'I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?'said Scrooge.
The spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.
'You are about to show me the shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us, 'Scrooge pursued, 'Is that so, Spirit?'
The keynote speaker of the Vancouver blogging conference Northern Voice 2008 was Matt Mullenweg who pioneered a blogging program with great educational possibilities (it is used, among other things, in universities by professors and students so that they can link to each other) called WordPress. This program is very popular with bloggers. In my case this blog is not generated by WordPress but by a proprietary program of Blogger.
The articulate 23-year old showed us a slide of himself taken in 2002, with the White House in the background. The teenager, in glasses was unassuming. I looked at it closely and immediately thought of Charles's Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The young man in the photograph represented our present. Had Scrooge talked with him then he would have been the Spirit Of Times To Come. Mullenweg has modified our world to what it is. Bloggers are changing news, periodicals. The Wikipedia will soon make other encyclopedias as obsolete as the spelling of it (encyclopaedia). WordPress was one of the programs that pushed our world to where it is today. As I listened to Mullenweg talk about things to come I again saw him as the Spirit Of Things To Come. This 23-year-old young man, this clean cut young man with the smile, the young man who believes that all things are possible and positive (the idealism of youth) convinced me that our future is not bleak if people like him manage our world, behind the scenes, with computer programs that few of us understand.
It was sheer fun to watch Alan Levine tell a story in 50 possible ways (he showed us about 10) using different free Web 2.0 tricks to display them. The story of a Dalmatian that is found and then lost and then found again was hilarious in all the versions that I saw. It was neat to see that these knowledgeable geeks have a keen sense of humour and fun.
One of the buzz expressions of the conference was computer clouds. The first person to use it yesterday was Marc Canter. He had strong opinions and I agreed with most of the ones I understood. He seemed to think that we now have the power to transform capitalism into a gentler, kinder and less greedy form.
But it was Boris Mann, one of the organizers of Northern Voice who finally explained to me with panache, yellow paper and a marking pen the concept of computer clouds which if I understand well is a sort of computer power outsourcing. He confirmed the shocking news that I heard from Marc Canter that for the first time more computers are being bought by the likes of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo than by consumers like you and me.
Pity that our local media had no interest in accompanying the Spirit(s) Of Things To Come. I feel a bit smug to know that, at least, I know!
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