Brad DeLong on Mon, 11 Feb 2002 06:57:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> All right, I admit it -- I went to Davos-in-NewYork

>I want to know who else from nettime was not down in Brazil with those
>zillion ineffectual leftists, but was hanging out with the globalist Great
>and the Good in Davos/NYC.

I was...

>Was that a gig, or what? Did you get that radio-frequency ID badge?

Yes. Cool entering the world of the future--when the id badge you are 
wearing calls up a picture of you (or, rather, of the person whose 
badge it is). Somewhat disconcerting...

>  And
>did you get the free Compaq WinCE handheld?


>Did yours work?

No. But I didn't really expect it to. By the time I picked mine up, 
the earnest person behind the desk was telling me to (a) let it 
synchronize often, (b) stay still while it synchronized, (c) be sure 
to try to synchronize only where you would have a good signal, (d) 
that under the conference load the systems were proving 
"temperamental," and (e) not to try to use it to send email.

So the first thing I did was try to use it to send one (1) email. It 
crashed. I reset it and used it to browse around the meeting schedule 
for a little while. It was slow. Then I downloaded some news 
headlines. Then I discovered that it *only* downloaded 
headlines--that there was no way to get to the stories that I could 
find. Then I used it to try to download the superbowl score: it 
crashed, restarted, announced that it had to download 8000 webpages 
immediately, took 45 minutes to do so, crashed again, restarted, 
announced that the avantgo software had no channels installed, and 
was a useless brain-dead hulk for the rest of the meeting.

Stripped of its "meeting companion" software configuration, however, 
it seems a quite nice machine, the ipaq. But no easy way to sync it 
with my Macs. So I'm sticking with my two-year-old Visor.

The outside of the ipaq bag has--in big letters--Compaq, Microsoft, 
Accenture. I find myself wondering just what they were thinking in 
selling the Davos-in-NY people a 
meeting-planner-and-wireless-communicator that chokes when it tries 
to send wireless email, has a mean-time-to-crash of 15 minutes, and 
has software sufficiently unstable that crash number 4 wipes key 
parts of its software installation and puts it into a brain-dead 
state. Did the Accenture people not test it at all? Did they fail to 
test it under anything like the load it would get during the meeting? 
Why would Microsoft want its Windows CE operating system associated 
with such an unstable applications package as the AvantGo system used 
by Accenture? Why would Microsoft want WindowsCE to be demonstrated 
on a computer like the ipaq that apparently doesn't have the 
horsepower or the wireless bandwidth to satisfy the one-second or 
even the ten-second rule? Why is Compaq associating its name with 
software companies like Microsoft and consultancies like Accenture 
that overpromise what its machines can actually deliver?

Unless the average experience was very different from mine, a lot of 
people left that meeting thinking that neither Compaq, Microsoft, nor 
Accenture should be trusted with any part of Our Digital Future...

>And did
>those 4,000 paranoid New York cops steal your Swiss Army pocketknife? 
>They sure got mine!

No. But the Delta Airlines security people did get it at JFK. Kudos to them...

>Look, I forgive you.  I'm not judgemental about your slumming with Euro
>zillionaires.  You can trust me.  I'll never tell Ted, or Pit, or Geert,
>or all those sinister women on the FACES list.  C'mon, Bono was there!
>So was Naomi Campbell.  How bad can it be?

As at all meetings, one has brief "exchanges" which may or may not be 
enlightening but are rarely deep at all with the people at the formal 
sessions one participates in, one compliments people one doesn't know 
but has always wanted to compliment (Jim Gillmor, Eric Brewer, Lewis 
Lapham), and one has significant "talks" with people one knows--in my 
case, ex-graduate students, ex-colleagues at the Clinton Treasury, 
other Economics professors, other Berkeley professors (it was very 
nice to run into Manuel Castells and hear what he has been doing), 
and the people they know who they are talking to at the time. So your 
network enlarges. You (in my case at least) agree with like-minded 
economists that Argentina successfully implemented 80% of the 
neoliberal agenda, and that any system in which 80% implementation is 
not enough for success is massively disfunctional. You catch up on 
what people who were interesting a decade ago are doing now...

Brade DeLong

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