23 February 2006


A few nights ago I had an online chat with S., a niece on my wife's side. In 1995 or thereabout, my then-girlfriend/future-wife and I visited S.'s parents in the girlfriend's hometown in rural China. S.'s father is a cousin of my wife's father. He inherited the house that my wife's family used to live in after they moved to the U.S. One thing I remembered the most about the visit was my visit to the local post office to mail a letter. I had to cross rice paddies to get to the building. To affix the stamp to the letter, I had to use glue from a bowl on the counter. No pre-moisted or self-adhesive stamps! Fast forward to 2005 and much has changed. Now S. is in her early 20s and working in an office. She has access to the Internet, sends email, and chats online. How things changed in ten years...

Up until recently, I only chat via iChat client software using a free AOL handle. To chat with S., I had to open up an account with MSN Messenger and use Adium. Silly me, at first I thought with Adium and similar multi-protocol client, I would be able to use just my AOL handle. Of course not. Client software like Adium only allows the chat to happen within one program and one still needs to use accounts from the various services.

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