Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bringing the World Together (with Technology)

Wow! A coworker sent me an extremely moving video: Where the H*$& is Matt? This really touched me, as sentimental as I am. This video brings tears to my eyes, laughter to my belly, love to my heart, and a smile to my face. The world is such a beautiful place filled with marvelous people. I can watch this video over and over again and keep noticing different little details that make it grow and grow in importance to me.

This reminds me of the It’s a Small World Disney attraction. This has a special place in my heart. As a kid, I remember my mother being so in love with this, and us riding it on it during every trip that we took to visit my grandparents in Orlando. When the attraction was launched in 1964, the world was not nearly as connected as it is today, so I imagine that it was really a treat at the time to see all of the costumes and looks. Despite the over-the-top caricatures, the similarities between people and cultures were still quite noticeable. The similarities vastly outweigh the differences. Though the differences provide charm and diversity, the contrasts helps to showcase all of the wonderful things we have in common, rather than driving a wedge between peoples.

Watching this video over and over is now a favorite way cultivate my compassion for the human race. I feel so connected to the world, to the oneness of creation. Many thanks to Matthew Harding and everything else involved for putting this together and sharing. This is awesome in the true and miraculous sense of the word. Seeing each of the places, the different dances in each culture, the little nuances to everyone’s moves, just high-lights how real and individual people are.

Digression: Tech Connection
People who know me know that I’m slightly anachronistic, especially in the technology that I adopt. I don’t have a CD player in my house – I listen to records. They just have soul to me. I seldom watch TV, and don’t have one in my place. I keep an early-model cell phone, it’s just so convenient to have a phone, but I don’t need all of the fancy features of today’s more advanced phones. And I carry a Moleskine around for planning and notes rather than a PDA. Then, on the other side of the coin, I have a laptop connected to the internet via wireless, I have MP3 players for working out and walking around town, and my work is to make it easy for developers to express themselves on parallel processors. I am not into technology for technology's sake; I'm into it for where it powers creative expression.

One example of such an application is Ableton Live, software for music creation and DJ’ing. My whole life I have been interested in music, but have never had the rhythm or control over an instrument to create it. I think there’s something in my wiring making me incapable of creating music using instruments directly. Now, software enables me to create express myself through music. I can compose on loops, hearing things over and over again, and making little tweaks here and there through drawing on the screen. And any theory that I learn can instantly be translated into the software. Ableton itself being written for multi-core processor support means that I can add more and more instruments and complexity to the software. Thanks Ableton, keep up the good work.

It’s a Small World is great fors its time, but the animatronics are just rough exaggerations. The real world as captured in this video is breath-taking. Technology makes all of this possible. The quality of this video, the medium of the internet, and the elegantly simple sharing of social networking technologies all help give this wings. It strengthens my chosen path working in technology. Seeing this helps realize that I’m not just geeking out on technology, fulfilling my brain's desire to play with computers and algorithms. Instead, it reminds me that I create enabling technologies for people to express themselves. That's how I contribute A Pistachio... to the world.


  1. A friend of mine emailed this to me personally and has allowed me to share it here:

    Nice read.

    Brought back memories of me being 14 years old…never travelled further south than Virginia or more north than the PA/NY border, and never to a state not on the eastern seaboard... band trip to Orlando and it’s a small world was my first real introduction to life (albeit caricatured) outside of my own very little world. For many of us where I grew up, it was our first time out of our home state. An entire town tracked our progress via regular updates from our route south on the local radio station, and when we won a big competition in our own little version of musical Hoosiers, every sign in town had some congratulatory message as we rolled back into town.

    I still ride it’s a small world whenever I go to Disney…it has some weird attraction for me and that day when I first saw the world thru disney’s animatronics. Its getting tired, last summer the paint was fading, the lines are pretty short now, and I doubt it has the same effect on today’s kids as it did me and my friends that day.

    You forget how connected the world is today..internet, commoditized air travel, world news updated every 30min…. kinda funny how Matt captured imo the essence of that it’s a small world ride for today’s “youtube” generation.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great video link.