My Personal Star


One thing about getting older is that, from time to time, I find myself stunned by doing or having something that, when I was younger, I would never have dreamed of doing or having.  I'm in the middle of one of these feelings.  My Internet connection is now a satellite!

As one who decided at age 5 that I wanted to 'do computers' after my Grandfather and I walked around inside of one (!), I have had this stunned experience frequently.  The notion that I actually own a computer, one that only weighs a few pounds and I can pack away in my suitcase, still leaves me breathless from time to time.  Especially when I remember how much more powerful it is than the house-sized dinosaurs I programmed in my earlier days.

And today I have my own little piece of an earth satellite!  I signed up with a service that lets me do both uplink and down link.  It is a modest-sized dish, perhaps 2 feet by 18 inches, and picks up my same old TV signal in addition to communicating with "my" satellite.  With any luck, I can leave my noisy static-y phone line for voice messages, and get my net kicks by wishing on my own personal star.

Somehow, getting my little TV dish didn't seem like the same kind of thing.  After all, the TV signal wasn't 'mine'--it went to millions of other people.  But my uplink and downlink are unique and personal--"mine, all mine"--albeit that I'm really sharing the satellite with thousands of other people.

I've been flashing back to when I was 7--my father, getting me up at 3:30 AM and the whole family going out into the golf course behind our house, shivering with cold, to see Sputnik zoom over.  The sense of dismay that the Russians had got there first.  The determination to study real hard so we can have a satellite too.  The delight when we finally put a satellite into orbit.

So last night I listened to a half-hour Real Audio program and didn't get thrown off once.  I was able to read all my mail without having to connect after a dropped line.  I was able to send mail without having to connect again because my line dropped when I was writing the mail.  Simple pleasures.  Things working the way they are supposed to, rather than the way they have been for the last few months.  No more ISDN!  I am a happy man.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.