Thursday, January 15

New Tech in a Grand Ol' Paese

I promise you, I am not growing soft in this New Year.

But today, I took a detour off the information superhighway, to sort of pause, look up to the sky, and think about what had just taken place. As I write this, I’m watching live coverage of the outstanding 'water landing' of the US Airways flight (which would explain my sometimes awkward grammar). Earlier today, I would grow impatient when my connection stalled momentarily. The nerve!

So, while sitting at my desk, I get an email from my sister telling me that the front door to my building was open and also that she was looking, but couldn’t find, my car. She was not across the street.
She was in Detroit.
I wrote back that the door now stays open as a Benvenuto! for burglars due to the fact that a tenant (for lack of a more appropriate adjective) on the ground floor is a compulsive smoker of repulsive Toscana cigars, and is little by little gassing us all to death. As for my car, it was around the corner.

And it struck me, how my own great aunt must have felt the first time she either saw a plane flying overhead during WWII or the first time she herself took a plane to America to visit us (I believe in 1964). On her last trip to America in the 90s, she still confided that she would not believe the plane wasn’t going to drop right out of that sky…Although today's events would have sort of proved that theory correct.
Living in the 20th century, she got to see the advent of telephones, the automobile, and, I’d add to that, her prized Folletto vacuum cleaner. Although she always had a conflictual relationship with freezers and clothes dryers. Every once in awhile I would catch her baking potatoes right in the fireplace, just because she could.

And I think that in our lifetimes we take all of these technological developments truly for granted, almost with cynicism…C’mon, you don’t have the latest version of Leopard, geezzzz???!!! I for one still think faxes work by a strange mix of metaphysical willpower and mental telepathy…Basically, you hold the vision of the page in your mind…and it arrives at the other end.

As we venture further into the 21st century, maybe there will be new things to be in awe about, but it seems in the meantime, we’ve grown quite accustomed to daily arrivals of new technology; especially since they no longer take the form of planes or spacecraft. Although I might say that living in Italy, where a most common letter may never really find its final destination, truly makes you appreciate the wonders of email.

But, I leave you with one person’s response: While working on a project about video surveillance (basically what GoogleMaps is all about), a comment made by someone on youtube stated that every so often he simply pauses, looks up at the big blue sky, and gives it the finger.

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