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The return of the nomads
The winter of 1992 was exceptionally rainy. I arrived a bit late to the annual event of Sun Microsystems, and was asked to enter the lecture hall from a side door, since a large puddle was blocking the main entrance. I went, under heavy rain and trough some more puddles, to the back of the building and quietly opened what seemed like the right door. I saw someone giving a slides presentation about the Ba'hai center in Haifa, and thinking that this must be the wrong lecture hall, I went back and somehow found my way to the conference center's main lobby. I was soaked wet, and in desperate need of a cup of coffee, so I just set in the cafeteria and waited for the first lecture on the agenda to end. When I finally got into what I now knew was the right lecture hall, I had a chance to look at the conference's brochure and find out that the first lecture on the agenda was about how the staff of the Ba'hai center, was using Sun computers to manage their aggregation system and other logistics. The theme of the conference, it turned out, was the rise of ubiquitous computing. I still think it was very foresighted of Sun to hold that conference when laptop computers were only making their first steps, and commercial Internet was just an idea, still debated in a congress committee. But they did, and the next lecture was the main coarse. In it, an executive Sun's sales strategist, was talking about possible cultural implications of computing and computer mediated communication, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Almost 10 years before the September 11 terror attacks, this man had a warning for the modern world. "Cultures that have nomadic traits within them", he said, "Will be the first to learn how to take advantage of ubiquitous computing, and within those cultures, crime and terror organizations will be the first of the first." Was he just taking a wild guess, or did he notice something in those cultures that enabled him to make a prediction? read on into this collection, and you will see
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