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Europeans slow to connect


Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 8/20/2002

By DAVE SMALLEY

IN THE STATES, many of us are blessed with the opportunity to own a personal computer. We get Instant Messenger, superfast Internet connections and the ability to log on whenever we want.

But as I travel in Europe, I’ve discovered that many of the Europeans I meet either do not own a computer, or have one with a modem built approximately in 1810, with a speed only slightly higher than Keanu Reeves’ intellect-in other words, quite slow indeed.

The big thing here is Internet cafés. Sure, we have them in the States, and even have our cool new one in Fredericksburg. But in Europe, it’s both fashion and necessity. It can add up to an expensive habit, particularly in London, one of the coolest but most expensive cities in the world. Still, once an Internet slave, always an Internet slave-as the packed Internet cafés here demonstrate.

So here I sit at a flat-screen computer at a café in London, watching my minutes tick by and quickly trying to check my e-mail, read the it! and MyLine stories online and compose this column.

I guess, in a way, it’s nice not to be computer-accessible all the time, not to have Instant Messenger-to have time to walk around and have conversations and see the world. Of course, having said that, I’ll be happy to get back home to my iMac and all the worthless Internet time one could ever want.