Sunday, July 27, 2008

Burlingame to New Jersy to Dublin - long ranging conversation

So, there we were, standing in line outside the Apple store. Yes, I know. But they had 16GB Black iPhones. What is one to do?

Actually, I still have my old Generation 1 iPhone. The other member of the household has traded up. Given its capacity, he can consolidate his music from his iPod and have only one device. Not a bad excuse.

I'm holding out for a (Product) Red version. I am banking on the fact that, now that iPhones come in two colors - a third is possible. We'll see.

While in the line we got into conversation with an older couple, from New Jersey I learned late in the conversation. They were just passing and wanted to know what the line was about - and why.

We explained. I could tell they were still bemused. Speaking of the new version of the phone, Dick mentioned that you could get an application that turned it into a level - of the kind carpenters might use. "Exciting", said the woman. Although she allowed that it was not a feature that appealed specifically to her. I liked her style.

They were impressed that we were over the age of 21 and still excited about the technology. Hearing that we worked in technology ourselves they felt that this explained things somewhat.

They were quite interested in my work. Talking further they asked me if there was any real social benefit to what I do. A difficult question. Not to answer, that is. The answer is clearly "No".

But difficult because it is a question I have asked myself more than once. And I still don't like the answer. I mentioned this to them. This and the fact that my siblings feed the other, nurse the other when ill and put a roof over the head of the other (chef, nurse and carpenter as they are).

I work to improve the bottom line of companies (sometimes despite the best efforts of the management).

I did mention to them that there is one project on which I worked that has some redeeming value - I had something to do with the delivery mechanism for the Amber Alert system in New Jersey. This is when I learned the couple were from New Jersey.

They went their way, still a little bemused. A gracious pair - with an after dinner story for their children and grandchildren about two they met in Burlingame who were old enough to know better yet standing in line outside an Apple store.

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