Hey, so it may have been the slowest election ever, in the history of California. Apparently less than 1 in 4 people were able to spare 30 minutes to vote. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a spare 15 hours to spend at the polls!
Heh, going back to school was such an awesome idea. It’s an interesting combo of who works the polls: retired people (the average age was probably about a billion) and students. Except not grad students – high school students. Am I just on the slow track or something? I think I may have been the only 20-something in San Mateo County to be working the polls. There were definitely a few 30-somethings though… along with a similar number of 80-somethings.
Breakfast: (and lunch)
I didn’t get a picture of it, but my roommates brought me awesome homemade quiche and fresh strawberries for dinner! You rock roomies!
So over the course of the day, I signed my name off several dozen times. Initials a few more dozen times. Everything arrives sealed with serial numbers. Every seal’s serial number must be matched against a master list. Every action you take that could potentially give you access to the (virtual or physical) ballot box, you must do with a partner. You both sign off on everything. At the end of the day, we counted everything up, made sure every one of our 560 ballots were accounted for, and sealed all of them back up with more tamper-evident serial-numbered seals. Pretty comprehensive security. But it was kinda overload. 15 hours of trying to make sure you, your fellow election ‘judges’, and every voter crosses every ‘t’ and dots every ‘i’… I think we got nearly all of them.
I got assigned to my neighborhood polling place, which is at the church just over my backyard fence. Here’s our set up:
¡Yo voté! Y Ud… ¿Ud. votó? ¿Votará próxima vez?
Gates came to Stanford this week to ’share his vision’ of all things tech, and how that will change the world, and how it should change the world. Given that I’m spending a significant amount of time in a building that bears his name and using urinals his money paid for, and that he’s currently the world’s richest person (excluding monarchs and dictators and all those good people) I thought I should hear him talk. Apparently so did the rest of the campus. It was a packed house.
Bill had some good stuff to say… He has a great perspective on where the tech industry’s came from in the last 30 years – the schism between hardware and software, primarily. And how revolutionary the idea of a ‘personal computer’ was. His vision of where computing is going was much more corporate and business centric than others I’ve heard recently. Video conferencing, distance learning, increasing worker productivity. Heh, and he still believes in the tablet pc… the “replacement for paper” as he put it. Cute Bill…. it’s a laptop – with a rotating touchscreen. Revolutionary! I can only dream of what’s next.
Bill, the reality is:
- The home PC has evolved into an internet terminal. That’s it. Heavy word processing, gaming – no. We do that at work, or we do it on a specialized console.
- You don’t need a desktop or a laptop to use an internet terminal. You need a phone.
- The cell phone already has over 50% global market penetration. The PC, as we know it, will never come close to this.
- In the next 5 years, we will see mainstream phones quickly take over the feature set that currently compels the average consumer to blow 2k on a new desktop or laptop.
- In 10 years, you’ll get home, insert your phone into a dock next to your 48″ LCD, sit down with your wireless keyboard, and check your email and geek out. You wil not have a desktop machine, or laptop, or tablet PC, or anything with more computing resources than necessary to a) retrieve information from a remote server and b) display it.
- In 10 years, your phone won’t be running windows. And Microsoft will still be building huge In-The-Box software for an increasingly smaller and smaller market of the largest and slowest companies around.
The interesting question to ask is – in 10 years, what will your phone be running? How much will it look like a phone versus… a watch? or an armband? or sunglasses?
Bill took some questions, but most of them were leading questions about philanthropy… thinly veiled questions of the form “Problem X has caused 20 million billion puppies to die. What are you doing to fix it? oh, by the way, I’m from the Fix Problem X Foundation.” I’m of the opinion that while philanthropy does have vital short-term benefits, any long term solution we find to our global-scale problems will be devised from and implemented in the currently dominate democratic/capitalistic model that has proven to suck less than any other idea thus far.
The dude on the left is the President of Stanford University, who I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to, and not say that he came off as a total tool, even though he did. How can you be a tool if you’re already The Man? Chicken and the egg v2: what came first – the tool or The Man?