It seems like a lifetime ago that we lived on the east coast, thousands of miles and a few timezones away from family. It was a time when staying in touch with family required real effort; the tools to keep in touch were primitive and slow. By dim candlelight I would play sysadmin at home and dutifully pay for and maintain a humble private server that hosted teetering.org's mail, photos, and blog posts, endlessly configuring and upgrading countless settings and options while seated at my crude wooden computer and chalkboard monitor.
But now we're back on the west coast, and technology has moved well beyond the venerable smoke-billowing computing machines of yore. Today I play sysadmin for far more time consuming projects, and the free image, mail, and blog hosting from The Google do a far better job keeping their systems up to date and secure than I could ever do in my spare time, responding to vulnerabilities faster than you can type "apt-get upgrade".
Moreover, social networks like Orkut (yeah! Orkut rocks!) and facebook (which is trash) do a better job of informing family about important events like how many cavities Aly's dentist found last week than long rambling blog entries, that -- despite their banality -- require a considerable amount of effort to keep up to date.