Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Future is Coming True - Sorta

Back when I was a kid I'd watch shows such as the Jetsons and 'Lost in Space' and I'd think, 'Wow, this is going to be my future someday.' And so I waited, and saw technology progress - slowly at first. Coming out of high school, I'd've bet that we would have flying cars by then. No such luck. 

But something was just around the corner. Back in 1969 we had just enough computing power 
to get to the moon and back, and knowing the size of computers from back then, that was an amazing feat.

I entered college thinking I'd be a translator for the United Nations someday, but I wasn't completely oblivious to the computers around me, and the geek in me was drawn to them, to the point where I changed my major to Computer Science, and got to program Assembly Language for a processor called an 8080. 

Lord, if I'd known what that would grow into, but at the time, it was more a toy and mainframe computers still ruled. My degree may have fizzled after getting my A.S., but my interest in computers did not. Professionally I stuck to mainframes and minis, but kept an eye on those microcomputers.

When the Micro-explosion hit, I turned to sales and building my own PC-compatible machines, keeping just in touch enough to make things work while I tried to eke out a living. I had the old-fashioned telephone modems, accounts at various BBS's and an AOL account where I got the software from a 3.5 inch diskette.

Yet as much of an impression computers made on me in the 80's and 90's, I couldn't help but think...'Where's my flying car?' I was lucky to have a working car at the time, and frequently did not have one at all. My future wasn't coming true. I took to dreaming about my own version of the future and how it would all come about. This was the origin of 'The Timmons Chronicles.'

In that 'future', actually set in the past, my hero had flying cars, hand-held communications and access to a wealth of information at his fingertips and voice command. 

This was a time when the Internet was just catching fire, but I was able to see what it would become.

Today, 18 years after the first draft of 'Theater Boy' was written, (has it been that long?), we are only just seeing a potential flying car hit the market. Yes, the Internet is proving to be a wealth of information and cat videos, and voice commands are common. 

Robots are becoming more lifelike, if you keep them in the lab, but I still don't feel that we're really 'in the future' yet. 

Where's the 'Foodarackacycle'? Where's Rosie the robot maid? Where are the super-high-rise
apartments you can fly into? 

They were in someone's imagination not that long ago, but one of the downsides to having such a vivid imagination of how the future should look is society takes a very long time to catch up to it.

My own imagination was fired by such programs, and slowly society is catching up with my imagination. Well, that's not true, because my imagination can take another look at how things are and imagine them even better. Maybe they're getting there for the predictions of 'Theater Boy', but the 'Soul Survivor' series is going a step further that that. And if society continues to progress and I keep living, my imagination will continue to be way ahead of it. And that, my friends, is good news for the future.​

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Middle of the Road Party: The Proposed Platform

With all the politics going on around me, I want to propose a new party to compete with the extremes we are facing from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Proposed Platform for the Middle of the Road Party
1. We acknowledge that there is a global problem with poverty, hunger, living conditions and homelessness, but we seek alternative methods of easing these conditions rather than relying on government or taxpayer money to cure the problem.
2. We acknowledge that there is a gun problem in the United States, but rather than exert more control over the existing guns, we will work to educate gun owners on proper use, to increase awareness and find cures for mental illness and to limit the manufacture of automatic weapons and the ammunition they use.
3. We acknowledge that in the United States there are many religions, each with their own set of rules, each with a right to exist, but we will strive for a government that is free of religious influence other than the moral guidelines they set.
4. We recognize that there are times when war is a necessity to maintain global peace, but the act of going to war should be thoroughly discussed and no military action should be engaged unless a valid exit plan is made before action is taken. We declare that we are not the world police and we will not interfere with local conflicts.
5. While we do not condone the use of recreational drugs, we will make no law to criminalize the possession of marajuana.
6. We recognize that businesses in the United States provide jobs and our unique way of life, but there is a need for regulation so that excessive greed does not leave a wake of human, economic and environmental victims.
7. We recognize that the United states has a place in the world's economy and that free trade should be maintained with all countries of the world.
8. We acknowledge that various forms of pollution has had an impact on the environment and world climate. We will work to limit the effects of that pollution.
9. We acknowledge that the world has never truly been safe from those with extremist and dangerous points of view, but we will not hold an entire religion, or an entire race responsible for the words and actions of a few.
10. We acknowledge that every resident of the United States has a right to privacy and no action will be taken by a government agency to usurp that right without due process.
11. We acknowledge that the United States was founded by those whose ancestors were not born here, and the process of immigration that built us into the melting pot we have become shall not be abridged. Instead we will work with the countries where illegal immigrants come from so that the issues that drive their population toward us are resolved. We resolve to embrace the existing immigrant population.
12. We acknowledge that a drug addiction problem exists and will work toward allieving the issue, not punishing those caught up in the practice.
13. We acknowledge that different sexual orientations exist.
14. We acknowledge that a woman has the burden of carrying a child from conception to the end of the pregnancy.