5+ which means I can’t access it from 70% of the computers here in internet cafes in India who still use IE5.0.

Writing on the road

I am writing some stuff on the road (different internet cafes every time) and I find myself longing for solutions that support writing on the road. I write in WordPress – not bad, but not perfect either. Any suggestions. The perfect thing would be a lightweight keyboard with a memory of its own (and some kind of preview) that I could use to write anywhere and then plug into a computer to transfer the text whenever I visit an internet cafe…

Ah Bangalore. The pizza! The cheap books! The proper coffee! The copied western atmosphere! After a few weeks of roughing it in South India, Bangalore, usually described as a place where there’s not much interesting for the traveler, is a true joy.

The sharing of stories

Here are some random thoughts about the sharing of stories since I am at a computer anyway. I might add pictures to this post later.

I was visiting a temple this afternoon, filled with extremely elaborate detail. You can walk around it and read stories of the kings that built it, it’s like a kind of elongated comic book. The temple was used for ceremonies that probably (I’m guessing here since that’s what ceremonies in temples and churches seem to do) were basically about telling the stories of the religion and rulers.

So temples are for telling stories.

They’re really efficient since you can build a temple with a story on it, and the story will be told millenia afterwards if the temple survives. Your story survives. And many temples do survive, despite the destroying of temples and churches by competing religions as has happened in Europe, India and all over the world.

I saw tourists (Indians and foreigners) walking around the temple, reading the same, 1500-year old story. Stories are important because they explain the world, and in that way contain values and such.

Then I had to think about pictures. I remember visiting my girlfriends family, and 3 generations were standing around a photoalbum, and the stories of the family were being retold. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing.

Photoalbums are another medium that lets us tell the stories of our families, and in that way convey the values of our families as well.

An important element of these stories is their construction by the way: they are constructed by the entire family, watching pictures together. This way, it’s a kind of democratic process that creates the stories of the family.

I’m fascinated by digital pictures. What will be the social constructions around those artifacts that will let us use them to share our stories? Emailing them just doesn’t cut it. Microsofts Photostory is a good attempt, but not good enough. Printing them out also somehow doesn’t cut it – it’s not truly part of the media. So I’m curious to see what happens.

Comments? I’ll add links and pictures later.

My survey of internet cafes in India continues, I’m still in Mysore. A small internet place has 4 computers and DSL access, about 126,000 Kbps. About 50 USc/hour to use it, the same as in most places. I have pictures, but no easy way of uploading them right now. (It’s optimizing them that’s really the problem.) Interestingly, the person who runs it is a woman, and there are 2 women using computers and 1 guy (and me).