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January 27th, 2008

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03:20 pm
Ok, so for those of you who were wondering what's going on, there's a reason I've been really asocial this week.

As many of you know, relsqui dumped me in a rather unkind fashion about a month ago. Shortly after that, a bunch of people started asking me if I was going to move. Truthfully, the thought hadn't crossed my mind until then, but at the moment, my lease has gone month-to-month, so I can get out of it practically at will.

I've often said to people that I eventually want to move back to LA, but I'd like to live somewhere else first because I can't imagine wanting to leave LA after I move back there. But then the question comes up: where does one go? Seattle? I have friends in Seattle that I'd love to hang out with. Mississippi? One of my oldest friends lives out there and she's single. I've done crazier things than move across the country for a girl. Paris? No real reason -- my French is decent and it's one of those places that's romanticized by the exploits of others.

Well -- while I was at it, I started thinking internationally. There's lots of places I've never been to. Lots of cool places I've never heard of. frozenfoxtale wrote an entry a long while ago that made me want to tear off my shackles and roam around the world for a while.

That time is now. This evening, I'm flying from SFO to New York at the behest of alchemy_gal (or "Crazy Jen" as I've been fond of calling her). She's always been interested in trying to help the downtrodden and she's won me over with an idea that I think really has the potential to change the world.

As the US entered the 1960s as one of the world's foremost super powers, the Peace Corps was founded. The idea was to share technology with third world countries and offer a ready supply of skilled individuals who would help to modernize those nations. By and large, the Peace Corps has been involved in maintaining infrastructure. Unhappily, the directors haven't really acknowledged projects like OLPC and 50x15, so they haven't gotten the support they need to get going.

Consider that we're nearly a decade after Clinton's "digital divide" speech and more than half the world's population is without a computer, let alone the internet.

Crazy Jen, as it happens, is a countess. As a result of this, she actually has a fair amount of capital at her disposal and some political oomph which she can use to motivate people. She's decided to found something very much like the Peace Corps. In addition, she noticed that on April 30th, the United Nations Committee of Information will be meeting.

The CoI's charter is to disseminate the information of the United Nations to the masses. The UN is ideally a place where the world's concerns are discussed and resolved, but if the world at large doesn't hear of what's discussed, then one can't really call it a forum for the world's concerns. In addition, the ability to rapidly communicate aids the public in emergencies. Most of the problem with the Asian tsunami was that there wasn't a way to warn people. Many could have been saved by a brief walk to higher ground if there had just been some way to tell them.

In its way, the timing for this couldn't be better -- at the moment, there's rioting and ethnic conflict in Kenya over their last election. Mobs have taken the streets in towns near Nairobi. It's getting pretty messy. Emergency crews are having difficulty responding. People are hearing rumors and getting worried because of them. All the problems that we're planning to ameliorate are right there.

Jen is organizing a presentation which she's managed to squeeze into the schedule in which we're going to target Kenya and ask for a charter to improve telecommunication in the area in order to build on this. We'll be collaborating with OLPC, the American Red Cross, and the Peace Corps in order to build the infrastructure for tight-beam wireless networking. Agreements have already been made and she's trying for more. With any luck, we'll be able to make the world a little more secure for people.

I'm going to spend the next couple of months out there meeting with investors and demonstrating the stuff that Alcatel-Lucent has been developing. If the licensing works out, this will give us ranges of several kilometers through terrain and buildings. I've seen much of the data under NDA and I'm excited to have this possibility. We're planning to use an integrated mesh system and develop the whole thing as a sort of NAT with routing following through each one of these groupings. My expertise with LARTC and the new Linux infrastructure is going to be directly applied in managing the vast amounts of data we expect to be handling inside of 3 years.

Finally -- I'll have made a positive change for the world. I'll have finally won my victory for mankind such that I won't be ashamed to die when my time comes.

I spoke with my manager this evening by cell. He was a bit upset, but to his credit, came to understand the magnitude of what I'll be doing and that I'm uniquely qualified for the position. He's asked me, as a favor, to keep the company in mind for the future -- and to keep posting about what I'm up to. 8) He's a good dude.

Boogeyman will still operate. I'm going to ask a former cow-orker of mine to keep it fed and watered with power and net. I expect he'll agree. After all, he has an account on it. ; )

I'll be taking a 60% reduction in pay in order to do this, but given that I'm not going to be in the US, that amount should be far more than enough for me. In addition, as more sponsors sign on, Jen has indicated that I'll be getting a rate of pay exceeding what I'm used to. We expect there to be a big jump after our initial proof of concept and plan is published in the month or so following the CoI meeting. I'm less trusting of that, but the point is that I'll have enough to live on. That's all I really need.

As a condition, I required that I'm able to bring Meg and Tera along. I thought about trying to give them to someone else, but ultimately, it would just be too much heartache for me. I love them both so dearly. While I'd get over it -- it's a much simpler matter to get over love which isn't wrested from you by someone else's actions -- it just didn't seem fair to them. It's been agreed on.

I haven't quite figured out what I'm doing with the rest of my stuff. I'm going to work that out later. I suspect that as things progress, I'll care less and less about it, but I hope to have arranged something between now and then.

To new lives, new occupations, and a better world, my friends! Excelsior!

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 27th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
I find it unclear whether you are moving to New York or Kenya.

Either way, though, dude - rock on. Most people only dream of being able to Do Something.
[User Picture]
Date:January 27th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
New York first. If things go our way, I'll be moving to Kenya late this year. We've already started on the paperwork.

And thanks 8)
Date:January 28th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC)
This increments my reasons to swing through NYC.
Date:January 27th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
All the very goosey best! I admire your ability to turn a bad situation into a good one. To new beginings!
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
What the goosen said! Good luck on your new adventure! I hope you do well. Keep us posted.

Also, just to confirm, this does not interfere with D&D? Or does it? I can see it really getting in the way, especially if you're about 10 time zones away. I know you said last night that it wouldn't, but I figure that was before you knew everything about your new plans, am I right?

Either way, have fun out there! And stay in touch, man!

Be seeing you.
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
thirded! that's pretty impressively large-scale. i will definitely miss having you around here, but i'm praying to my heathen god for your success.
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2008 09:33 am (UTC)
zombie god says i've been had.
[User Picture]
Date:January 27th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, I'm going to miss you more than you'll never know, dude. See you in a couple of hours! <3

PS: I'll take the games off your hands! And the books! :P
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
New York? Hey, I live there!

I wish you the best of luck in your adventures, and if any of your consoles need new homes... ;)
[User Picture]
Date:January 30th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Woah, that is just incredible Phil! Best of luck on building that wireless network in Kenya!!
[User Picture]
Date:January 30th, 2008 07:40 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 6th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Wow! That's great! Go save the world!

Just be careful! And keep in touch. Post something on the Smaug Facebook pages.


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