The Eiffel Tower, Digital Divide and CEC 2007

We've often used buildings as examples of "good" and "bad" architecture. They always have to fit within a set of constraints -- street boundaries, zoning laws, public infrastructure bandwidth and until very recently in Philadelphia, the top of Ben Franklin's hat. At the same time, the buildings have to be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and part of the overall urban plan. There are lots of parallels between stacking floors and building software stacks.

At CEC 2007 last week, I couldn't help but pick up on this theme again. With some amazing camera work and editing by Seeley Roebuck, we've produced a CEC video about the Eiffel Tower and the Digital Divide. The Eiffel Tower was, and is, a great piece of engineering, not just in its design but in how it was constructed. It continues to sit not only in the center of Paris but in the center of controversy as well; most currently over the assertion of copyrights (it's in the video, trust me).

But is the Eiffel Tower in Vegas real? It's half-size, it's fairly accurate (if you ignore the slot machines around the footings), and there is an aire du francophone if you listen above the street noise. In the opening sequence of CEC, the narrator said that things can be "real, or virtually real" as actors gave the illusion of moving in and out of a Second Life animation on-screen. If you're using the virtual to build awareness of the real, and to drive common context, it doesn't matter. What does it have to do with the digital divide? Watch the video and the virtual me in front of the virtualized Eiffel Tower will attempt to close the loop.

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

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