Five Things You Didn't Know About Idaho

No, Idaho wasn't tagged, but I'm still getting follow up email and commentary from last week's trip, so here's the follow up blog entry with five things you may not have known about Idaho.

1. Idaho is the Gem State. Originally, the name was offered as a moniker for the land around Pike's Peak, and claim was made that "Idaho" was a Shoshone Indian word. It's not, it wasn't, and Pike's Peak is now in Colorado. The mountain didn't move, but the boundaries of Idaho did.

2. sunforsmallbusiness.com resolves to Indigo Networks, a company I referenced as a try and buy success story. It's a "Sun inside" ingredient branding, which is appealing because it takes Sun into smaller, local businesses. Gems of a silicon nature.

3. Banner Bank's new building in Boise is off the hook in terms of eco-responsibility. Combine geothermal heating with proximity to public transportation and wrap the whole thing up in a building that's 40% recycled material, and you have a world-class example of doing more with less.

4. Before Google Maps there was Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian guide for Lewis and Clark's expedition west. She was born in Idaho, and more recently can be seen on the circulating US dollar coin.

5. Solaris eclipses vistas in Idaho.

During the Idaho Business and Technology Expo, Microsoft parked their big rig along the curb, offering demonstrations and previews of Vista for those who ventured inside. Personally, the whole idea brought back a pair of memories -- from the Silicon Graphics "Jurassic Park" truck that we used to spot in Manhattan to the traveling freak show that occasionally arrived in the Monmouth Mall parking lot, offering the chance to see a "real frozen wooly mammoth" for only $2. Draw your own parallels from either of my flashbacks. The folks pictured above are two Sun employees and customers who put on the shirts, braved the cold and faced into the Sun, because, well, Solaris has fans and we were having fun.

That strange existential combination -- having fun, great technology, and general upset with a competitor's idea of 18-wheeler entertainment -- was our summer of 1995 impetus for the first JavaDay in New York City. The incongruity of the Microsoft Across America truck (leaving aside the "Beavis and Butthead do America" and "Tap Into America" movie references) is something I said in closing at my talk in Boise. Jon Katz's fabulous book Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho is a good read because it talks about the culture of being a geek, of belonging to a group that is defined by network routing protocols and not social protocols. Katz has the right idea but the wrong direction -- the Internet brings technology and communities into Idaho (or any other place with reasonable bandwidth), without any particular reason for you to leave. No trucks needed, departing from or getting to the Gem State.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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