He ain't heavy, he's my brother


Snail Mail - Capel St Andrew.

Image via Wikipedia


First, a little something for your ear. Dedicated to all my Indie Brother’s and Sisters.

Last Friday night I had a chat with my brother. It turned into a two hour chat. He was somewhere north of Lake Macquarie, about three and half hours north of Sydney on a beach. He’d rented a house there for the weekend. They had a long holiday down under. So he bailed early on Friday evening. I was at home, writing and blogging. And we chatted, about everything, for about two hours.

So here’s the thing. How much did that two hour conversation cost? Nothing. That’s how much. Skype with video was used. So OK I pay for the bandwidth, but if I slice my monthly fee into hourly segments it ends up the same as nearly nothing. Back in 1989 when I first came to live in Thailand. That same chat cost me US$3-00 per minute or US$360-00. The only other alternatives to communicate were fax, telex or snail mail. A short while later we had email via UUNET and the Eudora email client – woo hoo – blindingly fast with a 12 hour turnaround. We collected the UUNET packets in bulk twice a day.

To me that change in our ability to communicate with each other is magical. Something to be cherished, protected and appreciated.

In twenty-one years the changes in technology allow me to communicate, nearly free, with my family, practically wherever I am in the world. I travel quite a bit, mostly around Asia, my first requirement for a hotel – do you have wi-fi? Most still insist on you plugging a cable in, but most now don’t charge for it (that applies only if you have “Club” status). I know this isn’t news or even new, but I think it is worthwhile to sometimes stop and look back.

We’ve come a long way in a short time.


About Simon Royle

Thinking about the future, and how to affect positive change for that future.
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2 Responses to He ain't heavy, he's my brother

  1. Stanislav from Slovakia says:

    This is exactly rant I like to give.
    My brother in law lived in London and I could talk to him for hours for a few eurocents per hour using Skype. If we were using phone company service we would have paid hundreds of euros. I grumble, because I used strictly the same facilities, cables and resources I would have used if I used landline telephone. I use ADSL connection, so I was even using the same company. The only difference is, they *can* charge insane prices for phone conversation. By insane, I mean thousand TIMES more than when you use Skype.

  2. Simon Royle says:

    Totally agree. I have moved entire company onto using Skype. Flying around Asia and talking to the other offices while on the move is expensive. A couple of months ago my mobile phone bill was US$2,000. That’s not a typo. I got everyone on Skype. Last month total phone bill US$250. Still high, but a lot better.
    It will take time, but I am of the opinion that mobile will eventually go the way of land-lines. With 3g or 4g and Skype on a mobile how will the international charge for business stack up.
    Another thing that is as disgraceful as phone charges – Bank charges. It usually costs me US$20-00 to transfer money anywhere. I do banking systems, I know how much it costs – 0, that’s how much. Come the day …

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