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I've lived with some sort of online communication for more than a decade now. Back then, at my former job in San Jose, CA, I needed to be in daily touch with my colleagues in Hong Kong, where I had also worked. We had a clunky modem setup that, however imperfect, freed us from the tyranny of trans-Pacific calls at strange hours and the cumbersome fax machine — a machine that, just a few short years earlier, seemed the last word in modern telecommunications.

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