Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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New Perspective

477 words on

For a few years now you’ve seen people with websites salivate about someone or something called TED. Particularly so if the writer had seen the thing himself. The most apparent feature of the event seemed to be all the ‘awesome’ people speaking there and explaining the complicated problems of the world to geeks in a quarter of an hour. Impressive indeed. For those not present, there was a web site for the event with videos of short talks given there. Some clever and witty stuff in there, indeed. What stuck more than the contents or names of the speakers was that the whole thing is paid for by a Bavarian maker of poncy cars. Ah well.

So I had to read some odd technology supplement of the Cape Times to find out for the first time that the event’s ‘name’ actually is nothing but an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design and that it’s really a bit like the Oscars – the article running a headline of

Newspaper headline: Celebrities gather at retreat to change the world

Accordingly the text contains paragraphs about Comedian Robin Williams […] Actress Cameron Diaz […] Queen Noor of Jordan […] Actor Forest Whitaker. Honourable mentions go to Serge Brin, actress Goldie hawen, Former US vice president Al Gore and Microsoft founder Steve Wozniak. No Segways were mentioned, though. Further choice quotes could be One performer’s instruments included a marble and a bowl or the downright mission statement-ish

The ‘TED community’ is perpetually tapped to fulfil visions such as ending poverty, nurturig the environment and fostering planetary harmony.

And all that in beanbags with massage therapists!

Perhaps not the greatest piece of journalism, but an interesting new view on the problem. A few pages later the more misanthropic and technophobe author Robert Greig did a better job at resonating with me in his ‘unplugged’ column. After an overture on conspiracy theorists:

[…] [t]hey feed on the credulity of generations brought up to scan, not read, to feel and not think. Who believe the internet is an encyclopaedia rather than a bazaar.

I’ll try to remember that one – dissing the wikistuff and the opentards in one go is very efficient. More goodness comes about the department of labour: The hall was a mass meeting of slow queues; people behind counters conferred with their tea or were holding merry strategic planning sessions to ‘address’ overcrowding while the mobs surged in and our friends, the banks who [l]aunched charm offensives saying how much they cared; they removed the chairs and plonked the populace on the streets to get mugged at ATMs.

Add to that a desk with [a] tangle of wires: telephone, power, cellphone because Bluetooth seems only to tell me when it’s disconnected, and I get the impression we may have one of the few tech writers who’s honest, experienced and not completely inane. Who would have thought…

March 12, 2008, 21:55

Tagged as country:za, south africa, travel.


Comment by dan: User icon

Eh? “Microsoft founder Steve Wozniak.” A technology awards bash you say?

March 13, 2008, 14:01

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