Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A wonderful Wednesday

In these post-modern times there are times when in addition to my normal wonder, I really wonder.

Fifteen years ago a Chinese professor said to me "Don't call me, just send me an email." So, I got a modem and an Internet connection (Park Region Telephone) and figured out how to send him an email. There was this icon of a paper plane leaving the solar system and simultaneously a Nike wannabe swoosh sound as my email took off for the wild blue yonder. I wondered and knew things had changed.

Five years ago the woman whose car I was buying pulled into my driveway with her first generation Toyota Prius Hybrid. The engine was not running. She pulled into my garage. Still silence. I wrote her an old-fashioned check. I wondered and knew things had changed.

Today I was riding on a school bus west of town when from middle of the bus I heard a kid shout "Are you downloading yet?" Downloading? Elementary students downloading on their way to school? I asked how one could download on a school bus. They proudly showed me their Nintendo DS machines and said they wished they could upgrade to the new DSi. "Can you send a message to somebody else on the bus?" "Yes we can, we use our Nintendos or text on our cell phones." I pulled out my G3 iPhone. "Is that an iPhone?" I punched up Google Earth touched the location circle and Google haloed the school bus as we drove towards town, sometimes getting ahead of itself having to put itself in reverse when we took an unexpected turn due to all the closed roads. The kids were impressed. Such a small battery, such a tiny electrical charge, sending out a signal, picked up by and transmitted back by something, somewhere up there that I had helped pay for and could now in late middle age enjoy for free.

I wonder where, how and what next.

If only every kid had an iPhone for the bus ride, knew how to and could find an answer to every wonder. When, I wonder.

Then, when there is no more wonder, what then, I really wonder.

Ushahidi is an example of what's next:

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