Yesterday I spent some time with a dear friend in San Antonio, Texas who is in his 70s. We couldn't get together in person, because we're a couple of hours apart, but he got a new iPad and I realized that he should be able to use video technology. It went pretty well. We got him going in fairly short order and were able to talk face-to-face. His health has made it difficult for him to get around as much, so this is going to give him the chance to have more people time. That's good. That's what technology should do. It's good technology too, which works from his iPad and my Linux and my Android and someone else's Windows. Technology should break down barriers, not create them.
Here's the weird part, though. Before contacting him, I discovered that Skype, the tool we decided to start with, had an updated Linux version out. This is weird. Skype has been traditionally "fringe friendly" to Linux. We've been back-leveled for years with little or no interest in moving things much forward. Suddenly, Microsoft, one of the Great Satans, makes the update happen. Maybe it was already in the works and they just pulled aside the curtain. Maybe they jumped in and put a team on it. I don't know. I do know that the last thing I expected from Microsoft's purchase of Skype was for them to make it easier for me.
Microsoft takes a lot of punching from me. I used to use Windows exclusively and now I just don't care for it -- though I support people who do and don't whine about it. Many of their applications and development methods have been problematic for a more open world, which is frustrating and often counterproductive. I've been hearing that Microsoft is cultivating a new perspective which may be beneficial to an open world. Suddenly they've done something that helps. I have to give them a tip of the hat for that. Updating Skype is a big deal. I don't expect I'll be using Windows any time soon, but I'd like to have the chance to interact with Microsoft technologies in an open way. I'd live to start working with them rather than around them. Maybe things really are changing. Perhaps we've really entered into the Age of Aquarius.
I need a rainbow Dashiki, quickly!