nic fouts

the many sides

Only the unknown frightens men

“Only the unknown frightens men. But once a man has faced the unknown, that terror becomes the known.”
–Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

As a child, I remember clearly stepping into a room in one of my cousins’ homes. Contained within were several computers set up around the room. It was my first introduction to the word “guru” and the Sun computing system. (I still, to this day, count their logo among one of my favorites in the technological world. Or maybe even just “the world”.) On this machine, they taught me of an online game called MUD. The game itself isn’t important, but the concept of a computer system connected to others definitely is. You could say that this particular moment would inform the rest of my life in a way that I never imagined.

I had a flash back to that particular room as I’m seated in a room within my own house tonight (probably very nearly the same size), itself containing several computers that are connected to many others the world over (via the Internet, if you will). I’m not crawling through a metaphorical, virtual dungeon on these computers, but nothing says I couldn’t do just that. Instead, I’m surrounded by buttons and displays that let me interact with servers that hold many kinds of stories. This particular server I’m staring into holds the ramblings of some idiot in Wisconsin who likes talking about nothing. The computer to my right is connected to another server just 12 miles away and is busy parsing data for display in a graph format to show that some OTHER server is having a bad day (that’s kind of my job description now). When said plainly like this, the weirdness factor increases nearly exponentially with each piece of computing hardware in this room. (And we’re not even going to broach the topic of the cloud-connected, remotely controlled *LASER* sitting behind me! Ok, I guess we did.)

I don’t know that I had a point this this at all. I just poked at some buttons to my left and flashed back to learning about what a computer could do. I couldn’t even tell you how old I was at the time, but you would be hard pressed to tell me that it didn’t leave a mark. I was given an unknown and made it a known. Somewhere in there, I guess the terror began. But that’s the real adventure, right?

July 18th, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | no comments