The tyranny of distance reduced by a 241 mm x 186 mm tablet.

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I haven’t blogged very much recently, because my cyberspace attention has been taken by my birthday present. The Ipad 2.

Like any toy whether a new train set at 8 or an iPad at 50 the behaviour is the same.  You use it a lot, and it’s heaps of fun.  Tweeting during a TV program makes it double the fun.  For instance last night (Monday) we had the Masterchef’s UN challenge.  As the contestants were doing their stuff I was reading the #masterchef tweets, as I was cooking a ragu .  Something I couldn’t do in the kitchen without the iPad.  I was able to also join in and chide my fellow tweeters on their negative comments about Ellie.  Somehow they were blaming her because the waiters were flirting with her.  It didn’t seems to be her fault! And while Ellie is young enough to be my daughter,  I can understand how a 20 something male would be making a beeline for her.

Then I entertained myself in tweeting during Q&A with Julia Gillard.  Berating the misinformed comments of some tweeters is somewhat cathartic.

But the best ever app for me is something called TuneIn Radio Pro.

To understand why I love this app so much and what meaning it has for me you must understand my history.

When I came to Australia I never wanted to sever my ties to Italy.  Despite coming here 37 years ago (which in a lifetime, is a bloody long time) and despite coming here just a month after I turned 13, I never wanted to forget my past.  Perhaps this is why I have an accent (and why some people are surprised that after all this time, and my young age when I arrive I still do so).  Apart from 37 years of people asking me where I come from (which is a bit tiring after all this time – but also places me in a ‘foreigner’ category, which is uncomfortable in a country where I lived most of my life) it is a small price to pay for still being fluent in Italian.

Perhaps my determination to maintain this link was because coming to Australia was a decision made for me due to my young age.  All throughout my life in Australia I still thought about my childhood (which is neatly encompassed in Italy, as by coincidence, I arrived in Australia at the start of my adolescence).  I got interested in shortwave radio and even got a novice amateur licence  (which I never used).  I can see now that these were attempts in somehow reduce a sense of isolation being in Australia, which I felt (and somewhat still do) is distant from where most of my cultural references belong.  Initially I got into shortwave radio because I wanted to listen to the RAI (the Italian National Broadcaster) service.  Unfortunately their broadcasts were not strong enough to be listened to most days.  But I still listened to other European radios.  It made me feel more connected.  Somehow, as I sat in front of my FRG-7 shortwave radio, I felt that the stream of electrons emanating from Europe to my radio in Carlton was a direct connection to that world I left behind.  I really felt in my own way the influence of the tyranny of distance.

This was in the early 80’s.  This was the time when things like the ‘Protocol’ TCP/IP’ was something only used in some universities and Domain Name Systems were just a twinkle in someone’s brain and of course there was no internet to speak of .  If we got a newspaper from Italy it was made of rice paper (to lessen the weight) and it came a month late.  Writing and receiving a letter was an event, and of course you only spoke by phone once a year (usually around Christmas) and it had to be done through an operator, it had to be booked and it costed a fortune (about $13 a minute..in 1975!).

Now with the internet I can read most Italian publications online even before they hit the streets in Italy.  I can watch videos, I can keep in touch with Italian friends and relatives instantly and cheaply through Facebook and email and Skype.

But it is radio that still has a fascination to me, and here is where my Ipad and TuneIn Radio Pro comes to its own.  I can connect the device to my Hi Fi, or listen anywhere in my house through headphones in my loungeroom or comfy in my bed to a huge number of Italian radios, digitally clear and in stereo.  Truly a marvellous invention.  I feel that distance is much less tyrannical that it was before.

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1 Comment

Filed under Musings

One response to “The tyranny of distance reduced by a 241 mm x 186 mm tablet.

  1. Alex

    And yet, can I listen to the footy on the radio from the UK…? The only way I’ve successfully managed it is to skype someone back home who puts the radio on!

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