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Mind the gap

Phil Windley's Technometria 'blog is one of my favorites. For the same reasons I visit a number of blogs, I experience vicariously whatever he happens to be investigating. For years I've had an "avocational" interest in identity, a vocational interest in SOA and Web services standards, etc. I also receive his e-mail'ed Enterprise Computing Newsletter.

This morning, I read his "Clueless in SimLand" comment, and went into full empathy mode. As he points out about himself, I pride myself with my grasp of new technologies in my chosen areas, listening to (and thinking about) new music, finding the best news analysis on the 'net, and so forth in order to avoid being "stuck in the last decade." But, like Phil, I've often found myself thinking that I'm ignoring major aspects of present-day technology and it's impact on people's lives.

The virtual worlds that, for example, my wife frequents in order to maintain close contact with nephews living across the country, are a cipher to me. I know about them, and have known from the outset (thanks, in no small part, to Esther Dyson and the Rel 1.0 / PC Forum participation). I know how they work, can understand the technical issues they face in scaling their operations, creating a business, and even the more recent issues of the managing private currencies that bleed over into and are exchanged IRL ("in the real world") for "real dollars."

But, like Phil, I find myself ignoring too many of the social, cultural and business aspects because I can't personally seem to find it in myself to dive in and experience it.

I don't get the feeling that I'm alone. I think there's a large group of folks

who don't play online games and so they are mostly ignoring what's happening in

that space. What do you think? Is this a hole in my education that I ought to


I think that, for me, it is a hole. I'm not positive that, in full measure, I'm able to grasp it the way I have things like e-mail, IM, HTML/web, etc. However, it IS becoming increasingly important as a social and economic phenomenon, not just as a technology of interest. It is time to take the time and reign in the preconceived notions.

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