New people aren’t anymore

The other day I met a few new people in the bar. Most of them were younger than me, but not all of them had IT-related jobs and hobbies. While we were exchanging contact information, I kept thinking about the technology and how it affects our lives.

15 years ago, when meeting new people name and place of work or address were sufficient. People were asking for a phone number, but not everyone had it. Contacting a person was complicated. Espeically if he didn’t have the phone number (like I). Even if he had a phone number, one had to find out the appropriate hours to call.

10 years ago phones became more widespread. But email was still a new thing for most people. Not everyone had it.

5 years ago mobiles started to jump in. Approrpiate hours became pretty much obsolete – call during the daylight of the timezone in question and you’ll be fine. Email got more common. Instant messengers became popular too.

This year I met a lot of new people. And, although, most of them were from my area, I had a choice of mobile phone, email, and ICQ number to choose from in order to contact them.

That other day though was a totally other story. Everyone called each other on the mobile to save the number. Than we continued with ICQ numbers. Than with blog URLs (many people use LiveJournal these days). A notebook computer appeared out of nowhere and we connected to pub’s free WiFi access point and looked through each other’s blogs and journals. Within 15 minutes or so everyone know a whole lot of everything about each other – hobbies, interests, age, lifestyle, who travelled where and when, etc. We saw a bunch of pictures and even some common friends, although we were from different parts of the world.

When we left from the pub two hours later, I had a feeling that we knew each other pretty good. Missing bits could be easily reconstructed by studing all the available information. Or talking on the Internet. Directly. Any time.

It doesn’t matter anymore where you live. All you need to have is a mobile phone (which supports SMS), instant messenger account (ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! – whatever works for you), and an online journal (standalone blog or LiveJournal or both). Interestingly, it’ll take you less than an hour to get all three. The world is definetely getting smaller…

Where do you want to go today?

Don’t close this window just yet – this post has nothing to do with Microsoft. On the contrary even…

For a few years now I am nursing the idea of working for a humanitarian or environmental organization. I haven’t yet researched the subject, but just try to imagine how good or bad that would be for me personally. So far, I can imagine all the good things, except maybe for the salary.

Lately I was trying to figure out what organization would I choose to work for if I had the free choice. Would it be Greenpeace? Green cross? Red Cross? UNHCR? DHA? There are so many choices that it’s really hard to pick one. All of them seem to have good intentions and all of them have a list of good deeds under their belts.

If you were the one to choose, which organization would you choose and why?

In case you know only Greenpeace, here are a few lists for you:

Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) was a Soviet physicist who became, in the words of the Nobel Peace Committee, a spokesman for the conscience of mankind. He was fascinated by fundamental physics and cosmology, but he had to spent two decades designing nuclear weapons. The acknowledged father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, he contributed perhaps more than anyone else to the military might of the USSR. But it was his top secret experience as a leading nuclear expert that was instrumental in making Sakharov one of the most courageous critics of the Soviet regime, a human rights activist and the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He helped bring down one of history’s most powerful dictatorships.

The quote is from this site. If you are not familiar with this person, I suggest you browse through the link.

Diging into cultures

Lame title, I know, but I couldn’t think of a better one and now it’s too late.

One of the things I like about living in Cyprus is that I can meet with people of different cultures. Cypriots, Greeks, British, Russians, Eastern Europeans, Indians, Phillipinos, Pakistanis, Chinese, Lebanese – these are just a subset of people living in Cyprus. Additionally, there are a couple of millions of tourists travelling in and out of country every year.

Meeting these people and talking to them, even if briefly, greatly expands the horizons of cultural understanding. Even just watching them – how they behave on their own or in the group of their countrymen or mixed with others – triggers a lot of thinking.

Continue reading “Diging into cultures”

Racism. Working on myself. Progress.

For a long time I considered myself to be a non-racist. I wasn’t judging people of other races differently. I wasn’t talking to them differently. Actually, I wasn’t minding them at all. And I’m talking about all the races now – black, white, yellow, red, whatever. All of them were the same to me. Or so I thought.

Continue reading “Racism. Working on myself. Progress.”