Friday, August 02, 2013

Computers Really Are Everywhere

Last week I took a little drive. Something around 10 miles in something under 8 minutes I guess. That’s me behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car.NASCAR I rode with a trainer in the right hand seat and drove around a real race track in Orlando Florida. Part of my big birthday celebration. Probably a once in a lifetime ride. Although …

So why bring this up here? Well because this was a very hi tech experience. One of the first things they did was to plug a USB flash drive into a computer in the car. The car was fitted with several cameras, microphones, tracking devices and more. The computer put this all together into a video that showed the race track, the trainer and I and on the same screen where on the track we were. Frankly I bought it just so I could see how the ride was. While you are driving your focus gets a little narrow. Staying on the track and off the wall are priorities.

I can’t imagine getting that sort of video experience without computers though. And that was just the start of the week for me. I also took a backstage tour of Walt Disney World. In the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom are miles and miles of networking cables connecting all parts of the experience. And, I’m pretty sure, collecting lots and lots of data.

Many of the rides and attractions depend heavily on computer control. All the animated figures are just part of it. Things start at the ticket check in where the system reads magnetic information on your ticker and scans you finger point. I wonder how much information they keep and how well protected it is?

My room key (actually a plastic card with information stored on it somehow) could me (and was) used to charge things from anywhere in the property (40+ square miles of property) and computers handled it all. The amount of data that WDW must handle on a daily basis is mind boggling. I suspect  a lot of thought and computing power goes into analyzing that data as well.

I wonder if there is a job down there for me? Smile

1 comment:

Carl said...

Most people are ignorant when it comes to knowing how integrated technology is, even in their daily lives.

Quite often, when a student would say to me, "I don't need technology", I would offer to make a spear and find a cave for him to live in. The rest of the students would have a good laugh.

Of course this student was driven to school in a bus that had computer controlled engine, had a cell phone, a game machine, and watched TV on a cable supplied set.

They are everywhere.