Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

August 21, 2004 - 11:19 p.m.

Hello, My Name Is John

I haven't been here in a while. I've been busy with other stuff, mostly Real Life.The computer has been a habit for me, since about 1996. That was not long after the creation of the World Wide Web, which pretty much put a friendly face on a network that had existed for years.

Imagine having a power source, and not even knowing about it. That's what it was, a power source for communication. It uses an existing network for communication, the house that Bell built. But it uses that network, which is fundamentally as simple as a pair of wires, to do what it was meant to do. But by using computers instead of voices, well.. it's as revolutionary as mating an engine to wheels and magnifying horsepower.

I watched this marriage between computers and phone lines, I helped build it. When I started, with a head full of Ohm's Law twenty five years ago, computers were spawned by hobbyists, soldering a processor chip in their designs that weren't as smart as the chip in any garage door opener on your street today. They were of little use to Average Joe, who had yet to encounter his first brush with technology, the Video Cassette Recorder. It certainly wasn't time for that technology yet, countless VCRs in America all told the same time of day. Twelve noon, flashing for emphasis.

It was a slow evolution. If it were as simple as a phone to use, it would have exploded overnight. It had to easy to use. Actually more fundamental than that, it needed to have a use first of all, before it was more than a business tool and an occasional curiosity in someone's unused bedroom somewhere.

Turns out that use was communication. Dubya Dubya Dubya Dot Whatever provided that.

I watched that grow too, but more as a spectator than a designer. I knew enough to create this thing, within the auspicious confines of my benefactor. I could have chosen some of the wonderful designs that are available for free or otherwise. But then it wouldn't have been mine then, and this is supposed to be mine. I don't change it very often, JohnnieV grew up recently, he went from first grade to high school.

I could be rightfully accused of spending too much time in this space, I'm recognizing some things I've missed. Years spent sitting in a leather office chair exploring all aspects this internet has to offer results in... isolation.. When it's just you and the others out there staring at a CRT whilst typing away, it's really just you. The others are there, you're interacting, but you're really just alone. There's no facial expression for what you say. You're using the written word to convey your thoughts.

Hey, that's it. You're using the written weird to convey your thoughts. Hmm, that's called Writing. I was no stranger to that, I'd spent years with it's closest kin, Reading. I fancied myself a Writer in high school, but I didn't have the refinement to finish my thoughts. I'm getting plenty of practice at that here, and elsewhere.

I joined in a social strata in this place. Two of them in fact, and I was sort of the ambassador from the earlier one to the later one. They both still exist but like the end of undergraduate school, there aren't nearly as many there as what had had been there in the beginning. Members fly off into their own new orbits in life when there's a disagreement or a change of partners in a somewhat different way.

This summer was a turning point for me, of sorts. I walked away from it. The desire is not as strong to be here. There are other aspects of life that draw me away too. Sons One and Two are not getting any younger and I face the thought of them not being here all summer any more. Their role as kids in this house is evolving in to young adults getting ready to leave. I'm preparing them, and myself, for that coming reality. I've spent a lot of time with them, especially Son Two, and we've talked in ways we never have before.

Son Two told me he can be honest with me without holding back, because I listen to what he says without judgment. It doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion about whether he's doing right or wrong. It means I hear his side, listening instead of commenting, from my adult perspective. He gets advice from my adult perspective too, but only after he gives me his side.

Apparently I'm the Cool Dad too. So I got that going for me, which is good.

I'm not gone from here, just on vacation. I'm finding that new people discover this place all the time. Have a look around. Start here first.

the last one -*- the next one

Current Terr Alert Level
Terror Alert Level
OMG, She's agonna blow!

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