rack upon rack of servers. I would like to sleep there, on the floor.
I used to be obsessed with politics, but I straight stopped reading the news after G-Dub, The Reckoning. I used to read Wonkette and Slate 8 times a day. Now I read Blogging Pro and Binary Bonsai and have strange fantasies about Application Servers. I ask girls if they know FTP as a covert pick-up line, but that is getting me nowhere.
In Montreal it was hard to find people to geek-out with, but I’d still run into a few at parties. I really enjoy those conversations, cause I really really care about RSS and Flash and databasing and stuff. One cause I like it, and two cause this shit helps people. Sri Lanka, however, is the boondocks of the Internet. People live in boring row upon row of Static HTML and view Opensource as a bunch of fags getting married.
I find plenty of Microsoft (ASP) Programmers, which does no good for me cause I don’t have any money and everything I run has to be cobbled together from free scripts. I mention PHP/mySQL and even the Geeks look confused. They use all Microsoft all the time, which is odd cause Sri Lanka can’t afford it. I find people that do websites, but they seem to think that means writing static HTML pages like it was 1997. Diyath brought over some well-meaning User Interface guys for the Sarvodaya site and they putzed around on Dreamweaver till I completely, and perhaps excessively, chewed them out. They have no concept of a Content Management System, which would let humans update their owns site (as per a blog). If you design 20 pages in Dreamweaver and the client changes the header you have to change 20 pages by hand. With a CMS you change the template. But, again, I digress.
The point of this story is that I met a bonafide Geek, Mahangu. He writes PHP, uses WordPress, and knows what XHTML is. Perhaps more importantly, he can write and take competent photos. That is, I think the sign of a Renaissance Geek. With a broad enough knowledge to use technology to do something rather than simply for its own sake.
If there’s one good thing about the Tsunami it’s that’s brought intelligent people out of the woodworks. For those few days competence was rewarded cause we had to get stuff done. For those few days the government and media were shown in the bright light of disaster, and they just stood there like deer in the headlights. They didn’t do shit, but now they’re getting their old clothes back. Hopefully people won’t forget that they weren’t there when we needed them. Hopefully people will remember that when the chips were down it was ordinary people that made a difference.
Unfortunately, the presses and ministries seem to getting their mojo back and we shall soon settle into that dull twilight of sustainable incompetence. Or not. I give them 5 years. I came back here cause the Sri Lankan Internet is a kiddie pool. I’m a teenager next to Slashdotters, I am not a child. Right now nobody really cares and the property is cheap, but I think it’ll appreciate. This is from Mahangu’s blog:
Posting this morning makes a lot more sense when thinking of the plans we made last evening. What plans you ask? Well, secret, secret plans.
We talked about a number of concepts that (we hope) will revolutionize Sri Lanka on the web. Most of them are still on the drawing board, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be excited about them. One thing’s for sure. My online time is going to increase over the next few months. And that means less sleep. Oh, hooray.
Is good to find a geek. We need more. Or more to the point, nice to meet you Mahangu.