This past weekend, I looked up the personal websites of a number of my new coworkers. I know their names, I have their Google profiles forced from our work emails, for a number I was able to find their twitter accounts or use their github profile to find their sites.
Most of the accounts point to plain sites: a one page site with a fancy font and few words, usually the developer's name and a small number of links pointing a visitor off to other locations on the web where the coworker is more active, more engaged.
For one coworker, his personal URL didn't connect. It resolved, but the web server never answered my request. As he is an immigrant, I thought maybe the delay was because his server was on the other side of the world.
This morning, I mentioned it to him. Confused, he typed in his URL and watched as the browser status bar informed us of its "Connecting..." status, without actually getting through. "Yep, that's what I got," I said.
He shrugged. "Probably because I stopped paying them," he commented, then typed in nearly the same URL, but with a new TLD. It, too, didn't resolve. He shrugged again, seemingly unconcerned about the loss of his domain name.
I find the thought of caring little about a domain name, a place staked out on the web, stunning. It is so antithetical to my way of thinking, I nearly can't comprehend it. I struggle to put any of my data in a location outside of my control (Flickr is great for pictures, I have them stored locally; Gmail is great for email, I have my own server; github is great for social coding, i keep my code on my own servers), that not having a place to put my notes and pages and thoughts and projects, is like, well, like not having clothes, or going somewhere without my backpack, or a pen and index cards. Or, I guess for some people, without their phone.
It's just weird, and strange, and utterly foreign to me.
I want to think his concept of permanence is that there isn't any. That he takes the Buddhism point of view of life being changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance. That he accepts the true lack of permanence in this physical world, and reflects that in the online world.
I want to think this. And I want some of the acceptance that comes with that belief.
Unrelated to that desire, I will express delight about when he asked about my site, and stared at me when I told him "kay eye dot tee tee." After a few moments, and repeating the URL, he asked, "That's it?!" Total delight.
And unrelated to everything in this post, apparently you can write a blog post on a phone on a commute home.