1985 was a happening year.  Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union,  Michael Jackson and his friends recorded “We Are the World“,  and Wrestlemania made its debut in Madison Square Garden.

But, 1985 was also a go-go year for geekdom.

Network World has published their fourth annual compilation of the current year’s most notable technology-related 25th anniversaries. The list  includes:

  • Microsoft’s release of Windows 1.0,
  • Registration of the first dot-com domain names,
  • the founding of AOL,  and
  • the debut of the Commodore Amiga 1000 personal computer.

I am sure we will see these and other notables, revisited over the year, but here they are today, neatly assembled, by Network World, for your perusal.

2010’s 25 geekiest 25th anniversaries

via Paul McNamara, Network World, 01/11/2010

This is the day that God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
—Psalm 118:24

Morning Prayer: Prayer for Expressing Gratitude

Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.

My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.

I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.

In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.


—from Prayers for Living

—via Chi Rho: A Prayer Blog

Burj Khalifa

Image via Daily Icon

The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower at a half-mile high, opened this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), after six years of construction.  The 828m (2,716ft) tall tower is named after the president of the UAE and ruler of emirate of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan. The total cost for the Burj Khalifa project was about $1.5 billion with the entire new “Downtown Dubai”, coming in at $20 billion.

Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the tower has 160 floors and more than 500,000 sq m of space for offices and apartments.

The tower also boasts to the highest occupied floor, the tallest elevator, and the world’s highest observation deck – on the 124th floor. The world’s highest mosque and swimming pool will meanwhile be located on the 158th and 76th floors.

Burj Khalifa

While hailed as an architectural wonder, it also has been criticized. “It uses as much electricity as an entire city. And every time the toilet is flushed, they’ve got to pump water half a mile into the sky,” says Jim Krane, an author who has written on Dubai.

The digital divide is the gap between those individuals and communities that have, and do not have, access to the information technologies that are transforming our lives. The divide unfortunately aligns with economic, racial and ethnic parameters. On the up side I read a piece today about government plans, and I think they may be on to something.

The FCC is eyeing Internet-based television services, delivered via open-source set-top boxes as a potential avenue to bridge the digital divide and provide universal broadband access.

“Computers may be in 74% of American homes, but televisions are in 99% of homes. Clearly, if your television offered a way to easily switch over to the Internet, we would be providing a way for all Americans to get online,” said FCC Senior Counselor Colin Crowell.

You can read the article that sparked me from the Chicago Tribune.

Forbes magazine has declared Texas as the most valuable college football team.

They quantified what we all suspected, valuing the Longhorn football team at $119 million, with an estimated profit last year of $59 million.

The most valuable teams include the obvious suspects: Notre Dame, Penn State, Nebraska, Alabama and Florida.

That is a lot of money and I don’t begrudge the schools for going after it. But, even though I understand the value of a college education, the players are not getting a fair shake or share.

I read recently that hybrid careers that combine computing with other fields from medicine to Hollywood, will increasingly be the new American jobs of the future. These jobs do not match the classic computer geek, gear head or nerd image — a heads-down programmer, who is socially isolated. In the new hybrid careers, computing is a crucial ingredient and, economists say, such work will be the source of many new jobs of the future.

Basically, the nation’s economic future is dependent on the minting of more cool nerds. The problem is that not enough young people are embracing computing — often because they worry about being branded nerds, geeks and gear heads
Educators and technologists say two things need to change: the image of computing work, and computer science education in high schools. Teacher groups, professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery and the National Science Foundation are pushing for these changes, but so are major technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Intel as well as the federal government (as part of the economic stimulus, federal financing for science and technology education has increased and furthermore, its multibillion-dollar program to accelerate the adoption of computerized health records may generate more than 200,000 jobs).
So everyone is jumping in to help, but charging forward on the premise that we are losing potential computer scientist and hybrid careerist to name calling and apparent social stigma. One movement has even proposed banning the terms “geek” and “nerd”. That’s nice and maybe what our mothers would have us all do, but I think it requires a little different view and some reliance on our capitalist core.
Programming is a highly intellectual (not cool) and sometimes heads down (not cool) task. Young people may be initially intrigued by flashy graphics and cool tools but the nerd quotient of the work increases as one moves deeper into the field. Computing, computer science and future hybrid careers will escape the nerd stereotype by succeeding in the metric of high social status: MONEY. Computing is an economically successful field, we need to stress that as a computing professional you can get the thing everyone wants: MONEY, which leads to social capitol.
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