Paige will never know a world without Facebook or Twitter, and will probably think of film-based pictures as relics of her parents’ time. She'll wonder why we say "tape" or "film" when we mean the verb "record." We’ve all moved on toward the better of newer. But some old school practices serve very well. On Mother’s Day weekend, Abby and I tended to this tiny baby just four weeks old, while parents Maribeth and Peter got a night off and trusted us to care for Paige. Walking the floor with that little girl nestled over my heartbeat, I felt the rush of love and memory from the first days with my son. In the dark of the night, Abby lay in bed next to the bassinete, rocking it with her foot. Sleep was a blessing we all pursued that evening. Walking and rocking remain fundamentals.
But we also experienced a comfort in our overnight of tending to Paige, perhaps the same calm you can muster while you face newer technology challenges. You’ve earned your stripes and embraced one new marvel after another by the time you log 15, 20 or 30 years doing your career’s work. Your 3000 is likely to be able to take commands from a 1.5 pound mobile iPad tablet.
Mobile goes beyond phones when an enterprise company takes on the sector. This week HP's CEO said that the company didn't purchase Palm to create and sell smartphones. Instead, said Mark Hurd, "it's all about the IP," intellectual property and patents around the WebOS operating environment. HP will move the technology into mobile devices it's developing. Old technology like enterprise servers will provide a playground for the brand-new WebOS tech, once HP gets done integrating.
The world’s networks lure us into better technology, providing contact we once struggled to acquire. HP rolled out new Integrity servers late in April, and I could learn tech advances from my office, watching streamed videos. The iPad doesn’t know how to make those videos appear, since the device is bereft of Flash. But HP’s answer in the tablet derby, the Slate, won’t show them either, because HP has scrapped the device to start over with its newest operating system, Palm’s WebOS. HP now owns both, a deep reach into new technology.
HP’s purchase of Palm shows off an aspect as old as many grandparents’ practiced walks. Hewlett-Packard has a new operating system to call its own, a play it hasn’t made since the 2002 purchase of Compaq. Non-industry-standard environments were supposed to be a part of HP’s past. But just as Abby and I revived skills of bottle-feeding, HP has again embraced the ideal of technical superiority over market acceptance. Old skills resurface. I didn’t imagine I would enjoy warming bottles beyond midnight again. But there I was in that Houston kitchen, my skills improved with new tech that heats a bottle precisely in less than two minutes.
We can enjoy our new little girl via Skype video calls, the same kind of fast bandwidth that can bring a 3000 console closer to your multi-touch interface. As a graybeard I can be accused of exploring Grandpa’s Computer for my career's work. But it’s also a comfort for all of us to know that our elders’ experience enriches us, cradling the brand-new against the hearts of the old.