A tech veteran is boldly going where few of his friends and colleagues dare follow - he has cut his links to cyberspace and hit the road to find out more about life on the other side of the Digital Divide. For the past 20 years, Steve Cisler has proudly worn the badge of one of the world's digerati. How could he not? The 61-year-old lives in the heart of Silicon Valley, and he worked at that holy grail of computers, Apple. He also set up many projects around the globe to help others get online. But this week Mr Cisler has pulled the plug on his link to cyberspace and is now a man living life offline.
"A lot of the people I know and work with see those offline as needing to be saved, that they are doomed if they are not online. But I don't believe that. I think the vast majority of people believe there is more to life than the internet." Such talk is practically heresy in a part of the world that's earned its fame and fortune from computers and the world wide web. But Mr Cisler hasn't gone to the dark side without good reason. His decision to cut the umbilical cord with his internet service provider is being done in the name of research.
Cisler is going travelling to find out how the unconnected live. His laptop is going with him, but not for going online. He's typing up entries for a weblog that a friend is posting for him, called unconnected. From the weblog FAQ (frequently asked questions):
By car, I will begin by visiting sites in California, and then travel to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Later, I will go to Mexico. If that trip goes well, I will visit other countries where I have worked on technology projects over the past ten years.
In addition, I am corresponding with theorists, academics, government employees, and activists to learn more about technology resisters, prisoners, the handicapped, and marginalized groups that are not using the Internet. As the Pew study shows a significant number of average folks have dropped off the Net. This is important.
This is one weblog I'm going to keep an eye on.