Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Very Delicate Procedure

I realize that I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants idealist.

I especially realize this as soon as I step onto the ledge overlooking the exhibitors' hall.

AT&T, Texas Instruments, and several other names which have surfed the choppy waters of modern American capitalism peer up from the floor as if to say: told ya' we'd still be here.

Nowhere at NECC is the tenacious balance between ideas and commerce so self-aware as on the exhibition floor.

This is where hundreds of companies will tell you that their product and/or proprietary method is what you need. This, when we all realize that what we need is true open source cloud computing.

What we need is simple and universal access via simple and universal devices.

Yeah, exactly buddy... I got one of them right here for a good price.

Alas, the exhibition floor.

This is where teachers getting paid morsels to prepare the intellects of future generations get to be eyed by sales reps from the world's biggest corporations.

Depending on your point of view, it's either the best of the future or the worst of the future. It's either testimony to innovation and collaboration between corporate and educational America, or it's a testament to that basic premise of business which will never change.

I somehow see it as precious. Delicate, perhaps.

In the same way that walking on the edge of a knife is a very delicate procedure.


I'm sitting downstairs outside the exhibition hall in a little secluded alcove. No one else is here. Just me and a handful of nicely proportioned modern leather chairs.

On the wall hang three art assemblages. They are three abacuses made of wood and old rubber balls. The sign says that they are the work of one Greg Hannan of Washington, D.C.

I sit here looking at the three pieces and I can't help but wonder. Who needed that original abacus more: the guy who ran out of fingers to count on or the guy who came up with a way to put that wood piled up in the backyard to some entrepreneurial use?

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