If I'm going to solve problems, I have to be honest with myself. I hate to make the substantial post of this section a con post, but this is what's on my mind right now.
I'm out of the loop.
Our little research group (the four of us - three grad students and one faculty member - has iChat, Gmail, grouphub, virtual worlds and games, and cell phones.
And yet, I have met with my advisor once individually - in August. She has met with the other two at least weekly.
What's the difference? Free time. Evenings and weekends when there are no formal meetings and classes. Time for breakfast and lunch and beer. Time to establish a more collegial and less formal relationship. Time to chat. Time to develop rapport.
At a distance, this is difficult to develop. So, I pose it as a barrier to implementation of a hybrid Ph.D. that needs to be addressed: how do you develop a good working relationship with a research advisor long distance?