15 July, 2007
My father retired at an early age. He and my mother went to live on a pearl of an island, Grenada, in the Caribbean.
When they moved to Grenada in the 70s, long distance telephone rates were exorbitant. The one thorn in my father’s existence was how little the telephone company, British Cable & Wireless, offered their customers and at what shamefully ridiculous prices. (You have to understand that my father had worked all his professional life in telecommunications. A field, he felt, that must always be innovative, forever changing, and even revolutionary.) So, he just couldn’t live quietly with Cable & Wireless being stuck somewhere in the 1960s, before Grenada got their independence, with their British executives and managers, colonial attitudes and customer policies.
Every opportunity he got, he used new technology to out-manoeuvrer the C&W stronghold. We communicated via email when email was a separate Internet service, via voice over with those first slow modems, and via satellite phone when the technology was clunky and expensive. He went to great lengths to introduce technology to their quiet island existence.
I really wish he was alive today and reaping the benefits of broadband and all the wonderful Web 2.0 applications. He could rejoice in free services. He would experience schadenfreude at C&W unsuccessful efforts to keep apace of all of these innovations. But mostly, he could create his individual organic electronic symphony which he always dreamed of.