When we awake, we have to figure out where we are. This may be easy for you, but it’s not for me, because I am apparently an extreme systemizer and cannot keep from thinking about things in the way I’ll present here.
When I press my internal on button and begin to log my brain onto to the consciousness server, I’ll be on my second cup of coffee before I know my place in the universe. There are many connections to verify, a process that takes a few minutes.
First, I need to locate myself geographically, based on latitude: 36° 38.5, longitude: -94° 44.6.
Galaxy: Milky Way
Solar system: Sun
Continent: North America
Physiographic Region: Ozark Highlands
Physiographic sub-region White River Hills
Climate zone: Humid sub-tropical
USDA Plant Hardiness zone: 6b
Watershed: Atlantic Ocean
Sub-watershed Mississippi River
Sub-Sub-watershed White River
Time Zone UTC-6
I should have gone into considerably more detail on geography, especially biomes.
Geography is the best part of the answer to the question of where am I, but I also live in a political world, subject to governmental authorities, which control and tax me; issue currency; provide me with roads, mail service and drinking water; collect and treat my wastewater; and stand ready to extinguish a house fire, educate my kids (I’m not sure that the school system taught my kids where they were at the level of detail that I think is appropriate), and haul me to the jail or hospital when I need to go.
Country: United States of America
US Congressional District: Seventh
Zip Code 65616-3114
Census Tract: 9801
State senate district: 29
State representative district: 62
School District Branson R-IV
Ambulance District Taney County Ambulance District
Where am I in the Cyber World?
All of the foregoing is important, but I live and work in a cybernetic world, defined by communication systems. My location from a geographic and political perspective is mostly defined by a fixed point (the latitude and longitude of my property and my person), but location in the cyberworld has to do with membership in domains and connections to fluid networks, some of which change in the course of a day.
Languages: American English. I’m on the border between two dialect groups, Midland and Mountain Southern. In my work, I speak to other lawyers, using that kind of language, as well as people from around the country and people who have come to the Ozarks from other places. I have to pay attention to how we use spoken and written language and non-verbal signals.
Landline telephone: I have a 417 334-XXXX home number, which originated in Branson, Missouri, but it has been ported from the old carrier to a CLEC. I can take the number anywhere.
Cell phone: My Verizon cell phone connects to towers wherever in Verizon’s CDMA system that I go. Because it is a BlackBerry, it also connects to the BlackBerry radio system. In remote areas, I may have Verizon phone service, but no BlackBerry radio connection for data.
Office phone: When I closed my Branson office, I kept my Branson phone number, which rings at the Ozark office, but is forwarded to my Verizon cell phone. My office phone system uses VOIP, which means my phones are plugged into the internet, so that I could get local calls from Branson, even if I plugged my phone in an internet connection in Africa.
Computer networks: I have a network in my house, which is wired and wireless (protected by encryption). I can connect my laptop from home, via the internet, to my office network.
While my iPad, Mac, BlackBerry and Windows computers don’t always connect well with one another though my networks, my Gmail is equally accessible from all of them, using IMAP to keep my inboxes synchronized. I also use Dropbox.com to share and synchronize files across the various kinds of devices that I use.
Television: DirectTV satellite.
Next time you see me, you probably won’t ask, “How are you?”