Technology "Wow!" Moment

September 12, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Musings 350 views

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I just had a “Wow!” moment while chatting with a friend who made the comment “Isn’t technology amazing?”, or something similar. So I evaluated what technology was doing for me at that instant. I was, simultaneously:

  1. Chatting with a friend over Google Talk using a Jabber-compatible client (iChat)
  2. Viewing the screen of a coworker on another continent
  3. Having a VOIP telephone conversation with said coworker
  4. Hosting a development web server for another coworker to make some database updates to
  5. Downloading and installing an operating system upgrade for my iPhone
  6. Downloading, via BitTorrent, two albums (that I already own, Mr. RIAA!)
  7. Streaming live video from a helicopter flying over Houston during the attack of Hurricane Ike

All without peaking much over 300 kibibytes per second of bandwidth. Pretty amazing.

  • Jake

    Speaking of Ike, downtown Houston is preparing for 85 mph sustained winds with higher gusts. Galveston (on the coast) and surrounding areas are most likely going to have eye-opening damage. For reference, downtown Houston is about 50 miles inland.

  • I heard they’re almost already to the predicted max storm surge of twenty feet (6m)! Wow!

    It’s good to have a correspondent there on the ground reporting in. Stay safe, Jake!

  • Paul

    Incredible. I am reminded of my first technology “wow” moment 25 years ago. I was simultaneously:

    1. Merge-printing 300 letters on a noisy daisywheel printer (think ‘electric typewriter’)

    2. Reading a computer magazine with my feet up

    We’ve come a long way.

  • Jake

    I can tell you right now we are on the western eyewall of the hurricane. It literally sounds like a train is coming by my house. Winds are very strong, being amplified by the rows of houses. I didn’t realize the different creaks and moans you hear during the height of a hurricane. It’s amazing and frightening at the same time. The power of this thing is just incredible and we are still 50 miles from the center of the eye. Debris evident in the streets, but to this point, incredibly, the power is still on…2:58 AM, CDT.

  • wow

    Don’t forget..
    8. Heating your home.

    Truly impressive, really.

  • I am continually struck by this kind of thing, too and mainly I’m amazed by the ‘then’ vs. ‘now’ contrasts, which inevitably make me feel/sound ancient.

    For example, the contrast between this afternoon, when I got all vexed because it took me 15 minutes to make the printer respond to another computer on the wireless network; vs. how when I arrived at university the mark of being truly cutting edge was that your typewriter was (gasp) electric — assuming you were lucky enough to own your own typewriter.

    Don’t get me started.

    I imagine that every generation believes such a thing to a certain extent, but I really think that those of us who were alive to see 1999 tick over into 2000 got to straddle a major upheaval in technology, particularly as it relates to social applications.

    And our kids will never believe such rubbish as, “when I was kid there were no ‘mobile’ phones” or “my first computer had a massive 40 MB hard drive. A HARD DRIVE!”

  • Paul

    Let’s make this quick. In ’68, input was paper tape fed into the tape reader, or stacked punched cards; output was on the huge wide paper line printer. Then glorious ’79 brought keyboard and monitor, with audio tape recorder input and output. Keep those programs under 16k! Then 160k floppy disk drives at $350 each. Then 180k, followed by double-sided 360k disks (except for those of us who played with 8 inch floppies, which stored an incredible 1.2 Meg each). The first PC hard drive I saw was a 5 Meg external, quickly followed by the 10 meg hard drive. The 20 meg hard drive went on for years. After that, I lost track.

  • I’m never able to understand colleagues when they try to describe to me how they used to work in our office WITHOUT COMPUTERS.
    On the other hand I never thought I’d live to own a Star Trek-style communicator device, let alone be able to publish my witterings and twitterings on the internet for THE WHOLE WORLD (in theory) to see.