Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wireless Green Inauguration Video

Yesterday, we watched Obama take the oath via the PBS Internet video stream. The stream came to us wirelessly and was powered partly by solar energy. We take these things for granted, but it is pretty amazing when you look back.

Yesterday was Cara's 18th birthday and I am so proud of the young lady.

This milestone gives me a mark to look back at what was going on back then. In 1991, we were still pre-Web. The Internet was mostly used for email and ftp. I can remember that it was an effort to send one megabyte Sun UNIX kernels by email. We has some shell scripts to cut them up into about twenty pieces and put them back together on the other end. I was working a lot with Sun Microsystems on tuning the Sybase server back then. Sun provided me with a one gigabyte hard disk array to work with. This was very expensive; in the five figure range. The array was about twice as big as an average tower personal computer. We have come quite away technically.

Politically, things have not changed that much. When Cara was born, the US was in the air phase of the Gulf War. George H.W. Bush was bombing Iraq into the stone age. Saddam was firing SCUD missiles at Israel. There was a lot of fear that the SCUDs might be carrying nerve gas as the fell randomly on Israeli cities. I wondered what kind of a world Cara was being born into. Were we entering a new phase of chemical warfare? Would Israel retaliate with nuclear weapons?

Fortunately, all of this did not come to pass. The problems still exist and have drug out for almost two decades costing many thousands of lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, New York, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Bali and many other places.

Let us hope that we can use the current moment as an opening, a turning point for real change.

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