Despite appearance, the blog hasn't yet disappeared. I was on family vacation somewhere tropical.
Even though I was on vacation, it didn't always feel like vacation. With a consulting engagement that required a full-day phone call, several papers to deal with, some unfortunate emergency administrative stuff that came up for a later trip this summer, and various other administrivia, work was with me more on vacation than I would have liked. I'm not the sort that minds bringing some work along on vacation (often to my wife's annoyance), but this time it felt, even to me, like much more of an intrusion.**
The same seemed to be true for my brothers and sister-in-law, however. They're all in business (of various sorts) and having to deal with mail, sit in on conference calls, and otherwise work while nominally on vacation seemed like the norm. There's been plenty written in mainstream media about this (a little random searching yields examples like this), so it's not exactly new, either for me or my family. But the magnitude of it -- and the expectations of others about one's accessibility -- definitely seems to have increased substantially since our last similar family vacation.
On a day-to-day basis, I don't mind the "blurring" of work and non-work time; I appreciate that my job lets me walk my kids to school in return for having to put in some hours after they go to bed. But as a society the level of this blurring seems very dramatic, and I think we'll be figuring out the consequences for years to come.
**I'd exclude my co-authors from this statement. They've actually been quite lenient and understanding; I admit, however, to some guilt in being busy the week before the SODA deadline.