Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are You Pullin' My Leg?

Back in the day when someone told my grandpa Charlie Watson something that was hard to believe, he would exclaim - "are you pullin' my leg?" It was like he was giving you a chance to amend your story and not sound like a liar.
He often asked me that when I came home after fishing trips. Pap (that's what I called him) I caught a fish this long - "Are you pullin' my leg?" Well maybe it was just this long....altering my estimate.
He died in the early seventies before personal computers became commonplace and a fancy phone was one that was any color but black. If you had a mobile phone then, you'd better have a long cord. I know he would be constantly amazed (and probably alarmed) by technology today.
Tomorrow I will be teaching a class via a virtual classroom and my students will be scattered across the globe. My assistant is in Sacramento, California and there will be students all across America, parts of Europe, India and Australia. Obviously the folks on the other side of the planet will be on night shift (It will also the winter solstice in Australia). I'll be standing in a conference room in Birmingham, Alabama.
The thing about it is, this technology is fairly old...as technology goes. It's been around for about five years, but it's still quite remarkable.
Today the company gave me a new pager to keep in touch at all times. I have a small mobile device that's not much bigger than a deck of cards and I can send and receive email, browse the internet, pull up spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, databases, and listen to music. I can also shoot a photograph or do a short video if the mood strikes me. I wanted to hold out for one that could cut my hair and give me a pedicure but my boss failed to see the humor of this request.
The more I learn about computers, the more I realize I don't know squat.
It seems like the world is getting smarter and smarter and going by at a velocity that is very hard to comprehend.
When our administrative assistant was telling me about my new pager today, I got the irresistible urge to say "are you pullin' my leg?"

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