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Monday, January 31, 2005

The Clothes We Wear.

I had this weird moment in a technical meeting the other day--I walked in carrying my laptop, the laptop's power supply, and my mini-mouse on one arm and some documents, my bottle of water, and a cup of coffee on the other arm.

At first glance, you will think that I carry too much and that may be true, but that's not the point. I had this bizarre sensation that I was wearing my "equipment of the age". In each age we wear and use instruments specific to our knowledge, experience, and profession. The publishing technologist, being a relatively new species, does not have a wide variety of formal tools or ceremonial garb, yet carting around all that very familiar stuff spoke of armor and weapons.

Perhaps I am merely Dungeons and Dragons minded (I admit it), but I felt as if I sat in that meeting wielding my intellectual weapons and using my "smart" armor. The meeting was very fun actually--my friend John and I had a great technical discussion on the same level and I (perhaps self-gratifyingly) enjoyed the glazed incomprehensive faces of the other folks in the room. I'd called the meeting because I did not understand a new process. John and I talked it over in high detail and then I was ok. I am not sure the others in the room totally understood what was going on. Sometimes that's nice.

Aside from the armor sensation, the weekend has been about protection. I've gotten so close to finishing school that I am feeling relaxation and other priorities creeping in. To placate the instantly worried matriarchs in the family, don't worry. I am going to finish school. However, after 3 years, I am ready for something fun, creative, technical, and different. To that end, Star Wars Galaxies--a massivley online game. I spent WAY too much time "having fun" for a change (apologies to Dawn) as a typical Michael extreme example of doing the opposite thing equally intently as I do the normal thing. But I sure like that game.

I just spilled coffee on my mousepad. Woohoo!!


Anonymous said...

Here's a question: Purely fantasy (not our present government )--Imagine if our country was taken over by an evil regime and that technology played an important role in their superiortiy and control structures. Do you think that you are the type of person who would join the underground organization of computer experts in attempting to subvert and eventuallly overthrow this regime knowing that it would put your life in danger? No judgement at your answer by the way--I often wonder about this type of scenario in regards to myself (minus the computer knowledge--more like the underground needs actors as spys). I'll put another condition on it: it's not a situation that you actively seek to be a part of, but purely by chance you fall into this opportunity to assist. Would you do it? -nes

SumariMike said...


Oh yeah, for sure! I remember when they started talking about charging e-postage for e-mail. I vowed to everyone I met that if they did that, I'd go underground and make that as difficult as possible to do. If too much freedom is taken away from this information network, then I will certainly rebel. Interestingly enough, this brings up an instance from a book I am reading, "The Roads of Heaven" by Melissa Scott. In it, they espouse the opposite position--that technology is reduced because anyone could access the specialized knowledge needed to operate caste and profession-based knowledge. So, to help keep information secret and secure to those who had to rigorously learn the rules and ways of using it, they eliminated the free network of information. I can see benefit to both, but in the world we live in, I would choose rebellion. --mf