Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Exhibit Sidebar, pictures of a possible future

Mike posted reactions to our visit to the Broadband Trailer yesterday earlier and it is well worth scrolling down to or taking the jump to its stand-alone page. For those of us who simply hunger to see a few concrete images of our much-anticipated future I've snapped a few pics to pass on.

The broadband trailer against the magnificent background of the Cajundome:

The next image is of the "LUS" labled Network Interface Device sitting beside your power meter with the emergency power module that would hold a small battery to power the system during short power outages is below the power meter.

With the interface box open you can see the yellow fiber going into the box's electronics with video coax, 2 ethernet ports, and 4 plain old telephone plugs coming out. We'll likely be seeing something very like this in Lafayette if Mike and I are reading the tea leaves correctly. It would be possible to unplug your existing phone and coax drops, run a patch cord from them to your new LUS box and continue on as if nothing had really happened—if you've stuck to basic, analog cable TV and haven't switched over to VOIP (or dropped your landline) by the time LUS gets to your house.

How long it will all be useful is the issue Mike raises in his post. My concerns parallel but don't entirely spring from the same place as Mike's. My tech background is via education and design and so I have less of a technical emphasis. Education and design are applications, things that are done with technology. So I worry about what one can do with technology and through both experience in those fields and native inclination I am inclined to push for anything that enhances the ability of the user and disinclined to think that limits of any sort are smart. Students and creatives, in my experience, always have a way of finding and smacking into any barrier that's available. The better way is always to get out of the way. IMHO. On the other hand I've made many a compromise with that principle. You can't teach unless you set limits. (The trick is to make sure none of the limits are ones that keep a student from going where they end up needing to go.) I'm sympathetic to neccessary limits but easily irritated by unnessary ones.

They way that sort of thinking applies here is that I want to be reassured that any limits put in place are really necessary, for solid, practical reasons and that it can be easily, and inexpensively removed when it becomes unnecessary or counterproductive.

I'm begining to suspect that the PR battle for Lafayette is over and that LUS has won. Cox and BellSouth. Cox and BellSouth did their worst and it didn't seem to disturb the people of Lafayette very much. They haven't tried to misrepresent the recent feasibility study; something I find shocking. Apparently Lafayette has decided to trust local folks and to opt for hope instead of fear. I get the sense that LUS thinks so to. If that is true it might just be possible to reciprocate that trust and start talking with the people of Lafayette about the real choices that have to be made. Trying to make sense of common problems is what a strong community does. And participating in the process is what makes a community strong.

None of these issues raised here lessen our support for LUS and a publicly-owned fiber optic network for Lafayette. It's more that we've grown fond of LUS' baby even though we've never really met the fella. But we'd sure like to. We've been willing to fight to see him given a chance to be born. And we'd like to see him grow up strong and tall.

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