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December 7, 2006

Thinking about James Kim

Posted by Kristi Heim at 12:05 PM

Yesterday it felt like the world was searching for James Kim. The digital world that Kim knew so well pulsed with information, and we wanted to know more, captivated by his plight and the image of his instantly likeable face.

Today we are searching for answers that may never come. When a reporter here saw the first story that his body was found and read the news to our small tech team, the sadness and disappointment struck like a physical blow. More than 2,000 comments followed CNET's announcement Wednesday, and many people who never knew the man were in tears.

Earlier this week, when the search for Kim dragged on, I began to feel angry. Why with all the technology we glorify was there not an easier solution for finding him? Others lamented: if only he had OnStar or GPS.

Now I wonder whether we all put too much faith in technology. Maybe it makes us feel invincible. Sure we can operate a BlackBerry while driving. Sure we can get to our destination in 4.5 hours; it says so in the convenient directions we pulled up in seconds over the Internet. If not, we have a mobile phone, so we can just call.

Kim lived in ultra-wired San Francisco, where he wrote about tech gadgets and was "always connected," as his friends described. What epic struggle must happened out there when he was all alone fighting to find any help for his family?

At the end of the day, we are all just flesh and blood, capable of wrong turns, vulnerable to even small variations in temperature, fortunate for every day we can take a breath. As the virtual world mourns James Kim, that might be something to remember.

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Tricia Duryee
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Kristi Heim
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