Today I experienced the future that is definitely now. For some this is old hat, but it was new for me and I enjoyed it. I am talking about Skype, the software that allows you to make free video phone calls online with an internet connection, webcam, and microphone. For those who are interested, my skype ID is rwrapp. Now, the actual significance of this story is the history... going all the way back to 1995 and a man named Meester...
Back in 1995 I was a freshman at Horizon High School in Thornton, CO. There was a teacher there named Ray Meester who despite being a lovable old hippie-type, also happened to be quite a math teacher and technological prophet. He had the foresight in the early 90's to get technology grants to make Horizon one of Colorado's first fully networked high schools with broadband in every room and a full service internet and technology lab. Yes, I became one of the internet lab T.A.'s and built my first website using HTML in 1995.
However, I distinctly remember a conversation with Mr. Meester about the future of internet technology. He predicted that while computers would get smaller and more portable (think Mac Air), that cell phones would actually become more powerful and computer-like (think Blackberry). He also said that a time would come when he could be sitting in his canoe fishing in a mountain lake, connected wirelessly to the internet through a cell phone card in his laptop, making a video call to his math classroom to teach trigonometry while he fished. That would be Skype. He shared these thoughts with me 13 years ago in 1995!!!
Unfortunately, Mr. Meester died of cancer in November of 1997, and thus did not see these things come to pass. I mention this whole story simply because it is an amazing memory of someone who was a good friend, great teacher, and wise in many ways. This world can always use more teachers like Mr. Meester.