The President's Message

May 2004

David Harris

Lost without a computer:

Just returned from a 16-day working Miami-to-L.A. cruise. Wow! Do I miss my computer? Yes! I finally admit I am addicted. Can you imagine having to pay 60 cents a minute to use a computer? That's what the cruise lines charge at sea, and as addicted as I am I can not justify that cost. No e-mail, no eBay, no USA Today to read and no way to shop for days at a time. I call that roughing it. I was anxiously awaiting our five port stops so I could find an Internet Cafe to satisfy my addiction.

You arrive and go ashore, don't speak Spanish and try to ask directions to an Internet Cafe. Finally I found one and paid my $1 USD for an hour's use. I sit down at one of the many cubby holes they have (30+) and enter to retrieve my e-mail. Slow! These countries are lucky to get 24K on their dialup. It takes forever to read my mail and, delete the spam as they don't use spam blockers. Now I want to send an e-mail. I put in the first part of the address and can't find the @, don't want to look stupid and ask, as I am an experienced user. I finally find it on an Alpha key to the lower right of the main character. How do you access it? I finally asked and found out holding Control/Alt is the answer to create a @. This was quite an experience.

To explain why the Internet Cafes are so popular: In these poor countries the people can't afford to buy a computer and pay for the ISP. The students do all their research at an Internet Cafe. The plus side is that another $1 USD gets you a cold Corona as you use your computer. This was quite an experience, and I pass it along to those who travel.

In July I will be working again cruising the Baltic Sea and can't wait for the European experiences with the computer. I loosely use the word "work" as I am a gentleman dance host hired aboard to dance with the unattached ladies. A rough job that someone has to do. It brought me out of my 7-year retirement.