Within the last 24 hours I’ve had two experiences that remind me of how tenuous our connection is to others.

  1. Yesterday, I was at the library to return several books and pick up a hold. As I went to check out using the digitally connected self-check out station, I got an “out of service” message. Not thinking much of it, as I had received that message before, I moved to another machine. And got the same message! So I went to the main desk. There was a person in front of me; she was taking a lot of time. Turns out it wasn’t her; it was the internet (or intranet, don’t know which). There was no connection! After several minutes, a paper system was implemented and I was assured that the book would be listed by this evening. That the library had a back up system impressed me; I’ve often wondered what would happen if the electricity went out for a long periods of time since the card catalogs are no longer available.
  2. Also, yesterday, I received a phone call on my office land line (!), which is a rare occurrence these days. On the other end was a long time friend and colleague. We are working feverishly on finishing a NDE volume. We have an August 22 deadline and I will be out of town taking my youngest daughter to college. Family trumps everything. He was calling because the gardeners at his condo had cut the cable to his internet, television, and most importantly, his wi-fi. He couldn’t Skype me (our usual form of communication)! He didn’t expect resumption of service until the next day (August 20 at 9:47am PT he went back on line–he lives in the Eastern Time Zone).

Much of what we do today is electronic. Most people don’t have their smart phones further away from them than their arm is long. On it, they can answer email, send texts, check the internet, use GPS, and other things. Those of us who are still learning to have their cell phones (smart or not) with us on a regular basis are certainly challenged. We as evaluators depend greatly on electronics and electronic communications. I think it is important that Don Dillman and his colleagues have once again updated their book on surveys and the tailored design method. The fourth edition of the book is out (it has an August, 2014 publication date according to Wiley) 9781118456149.pdf. I’ve ordered it. The version I currently have on my desk  (the third edition)698685_cover.indd has the word “internet” in the title.  Even though there are many others who (I’m sure) are just as knowledgeable about surveys, he is still my go-to person. Don Dillman wrote the book on surveys. I use the internet for electronic versions of surveys, IRB, e-invites, and publication submissions. I would be severely challenged if I weren’t able to use the internet. Think about it. What other evaluation activities would you NOT be able to do without an electronic connection? A lot, I’m sure.

my  two cents.



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