Sunday, December 7, 2008


A lot was said by the press about the possibility once in the Whitehouse Barrack Obama may lose access to his Blackberry. And more recently as some bits and pieces have leaked out about the plans to provide an economic stimulus and jobs initiative, one of the items recently was to do something about internet access. Anything could be better than what currently exists considering that among the advanced free-world nations the US is way down the list in providing broadband access to its citizens. And as Obama has suggested he will use the internet to be connected to the public to create a more open and accessible administration to Americans that hopefully could enable a greater participation in government by citizens. If nothing else this is also an education issue as it provides access to information for students, a digital highway to a library.

That something needs to be done beyond what the free market offers for connectivity becomes more evident every day. Unless you live in a large urban center. cable service is usually only offered by one company and that kind of monopoly makes people pay twice as much to often get fewer channels and less programming. A few years ago some communities wanted to respond to a need for more affordable broadband access by providing WiFi access, and few have succeeded mostly because their efforts have been sabotaged by the private cable and ISP companies. Why anyone should have to pay for cable TV at all is hard to imagine, just the opposite the advertisers should pay subscribers for having access to people’s homes, especially considering how much programming time is now commercials and how many channels are nothing but one long advertising commercial.

What brought this to mind was a friend who offhand mentioned she would like to get a webcam. I raised an eyebrow and she explained that it would allow her to see and visit with her grandchildren more often. When I mentioned that she would have to get broadband to replace her dial-up internet connection she was crestfallen by that wet blanket thrown on her hopes.

Although very connected myself, I have been a bit of a Luddite about having my own web site, I think mostly because so many photographer’s web sites are just a way to get people to look at their photos. Having been published in magazines for too many years now to count, that is not something I particularly need. But I do get a lot of e-mail from my Digital Help column that indicates some photographers could use some how-to help beyond what I can offer in an e-mail, and that might be satisfied by my eBook on CD. So to make the information about my CD more easily available I created a simple and free web site thanks to Google that describes my Digital Darkroom Resource CD at

In this last election there may be more hope as a result, that rather than a country divided we could become more united. We maybe need to come together to meet the challenges these bad economic times have brought us. One way is to take advantage of being connected in ways we never could in any past crisis, so I am hoping that whatever new programs are offered the idea of making it easier and less costly to be connected through the internet gets all the attention it deserves.

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