In honor of those less fortunate…

At 5:04pm – 25 years ago – the World Series was interrupted by our 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake. I remember the moment, having driven through the Cypress overpass to get home in time for the first pitch. In honor of those less fortunate – those who were trapped by the collapsed freeway and the heroic first responders who pulled so many to safety – these brief thoughts:

  • We did not have cell phones.  We did not have email, except for those early systems within a department or company.  Television was the only vehicle to watch news unfold, and landlines (one per household unless there was a teen-ager in the family) were the only way to connect.  I reached my spouse to tell her the bridge was broken before the phone lines went dark; it was several hours before I could phone my parents in Illinois to report that everyone was ok.
  • Entire industries have appeared and matured since 1989 (Cisco’s pioneering efforts to produce a router that connected disparate islands and provide a new definition for “network” that previously referred only to ABC, CBS, and NBC; Motorola’s early-and-hefty creation of phones that one could carry as you walked from place to place; Apple’s word processor we all called Pearl) and others have faded (Detroit, enough said).
  • With 25 years of remarkable technological transformation (no one’s lives are the same, it seems) farmers still looked into the sky for signs of rain, travelers would marvel at the Change as trees along the east coast burst with sudden color, and baseball players still took batting practice before the game, somehow hitting a round ball with a round bat that created that unmistakable sound, when done well.

I’m inclined to congratulate my colleague, Bill Schlough (CIO for the SF Giants who defied the odds yet again this season) as his tech team gets ready for this year’s World Series.  And I’m inclined to offer these words of gratitude, because I would have been on that freeway during my regular commute home but (confession) I left work early to be home in time for the first pitch, the pitch that didn’t happen.

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