Friday, December 30, 2011


My favorite movie as a teenager was "2001, A Space Odyssey." Much of the philosophical content went over my head, but I didn't care. I loved the cool space ships, sentient computers, and gadgets.  Sadly, almost none of what we saw on the big screen came true. There have been no manned space expeditions since the Apollo program. The "sentient" computer, HAL 9000, was cool but completely off the mark from actual computer development. (the cool 3D computer graphics in the movie were hand drawn). Compared to 2001's, our space station looks like an erector set with parts missing. And there is, of course, no permanent moon base. What's up with that?

There is one thing from the movie that has happened.* The notebook, or "pad" computer is a reality. In the movie you can see the astronauts watching a news program via "streaming video"  on their pads. At the time the idea was super cool. It still is. I got one recently and I can't log onto the internet or watch a video without feeling some of that old Space Odyssey coolness.

(* Okay, I'll grant you that bland, prefab food has also come true)

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