Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 and another great big beautiful tomorrow

Two years ago I opened an account on Blogger and started this blog. Over the last 24 months I have let this blog sit and gather dust for weeks at a time. But I always come back. 2008 is here and I feel a new enthusiasm for writing posts again.

I originally started this blog as sort of a testing lab for my blogging and graphic skills. It has become more than that. I have made friends that I never would have found otherwise. Technical and creative demons have frustrated me along the way, but I learned to overcome them.

I wished to start this blog off on an optimistic tone. In my first post I quoted the song "A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" from the Disney Ride Carousel of Progress, which dates back to the 1964 Worlds Fair.


Carousel of Progress is representative of the positive view of technology and futurism of the early 1960s, when the space race was on and the moon landing would close out the decade. I was not alive to see it myself, but I still have a soft spot for futurism of the 50s and 60s. I grew up with it in the books and movies that filled my childhood.

I was around for the early days of the 1980s home computer and internet revolution. I saw clunky early computers evolve into the somewhat less-clunky machines that we have grown to depend on as part of everyday life. I have seen the web emerge from blocky graphics and text into search engines, blogs, e-business, and wikis.

I was amused to see Cory Doctrow bring the two together in a recent post on Boing Boing. He writes about the Carousel of Progress and how it has influenced his writing.

He also mentions how the Carousel is sadly in need of an update. The final act of the show features a family using a rather hefty looking computer and playing a virtual reality game with oversize goggles. That was cutting edge stuff in the early 1990s, but now seems as dated as rocket packs and art deco cities filled with flying cars.

While the Carousel's last act looks laughable by 2008 standards, it does echo some current trends with accuracy. The Nintendo Wii features controls that are descendants of the early experiments to mass market virtual reality. The Guitar Hero games also work off a similar idea.
Online shopping and email are so common that it is hard to imagine living without them now.

Visions of the future are warped in much the same way ripples in the atmosphere distort the view of telescopes, the further we try to see the hazier the image.

2008 is here. It is a great big beautiful today.

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