Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(empo-tuulwey) For my next trick, I will crank up my car.

I recently discovered that DEFCON 5 is NOT the highest level of readiness; it's actually DEFCON 1.

Now one would expect that I'd use fancy tools like Google+ to discuss this. But I didn't.

The fanciest tool that I used was Wikipedia. But I used two other tools - a hallway conversation, and electronic mail.

If you're someone who thinks that Google+ is so much last week's news because of the release of Spotify, let me define these two tools for you.

A HALLWAY CONVERSATION is, as its name implies, a discussion that takes place at a single location (usually with a lot of traffic). This requires that all parties be physically present. If you have forgotten how to be physically present with other people, just think of it as a meetup or as a group Foursquare check-in. For the record, this is where I heard two people talking about DEFCON levels.

After I left the hallway, went to a computer, and looked up the information on Wikipedia, I wanted to share this information with the other two individuals. At the time, neither of these people were on Google+, nor did I have the information necessary to send them an SMS message. I am not a Second Life member, so I couldn't enter my virtual world and go up to them and impart the information to them. We all have Microsoft Office Communicator, but I chose not to use that tool. And I didn't want to use Skype or whatever to contact them, since I would need a paid version of Skype to talk to both of them at once.

So I used a tool known as ELECTRONIC MAIL, or email for short. Because this tool was invented decades ago, you may not be familiar with it. It is a system in which you can type a message (even a message that exceeds 140 characters!), add some "addresses" to the message (e.g. sam@company.com, mitch@company.com), and then "send" the message to the recipients (in this case, two recipients). The recipients then use an app (in this case, a Windows app called "Outlook") to receive notification of message arrival, and then they can read the message.

Now the recipients can't +1 or like the message. And the only way in which they can comment on the message is to send another message.

Regardless of its non-trendiness, electronic mail can sometimes be used as a valuable communications tool. Sarah Palin has been known to use electronic mail (although, after David Kernell's conviction and sentencing, she may have moved to Facebook-only communications).

Now if someone hacked into Obama's Blackberry, the country might go to DEFCON 5. Whoops, I mean DEFCON 1.

(For the record, the U.S. has never been at DEFCON 1, although the Strategic Air Command was at DEFCON 2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And we've only been at DEFCON 3 three times: during the aforementioned Cuban Missile Crisis, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and on 9/11. Richard Reid did not merit a DEFCON 3 response.)
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