Subtle Coolness · chrono index · alpha index

The information speed barrier

by William Jackson on 2007-03-30

My friend had a couch delivered to her apartment. I happened to be present atthe time, just not physically. I was talking with her using an instant messagingclient as the couch was entering her apartment, and she emailed pictures to mealmost immediately after it was placed in her living room. Total time: aboutthree minutes.

Ten years ago, it would have gone down like this: My friend has a couchdelivered. She takes pictures of it, then doesnʼt finish that particularroll of film for two weeks. She takes the film to the lab to have it developed,and returns the following day to pick up the pictures. She writes me a letterdescribing the couch and how fond she is of it. She encloses a photograph or twowith the letter and drops it in her mailbox one evening. The postman picks it upthe next day, and it lands in my mailbox three days later. Total time: aboutthree weeks.