Last week I was in Las Vegas for DevConnections and the launch of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Normally you won’t catch me dead in Las Vegas along The Strip due to all of the tourists, the constant cigarette smoke and the pervasive heat.
This trip did not turn out so bad. I went in the early part of the year where the temperature is the mid-sixties, beginning of the week so there are few tourists, and of course, with that, very little cigarette smoke.
What was great about this trip was not having to work too hard. I did not need to talk to clients, I was not having to go out every day and sell the services of my company, and I did not have to cover a huge conference as a member of the press. Just a nice, quiet, relaxing little conference talking to vendors and software developers and other business people.
It was the most relaxing time I have spent in the past three months, anywhere. Almost like a mini-vacation. Plus I got a huge amount of time to think and write about personal development. But no gambling. I refrained from playing Blackjack this trip, though I did lose about forty bucks on the penny slots whilst waiting for my girlfriend.
The last day of my trip I was able to make it over to visit a friend’s house and take a look at the architect’s plans for the new house they are building. What was fun about that was discussing all of the ideas they had for the literal castle in the air that they are building.
One thing i did realise though was that you can take the geek out of the ghetto but not the ghetto out of the geek.
My friends live on a double-gated country club community where everything is planned and not a blade of grass is out of place. I found it very depressing actually and the whole area set my teeth on edge. But what I found most amusing was that these two wonderful people still lived like traditional sci-fi/technology geeks with stacks of books just haphazardly piled up wherever they would go and a toilet cistern that didn’t quite work.
During a walk across the casino floor of the Bellagio I had a particularly interesting philosophical conversation that I really need to write up in to a post. But what was most striking about this conversation was that I did not record it in any way, shape or fashion. Every recording device I had on me at the time decided to pick that exact moment to stop working. My little SONY voice recorder, my SenseCam, my cell phone.
I had this sudden mental disconnection of “should I talk about this if I’m not recording it? What if I forget something I said? What if I don’t talk about it now but then forget to talk about it later?”
I was struck dumb (but only for a brief moment) by this quandary of suddenly being completely disconnected from the world and recording nothing at all.
Will future generations suffer angst at not recording, at not being connected, at being isolated from the world? I wrote about this in a post-singularity short story years ago but I experienced it first-hand for myself in a very real sense, right there, on the casino floor, in the most mundane of settings I could imagine.