Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Distractions


Want to attempt the impossible?
Just try and write poetry nowadays.
Shut off your streaming TV, hide the phone,
unplug your modem, make yourself alone.

Thus cut off from media oceans,
you can begin to create,
your page a blank slate.
Dredge up the lurking emotions...

How it felt to see the Trek family again,
the warm greetings and conversations,
Delicious treats and tasty anecdotes.
Can such things be put into words?

You can try to tame the desktop beast,
despite tempting links flashing before
your dazzled eyes, or glowing photos
tugging your attention in different directions.

I can still remember those summertime
Carnival barkers of old, yelling at you
with a hundred voices, “Hey buddy, hey pal,
come on over, try this, try that – only 50 cents!”
Now your computer or phone does it all the time.

The quiet, small stage of black and white,
marks and meanings parade across a page,
impart mental images and arrange concepts.
An escape from incessant blitz is delightful;
Hope you can enjoy it as much as I do.




Monday, December 10, 2018

Jefferson Iowa joins the Glittering Digerati


If Gretchen F. could visit her hometown today,
She might jump in the air and shout “Hooray!”
For humble Jefferson is getting a high-tech academy,
Silicon Valley execs investing a lot of their money.

“Let's keep the young folks at home,” is the refrain.
Bring a software company to town, to train
our collegiate crowd to create, craft and code
an exciting future for one central Iowa locale.


Congrats to Jefferson!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Influencer or Influenced


      Why not a self-referential blog post? After all, it is a self-focused activity anyway. When I first started the radical readings blog, it was actually an experimental little thing, using mixed uppercase and lowercase letters etc, trying to look cool. But I deleted my other, main blog, and this one remained, sitting unused for a while. Then I decided to try things on here. Youtube video links, or photos of the State Fair, and then finally, poetry and short stories when I got more into the literary writing thing. Now, here it is 2018, and I just hate to see this blog go away.
     After watching the documentary “Follow Me” on Netflix, it made me think about the social media phenomenon in general. Now it is not enough to just post stuff. It is much more about trying to do amazing stunts on Youtube to get hits, or take the most amazing Instagram selfie imaginable, or the most incredible Facebook post, etc ad nauseum. For me, the blog has been a way to toss out some of my poetry and writing, as well as promote my books. Guilty as charged. But I feel little remorse, aside from all of the time spent (or wasted) posting things that may be of very little interest to the rest of the world. After all, I'm in pretty good company.
     Not only famous people post things; now many become famous for posting just the right things. And it seems like most of humanity is on one kind of social media or another. To a child of the 1960s this still amazes me. The ages of being are now divided between before the Internet and online existence, and after. That line could be sharpest right around 1995-96 when masses of people started publishing their own web pages. Now, people were showing photos of their house, their pets, kids, spouses and even sexual preferences. Now, you didn't have one conventional life. Now you had two, one online and one offline, normal, static life.
     Today it has really gone bonkers. Our physical, real-world existence seems here only to feed, nurture and protect our exploding online presences. Data storage is cheap, and huge data centers are popping up all over the place. Even an online, virtual-world existence requires physical resources and real estate. There has to be some eventual place where we bump up against a limit, and have to stop, or at least shut off the devices once in a while. Who knows? If the giant FAANG companies can figure out a way to erect data centers in orbit or on the Moon or Mars, they probably will. And then we'll have even more storage for our cat pictures and grinning selfies. And I'm as guilty as anyone else. After all, I'm ranting about it here on my blog. Mike Wilson, doing his part to use up bits and bytes and disk sectors, doing his patriotic duty to consume. I salute me. And I salute you, dear reader, for your time expended on reading this er, stuff.
     I really do hope I can live twenty more years just to see where we end up. I'm amazed it has gone this far, astounded at some of the stuff people can download for free, which in the last century could only be imagined. Consumer I will happily remain, and leave it to others to try and become full-fledged Social Media Influencers . Good luck – I'll be watching. Lolz.






Monday, November 12, 2018

CEOTTK


So I watched that old standard again last night: Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
It was a classic sci-fi film. It was full of human drama, tension, and nefarious doings. And I found myself doing some mental comparisons between 1977 and now. One woman, a main character in the film, had her living room shown quite a bit. It had a rotary-dial telephone, a fold-down stereo set, and a large television. No desktop computer, no laptop, no tablet, no smartphone, or cell phone of any kind.
In other scenes, technicians for (apparently) NASA and/or the military all speak into bulky headsets. (the kind that probably were likely common in the early 1960's Mercury space program.) There was one computer CRT, which displayed some (monochrome) number sets. Lots of spinning radar dishes and automatic cameras were seen in the final sequences. In one scene a lady is taking a lot of snapshots with a regular cartridge-film camera. For 1977, nothing unusual. For today, quaint, dated, amusing. We have indeed come a long way.
Today the Extraterrestrials would be posted about, video-ed, shared – and they would “explode” across the entire Internet. Almost everyone would have some kind of image on their phone or PC in short order. But there would still be wonder and amazement in spades. Back in 1977, we were still struggling with the construction of the Space Shuttle. Today, no American spacecraft is able to loft astronauts into orbit, although a few are under construction. It is back to the capsules for us, made by private companies. The visiting aliens would have nothing to worry about regarding Earth-originating human-crewed spacecraft.
Their arrival would generate at least as much wonder today as back then. Would they generate the same light shows, that ultimate sky disco show? Or generate the same 5-tone sequence and spread it everywhere, including all the telephones? Hard to say. Someone is going to have to make a sequel to that film, for sure. Of the ET's coming back after 41 years. Hope someone does it. Hey Mr Spielberg, are you listening???? Thanks for reading.




Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Crazy Reigns These Days


Massacre at a synagogue, eleven dead.
Four policemen shot, possibly in the head.
Iowa congressman travels to Austria,
meets with neo-nazi thugs;
Companies decide to cut ties with him,
an awakening for the corporate slugs.

Our economy shines with high-powered veneer,
underneath workers struggle with poverty and fear.
Space program creeps along in fits and starts,
innovation fleeing our small-minded shores.

Seeking escape from their own pain,
people pick on others, driving them insane.
When will all of this madness end,
who can anyone really call a friend?



Sunday, November 04, 2018

Inspired Capitalism just keeps changing the world


Froth, or A Venture-capitalist religion.

Starting companies can start fortunes,
industries, pump up economies, make careers,
change the lives of everyone in a nation or the world.
Light bulb, electric generation, AC power = modern civilization.

One guy perfected the light bulb, and made over society – all of it.

Two stinky nerds in a garage built a breadboard computer,
and their legacy is a trillion dollar company,
and a smartphone in a billion hands around the globe.

It is difficult to know what will take off, make it, hit it big,
be adopted and become fashionable.

Macintosh computers were obviously advanced, amazing,
but it took another two decades for their manufacturer to soar;
But the smartphone became ubiquitous in a decade.

When you combine technology, smart humans, capitol and determination,
astounding, improbable, unbelievable things can and do happen.
They have, over and over.

This is to denote a religion of inventing.
A religion of doing, a religion of making,
a religion of creation.

Not just once. But over and over, continuously.
This is the religion of inspired capitalism.

Not quite your pop stand or flea market table, no...
The “inspired” means intelligent, driven by one or more very smart founders.
You need intelligence, a background of technology, lots of financing, and determined, dedicated,
passionate employees. A venture capitalist to sit on the board and be a shepherd, a guide, a common-sense voice. Then, sit back and watch magic happen.

The mix won't catalyze, won't combust every time.
But when it does, the world is transformed, and billionaires are minted!
And more wealth is generated for everyone participating.

It is the duty, the mission and responsibility of the founders of every technology company:
To make their organization the next Apple, the next Xerox, the next Tandem, the next world-changing company out there. To strive for anything less is to allow mediocrity and ultimate failure into your company.



(In Froth We Trust – Froth is the next Big Thing.)

Froth - A religion of Inspired Capitalism

Inspired: by the Intellect of the founders and the Determination of the whole organization.

Capitalized: by Venture Capitalists and far-seeing investors.

Religion: Generating the non-stop dedication to the cause which is to create and market products that will change the world, revolutionize our lives, create wealth for everyone.

Examples of Inspired Capitalism – world-changing companies and ideas.

Apple computer

Cisco - fistfights in the corridors, but world-changing products shipped out the door.

Intel - founded by engineers fleeing Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968.

Tandem computers - because airline and wall street computers should not crash, by golly.

Segway and it's founder – let's try a new way to get people around. Dean Kamen.

Uber and Lyft, and other sharing technologies, Bird and scooter companies.

Some products will only last a few years, but they in turn propel further innovation.

AI-powered Robots and Dolls, controlled via Smartphone (thank you again, Steve Jobs).
(Some of us still remember the days when you had to walk up to a device and turn it on, not just tap your phone.)

A few individuals, some starting financing, a good idea, and miraculous transformation occurs.

Miracles are no longer the province of old-time Christianity. Now they will happen in labs and basements and garages, from Mountain View CA to Shanghai, China.

The next hundred years will be absolutely mind-boggling. Enjoy the show.






Saturday, November 03, 2018

In memory of Gretchen Fosket


She came out of a corner,
and insinuated herself into my life.
A friendly smiling face at Alpha meetings,
A source of information about goings-on.

Her mood was not always the best,
since she battled various infirmities.
But when she smiled, she glowed,
and bestowed friendship and kindness.
She smiled often through all difficulties.
Lent support and a helping hand,
even a book to facilitate a years lessons.

Someone I did not even know,
except in reputation mis-represented.
She turned out to be a valued friend,
and a warm presence in my life.