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(Meta: Yeah yeah, I haven't posted anything in a while. Usual thing; I've been busy. Working. Seattle Mindcamp (where I lead three sessions). Orycon (where I was on programming). Life in general. You name it. What can I say? This is basically an unpaid writing gig for me, albeit one I've chosen for myself, and sometimes it drops to the bottom of the list for short, and long, periods of time...)

I remember when I first got a cellphone; it was more than 12 years ago. One of the first calls I made was from the supermarket, as I was walking along looking for something. I don't know what I was calling about, what I said, or what I was looking for. But I clearly remember the strange feeling I had as I made a mundane phone call from in front of the dairy section in a mundane grocery store; two experiences I had never placed together in my mind until right that moment.

That moment was special, because it was a step into the future. And I could distinctly feel exactly how special it was. We all have these experiences, a kind of reverse deja-vu. Call it nueva-vu: The sudden knowledge that you are somewhere doing something you have never done before, but that you will continue to do until it becomes an everyday experience and you stop noticing. Even though it will change you, or your life, in some significant fashion.

Do you remember the first time you used a computer to do something interesting? The first time you saw a web browser? The first time you watched a DVD? If you are older you might remember the first time you saw color television or a manned space launch. Unless you are particularly insensitive each of those experiences would have been accompanied by that particular frisson of which I speak. The awareness that you have moved from the past into the future in some small way. Just think, only a few hundred years ago people might get this feeling once, maybe twice, in a lifetime. Yet for us nueva-vu is something we might experience monthly, or even weekly. As new technologies come into our lives more and more rapidly even nueva-vu will become mundane and unremarkable. But until then it remains a bit of a thrill.

I'm having a nueva-vu experience right now. I am writing this in the cabin of an airplane, on my way back to Seattle from a business trip to Austria. In just a moment I am going to press the "Post Entry" button and it will appear on the Internet for you to read. Why? Because this aircraft has Wireless Internet service. In my bag is a PDA, which is also a cell phone. I use it to make phone calls, and also to check my email. To check the traffic across the floating bridges of Lake Washington, and also to Google information about a subject my dinner group is discussing in a restaurant. This PDA/Cell works as well in Europe as it works at home in Seattle.

But it doesn't work on an airplane at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic. Yet I am still connected. Welcome to the future: Now you can be connected anywhere, at anytime. Let me assure you, knowing this intellectually is nothing like the gut feeling of doing it the first time...


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
I like "nueva vu," even though it's a collision of Spanish and French. But it's no worse than "polyamory," which is Greek and Latin.

Some moments of nueva vu: In the mid80s, someone asking for directions to the laser center (in a hospital complex). Also the mid80s, a 20-year-old saying "Yeah, four years ago, that was a good era." (Which really reminded me of Slow Tuesday Night by R.A. Lafferty.)

The first time I saw a computer was at Windycon 3. It was set up to play Breakout. From another SF convention in the late 70s, I went into a room thinking it was going to be a party, but there were only two guys there, using an acoustic coupler modem to hook up to the "internet." The first time I heard about the Y2K problem was also in the late 70s, in reference to a Pere Ubu ep called "Data Panik in the Year Zero."

And yes, they come more frequently these days. Yeah!
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Being the kind of person I am, I actually like feeling nueva vu. In fact I seek it out. But, for others, it may not be so nice.

We should all pity the future shocked...
Dec. 14th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Not at all. I think the tension between those who want to rush ahead (such as yourself and me) and those who want to hang back is an important dynamic.
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
when newtech complements old tech
JWB and I have been IM'ing just now. I asked him where he was and he said 'above Newfoundland.' I knew his plane was due to arrive in about six hours and I thought that seemed a long way to travel in six hours, so I pulled out the globe and had a look.

New technology is great, but sometimes you just want to use the old. Happily, they can be complementary. Would that be Nueja Do?
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: when newtech complements old tech
Nueja do as nueja does I guess.

One thing that might make me think about this a lot right now is that I am currently reading Geoff Ryman's 'Air'; the story of a peasant woman from an isolated village suddently connected to 'brain network' made up of the entire world.
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:50 pm (UTC)
Which airline?!?!?! I WANT.
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
SAS. But they are saying that they will cut it off Dec 31. I don't know why though...

However, this comment is proof it works well.
Dec. 14th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
WHY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! would they cut it off?????
Feb. 3rd, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
It wasn't really making any money. Not enough adopters.
Dec. 15th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
I remember the first time I saw manned space exploration, because it's one of the first things I remember, period: the moon landing on my third birthday.

First computer -- my dad built one in our garage in the 70s. It didn't do much, just blinked lights and made little noises, but I thought it was neat. My dad predicted that affordable personal computers were forthcoming, and it's one of the things he was way right about.

I remember Pong. We had Pong. I think, even at the time, it seemed like an amusing novelty rather than The Future of Entertainment. Sometimes you can just tell the early model isn't going to stick around.

I remember the first time I was on an airplane. Obviously, airplanes have been around for a while, but it's a good example of how other changes -- in relative economics, probably technology as well -- change the social impact of technology. We were entering the era of non-elite air travel. It's what we have instead of flying cars.

When I was a kid I had a small, light, portable manual typewriter, so I could write in bed. Last summer I finally got a laptop. (Yeah, I know, the technology isn't new. But the affordability is) So now, 25 later, I can write in bed again.

I was fascinated that after years of people predicting videophones, and the technology existing, it took the videophone being part of a mobile phone for the technology to catch on.

Dec. 15th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmm....
I think that nueva vu is a personal experience, so it doesn't matter if a technology has been available for a while. It only matters that it has become available to you, and you suddenly realize that you have personally become part of the future.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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