This reminds me of the very fist experience I had with the web.
Telescope Will Have Images 10X Sharper Than Hubble: "jangobongo writes "After a 20 year struggle, the University of Arizona's $120 million Large Binocular Telescope was dedicated last week. This unique telescope will have twin 8.4-meter (27.6 foot) mirrors that sit on a single mount. Using methods similar to a medical CAT scan, a technique of "tomographic" image reconstruction will be used to produce pictures 10 times sharper (example) than the Hubble Space Telescope for a fraction of its $2 billion dollar cost."
It was at the headquarters for a HUGE pharmaceutical company called Eli Lilly. I had been going to a sort of computer club that was nearly as cool as the Homebrew Computer Club was in the 70's, but seriously how could you ever really expect it to be.
Sometimes, though, we were exposed to coolish things. Like, I saw the Apple Newton right after it came out and waaay before most of the world was exposed to PDAs. So there was some good that came out of it. But the most important moment was when us kids were basically listing our complaints about the way it was ran one night to the adults who worked at Lilly and kind of supervised. I said I didn't feel like I was learning anything new. I wasn't being challenged. Or whatever.
Afterward, one of the supervisor / sponsor type guys came up to me and told me he was sorry about my frustration and wanted to do something about. He offered to come in on a night that wasn't our normal meeting night and show me some other things. Man, was I drooling.
That night was a real turning point in my life. I saw things I had never seen before. Some of which I wouldn't realize for years to come that they were important. Some immediately resonated with me. For the first time I saw the web. Web sites. A web browser. Mosaic. An SGI. Far away astronomical sites. 3D modeling / animation. Unix. C. Molecular models. High speed data connections. (I thought 2400bps was fast.)
The two things that stood out to me right away were 3D modeling (I decided right then and there that I was gonna go to school to study computer animation and I did just that until I discovered Flash, but that's different story for a different day) and the web.
Jesus h christ, I spent hours looking at stuff on the web. There were only like a 100 servers or something then. Most of which were very niche focused, not very interesting to a freshman in high school in Indiana. But, I did see NASA's Before and After pictures from the Hubble telescope. Remember, the hubble was flawed or damaged right after it went up and all the photos were coming back fucked up. One of the mirrors in the satellite was slightly off. Goddamn! Go into photoshop and do a Gaussian blur of 100px on a 4x6 photo of 72dpi and that would pale compared to these Before photos.
If you're out there somewhere (or if anyone knows him) David Crumbacher, Thank you, dearly. That night changed my life. Seriously.
Update: some time after writing this post David found and we traded a couple emails. It was good.