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Web Informant
Mappa.Mundi Magazine
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David Strom is a networking and communications consultant based in Port Washington, NY. Along with Marshall Rose, he co-authored
Internet Messaging: From the Desktop to the Enterprise (Prentice Hall).

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Links that are related to the article:

» Blur : The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy by Stanley M. Davis, Christopher Meyer
Blur : The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy
Buy This Book Today!

» Merriam-Webster OnLine
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Internet Messaging
Buy the Book Today!
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Editor's Choice
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Check out these past articles by David Strom hand-picked by the staff at Mappa Mundi.

» The hidden privacy hazards of HTML E-mail
» What becomes a location most?
» A letter from Nepal
» Preserving online archives
» Why search engines are clueless

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By David Strom, Web Informant Archives »
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The Big Blur

Web Informant #196, 20 April 2000

      People used to demarcate [work and home life] rigidly, not just with time clocks but even down to the tenor of their conversation. More often than not, an executive would "put on his game face" walking in the office door. Hour-long commutes home served as the decompression chamber. Now, of course, work goes home with you. Managers check their voice mail while the pasta is cooking and compose e-mail while the baby naps. Even Sybil couldn't switch personalities that fast. For better or for worse, in the blurred world, the "work you" and the "home you" have to meld.

      -- from the book "Blur" by Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer

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Self-promotions dep't
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I have been busy writing and here are some of the places you can find my latest work. I continue to write the "Web Watch" column for SDTimes (SD = Software Development). My latest column describes the Tweak Team that Intuit used to incrementally improve their Web site.

A comparative review of several network-attached storage devices for Network World appeared this week, giving kudos to the Quantum Snap server.

In my work with Core Competence on our on-going compendium of Internet appliances, we have posted a review of's NetWinder. The NetWinder combines Internet applications with intra-office collaboration, file and print sharing.

My earlier Web Informant essay on the perils of HTML e-mail has been reprinted and expanded by this week as well.

I continue to write a weekly series of essays for IDG's entitled, "E-Commerce in Action, latest trends and best practices." If you'd like to subscribe, check the box next to that title, they will be sent to your e-mail box each Wednesday.

A review of one of the simplest Web servers, called SimpleServer from AnalogX, appeared in's Serverwatch recently. If you need a very basic server and want to get it running quickly, look no further.

Finally, a look at how two publications conducted reviews of wireless LAN products appears in Sam Whitmore's Media Survey. However, you'll need to be a member to read the full article.

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      There is no doubt that the Internet has brought about more blur in our lives. I used to think this was a Good Thing, and wanted to chronicle these developments much like a parent would take note of baby's first steps, first words, and other firsts.

      In the past year, all of my relatives got connected and we all now send e-mails to each other on a regular basis. This past tax season was the first time I was able to complete my taxes without having to send Uncle Sam any paper at all. Most of my other bill paying is now accomplished online, all in the interests of saving time. Most of our gifts are purchased via online storefronts such as Amazon, eToys and the like. At family gatherings, the discussion quickly moves to the latest hot Internet stock and who is going public next week, along with the relative merits of using broadband cable to access the net.

      My daughter thinks nothing of composing her homework on Word, flipping over to the Internet Webster dictionary to find a definition, and back to Word to finish her assignment. When I asked her why she used, rather than find the printed copy of the dictionary, she just looked at me like I was from another planet - it has become part of her daily routine, to say nothing of Instant Messaging her friends far and wide.

      I gave a presentation at her school to all the fourth and fifth graders the other day. The session was held in the computer lab at the school, with a reasonably fast Internet connection and a nice large-screen monitor, so that all the kids could see the Web sites I had chosen. It was a speech similar to one I would have given at any professional conference (other than the audience, of course), using equipment and level of Internet access that I would expect to have. It occurred to me after the presentations that no one thought this was remarkable in any way - even the teachers took the constant presence of the Internet in their classrooms for granted.

      I am not so sure that I want my work and home selves to meld any further than they already are. On one hand, it is nice to have our industry become so mainstream, and have a ready topic of conversation around the dinner table. And the convenience of having all this information at one's fingertips is certainly nice. But the big blur also means that I now spend lots more time outside of nine-to-five working than I'd like. It takes no time to pad down to the kitchen in the morning and check my e-mail before I even have breakfast. I worry that I have a new addiction: I can't go a few hours without seeing my messages.

      If you were expecting me to provide a prescription for dealing with the big blur, I'm sorry but I still have plenty of conflict here. Part of me wants to approach the problem as a computing professional, and part of me wants to deal with it as just an ordinary carbon-life form. I guess that in itself is telling. Of course, I welcome your own suggestions as always. In the meantime, I'm taking a few days' off from reading e-mail. Really. Starting tomorrow.

 Copyright © 1999, 2000

      Web Informant copyright 2000 by David Strom, Inc., reprinted by permission
Web Informant is ® registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
ISSN #1524-6353 registered with U.S. Library of Congress.

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