Here I am at around 12:30 AM local time running updates on a client's PC that was just reinstalled with Microsoft XP Media Center Edition 2005. This reinstall was done to clean up the registry and get rid of the "sluggishness" that had set in over the past 4 years of continual use. While the interminable Microsoft updates ran on that PC sitting next to my desk, I watched a movie on my personal business tower computer that is running Mandriva 2010.1 Linux. The same computer which was also downloading files in the background, periodically checking my e-mail and keeping several other software applications going simultaneously.
Suddenly, after the movie finished and I was listening to the music while the credits ran, I had an overwhelming sense of awe at how far we humans have come technologically in the last 200 years. Especially the advances that have come in just the past 50 years of my short lifetime (I am 50 this year.) suddenly seemed incredible to me. People my father's age, 70-ish, remember the Dick Tracy serial cartoon series, and Dick Tracy's video / audio two way wrist watch. At the time my father was a boy that sort of technology was Science Fiction. Today we pretty much have that technology with cellular phones. Even though cellular phones are small, they are not a wrist watch, so some companies like LG, HP and others are making the "Dick Tracy wristwatch" happen: LG Dick Tracy(ish) Wrist Watch.
Over the past 50 years much that was Science Fiction 60 to 70 years ago, or in the realm of "magic" 150 or more years ago, is now science fact. Thanks to the United States mankind has actually been to the moon and back. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of the U.S. space program and all the basic science research that went into that program we humans now have ever smaller microprocessors, personal computers, cell phone technology, advanced plastics, and more technological afvances than I can recall while sitting here. That space program was money well spent. We need to do more of that. Much more.
Thanks to some other pioneers of the technology age I have an awesome operating system that runs on my space race inspired PC. Of course I mean Linux which was begun by that Linus fellow. Over the past 15+ years Linux the kernel has matured into "Linux" the marketing term for a powerful, stable, fast, secure, wondrously user-friendly, complete operating system with the help of GNU, X, various GUI window managers, desktop projects and more Free Open Source Software than I will ever need to use.
I am blessed with an embarrassment of technological riches that for the most part I take for granted … except for this morning. This morning I am allowing my mind to experience awe and wonder at the technological marvels within reach of my desk chair. I can only ponder where the next 50 years will take us, provided we humans are still here in 50 years.
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