Sunday, August 07, 2005

Proof of insignificance

If anything, adversity is a good calibrator of self-importance. So, I had spent the past week making sure that the beautiful resort we have this conference at will be ready with a modicum of technology presence. I set up, or rather finagled setting up of, 3 wireless hotspots. Actually, one sentence doesn't do it justice. Setting up technology in a foreign land is quite an intriguing challenge, especially if you don't want to be some yankee jerk who bulldozes their way (as is done in the business world, oppressing and demoralizing all locals to get your technology or whatever). After all, this is a Human Rights type of conference, and how hypocritical to abuse the innocent (if confoundingly nonresponsive) local folk.

There is also a double whammy of ability and willingness to interact:
Ability, in that I don't speak Thai, and they hardly speak English.
Willingness, in that the IT-folk in general tend to be nerdy and not so communicative.

But, with pantomime and sound effects, the internal wireless hotspots were connected to the Hotel's fledgling semi-broadband, (slenderband?) connection. The IT guy whose name is dtee (pronounced almost like T.E.) kept pulling out secret wires from under roofshingles and inside back closets, and in general making it all happen.

The positive thing about IT folk seems to be that once you pique their curiosity, they will doggedly pursue the implementation.

So, after many hours of pointing and smiling, counting in thai and flailing, we established a patchwork of hotspots, beautifuly connected to the internet. A motley crew of laptops (namely Shiba, Pokey, Frenchie and Techie ... subject of a another e-versation) were sprinkled on the desktops of the internet Cave (prononced like cafe, but with a v, to signify lack of cofee and presence of a dungenous odor). across the way, 4 mini lapatops blinked expectantly for the afternoon sessions of technology infusion.

And then... with 15 minutes before the 4 simultaneous classes were to begin, as I was riding some wave of self importance and accomplishment in the early afternoon torrent, slowpacing like a peacock for the imminent onslaught of technology onto the eager participents...all the fans, and lights, and yes the blinking routers and modems stopped, as power in the entire neighborhood went out.

In the crashing descend into the abyss of helplessness (the power returned, but not the internet connection), I understood some Goedel's theorm version, that there is always a larger circle outside your circle of control, in this case, the Thor, norse god of thunder on vacation in Thailand.

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