NEW NET - Calling all tech enthusiasts

NEW NET: Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology issues -- a gathering of tech enthusiasts which happens weekly in the Appleton area and is looking for other tech enthusiasts in the northeast Wisconsin region.

The NEW NET gathering last night, 25 Oct 2005, at Mister Churro in Appleton covered some interesting tech ground. Highlights of the past week's tech news were briefly mentioned or discussed a little more in depth, such as Google Base, the newly announced PWRficient microprocessor, Blackberry and other convergent devices, iPod issues, Arstechnica Lounge and fuel cells for Canon cameras. Side conversations developed from the tech news items, such as the high quality and outstanding tech design of Monster cables (which just might justify their equally stellar prices), which were brought into the conversation related to HDTV and the iPods. Talk to Bob P. for more details about Monster cables. Discussion about how entrepreneurs and small businesses can get good quality and reasonable prices for tech equipment and support morphed into some dialogue about the best way to update business systems monthly, and led to a suggestion that most/all pcs would run more quickly if they were defragged nightly while their users were fast asleep.

I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of tech enthusiasts scattered throughout northeast Wisconsin. It seems like it shouldn't be an overwhelming task to weave a more connected web between those enthusiasts so they are able to help each other more and get more help from their fellow enthusiasts. My vision is that five or ten or twenty tech enthusiast local groups would start meeting regularly in their communities, whether that's weekly, monthly or some other frequency. Some of the groups or individual enthusiasts may want to participate on a virtual basis, where telecommunication technology or tele-collaboration technology is used to enable or enhance participation. These groups will then reach out to and collaborate with other local tech enthusiast groups in the region, sometimes on a person-to-person basis, sometimes on a one-time interaction between two local groups, and sometimes on a larger scale where all the tech enthusiasts in the region are made aware of and encouraged to attend a region-wide NEW NET meeting.

If you are a tech enthusiast in northeast Wisconsin, please think about the above concept and consider participating in or even being one of the leaders for a local tech enthusiast group. If you live anywhere near Appleton and want to attend the Mister Churro gatherings on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm, feel free to show up or email or call me for more details (bob [at] mydigitechnician.com, 920-731-1272). If you don't want to drive to Mister Churro or that time is bad for you, consider participating in our gatherings via a virtual presence, or consider starting your own local tech enthusiast group. I'd be happy to work with you to get a local group started.

Finally, if you're not interested in connecting with tech enthusiasts in northeast Wisconsin, but you know of others in the region who might be interested, please have them contact me or tell them when and where the group gathers. And if you live outside northeast Wisconsin but want to participate via tele-collaboration technology, I'd love the chance to use the technology you're familiar with or want to try out.

The world isn't quite flat yet, but it's headed that way. Connect with other tech enthusiasts and help the flattening process!

I look forward to hearing from you...

Bob Waldron


Understanding Technology

Technology is changing the world and how people interact with the world and with each other. Knowing about and understanding some of that technology can make it easier for us to interact effectively and make our lives more enjoyable. There are many ways to learn about and understand today's technology. Reading two recent books will give you an overview of technology's impact on the world and a close-up look at the subject of "Search" on the internet. These books are a recommended read for anyone interested in how technology in general and search in particular are impacting others around the world and may impact you on an everyday basis.

In "The World Is Flat", by Thomas Friedman,
the author explains what is meant by a “flattened world”, how it got that way, and his recommendations for surviving and thriving in a flattened world. The global economy enables and facilitates completely digitizing many jobs and digitizing parts of many other jobs, which allows them to be done wherever the lowest-cost, high-quality execution of that job can be done. Nearly-instantaneous global information transfer allows many manufacturing jobs to also go to those parts of the world where the lowest-cost, high-quality production is found, such as China or India. Instead of resisting or ignoring these changes, the US and western Europe must understand, accept and benefit from these changes and must build on their strengths to build unique and valuable skills and industries not available elsewhere. As Friedman says, "once the world has been flattened and the new forms of collaborations made available to more and more people, the winners will be those who learn the habits, processes, and skills most quickly—and there is simply nothing that guarantees it will be Americans or Western Europeans permanently leading the way." Reading "The World Is Flat" just might give you a whole new outlook on where you and the world around you are headed.

"The Search", by John Battelle, gives an up-close look at Google, the world's leading internet search engine, and how internet search has and will change the field of human knowledge. For many people, "...Google has become the gateway to instant knowledge." Battelle traces the origins of Google, and to a lesser extent, search engines in general, and gives an interesting tale of how Google grew into the technology giant it is today. He also presents scenarios of what search may evolve into, and how that evolution may change your life. If you use Google or other search engines, you should read this book. If you know someone who doesn't use the internet or doesn't use it very much, have them read this book. It may motivate them to get a high-speed internet connection and start using search engines to connect with information they're passionate about and to connect with others who have the same interests. In the final section of the book, Battelle discusses some directions search is taking and what impact it may have on your life five or ten years from now.

If you read either book and have questions, contact me at bob@mydigitechnician.com or meet me at Mister Churro in Appleton (Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 10, Tuesday night from 7 to 9 pm, or Wednesday morning from 7 to 9 am). If you're interested in integrating new technologies into your life, myDigitechnician would be happy to discuss how we can help you do that. (http://www.mydigitechnician.com)