Getting Mary connected with her own netbook seemed like a really good idea. Partitioning the Outlook accounts so the 'family' one only goes to her machine (duly backed up when I get round to it on the external hard drive) seems logical. Making sure the shared folders work (give or take) across the mixed Vista/XP network seems OK. It's all part of the evolution of our family network (I didn't think I'd be typing that a few years ago), as the ancient (i.e. 5 year old) laptop won't even run with Ubuntu...
But is it so good when we are sat together on my day off, putting off the jobs we should be doing, tapping at our keyboards within a couple of feet of each other? We are not e-communicating with each other, or Skyping across the same room (must get Skype fully set up!), but the image to the beholder would be one that is alarmingly technologically separated!
But is it so separated? With a network of friends scattered thinly over the world and thickly over the United Kingdom, real human relationships can be maintained or even intensified through the lens of technological relationship. I have met others who have found (and I have personally experienced) the intensity of virtual-only friendship, the blurring of the boundary of posted knowledge and face-to-face encounters. And (as I feel duty bound to do) I must reflect on the presence of God in these 'non-places.' Wherever people meet, share their lives, feel pain, ask the big questions - God is there to be encountered. Sacred places easily include internet-based space.
...and I still smile at an online debate on sacramentalism online - does the bread and wine get consecrated on a table in Australia if the president says the words in a study in Oxford, but both worshippers are present in a chat room hosted in ... who knows where?