“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”Cicero

For me, there is much to be grateful for this year. Of course, there are all the “usual suspects” such as health, wealth, and happiness and the love of family, the companionship of friends, and even the kindness of strangers. And at this time of year such things flood the mind. In prior years, I have ennumerated a lot of random things that I acknowledged I was thankful for, but this year, I thought I’d focus on things in the online world for which I am immensely grateful. So put on your surfing duds and hang on for the ride.

In December of 2004 I was finally successful in talking my friend Paul Moor, who lives in Berlin, into getting himself a headset and downloading Skype, and since that time he and I have had an almost daily conversation over Skype that often lasts from 30 minutes to over an hour. During these conversations, I am treated to his relating the tales of his life with some notable people and through some eventful times. Seldom does a conversation pass that I don’t learn something new that I hadn’t known before. So Skype is one of the top items on my list of electronic blessings.

This year has brought me a number of new e-Friends, which is to say people whom I know primarily through our contact on the Internet. I know I’ll fail to list some so I’ll apologize in advance to those whom I leave out. I don’t mean to slight you, because I value you all. But among my new e-Friends this year are James Prudente, the author of MixCastLive, Tom Simpson, the webmaster at WebfeedCentral and a fellow MixCastLive beta tester, Colm Smyth, an Irish software designer and blogger whose commitment to commenting at the blogs he visited has fostered an e-friendship between us, David Steele, who is an old friend but a new blogger, and Shel Israel, who is perhaps most famous for being the co-author with Robert Scoble of the upcoming book on business blogging, Naked Conversations. And those are just a few of the new acquaintenances I’ve made this year. I am also grateful for the many old friends and family with whom I maintain contact through the Internet.

I am also grateful for the discoveries I have made on the Internet that provide constant entertainment and education. Among the ones I have really enjoyed this year are Wikipedia, del.icio.us, Flickr, WordPress, the Gimp, Feeddemon, TightVNC, No-IP, Flock, Firefox, and Mememorandum (Tech), which only barely scratches the surface.

And I’ve enjoyed and am grateful for the opportunity to continue this experiment in blogging, now into my fourth year. I am excited about the potential it offers for collaboration with others and for meeting new friends. I am hopeful about the ill-defined but exciting opportunity that the so-called “Web 2.0” presents. I’m delighted and grateful for the many, many contributions to the general good that the Open Source movement has made. And I’m awed by the fact that so many of the contributors to that movement are in their late teens and early twenties. But I am encouraged that many who are my age and older are learning to use this new and marvelous tool we call the Internet.

For all of the conflict, suffering and strife that exists in the world and in this country, I think this is a great time to be alive and to be sharing in the progress we’re making together. My hope is that we learn from the things that collaboration online has taught us and that somehow we are able to do a better job of translating that into the real world of concrete reality.


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