It’s hard for me to believe, but ten years ago today I (now a reservist) was on my first deployment, aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (now decommissioned) flying F-14B Tomcats (now retired) in the early days of a war on an intangible emotion or tactic (still going).
The technology I brought with me to while away the long hours of boredom at sea says a lot about how much has changed over the last decade:
- My first laptop (a Compaq) running an AMD processor at 400 MHz. I had just installed Windows XP, and it was awesome.
- A then-new MP3/CD player, accompanied by a large folio of around 300 CDs.
- An external CD burner, since my laptop didn’t have one
My friends brought along some extra gear:
- Mini DV camcorders. We edited the video on pirated copies of Vegas Video (before Sony bought Sonic Foundry).
- A Sony PlayStation 2, which we hooked up to the squadron’s “extra” LCD projector in our eight-man stateroom
- Multiple VCRs
- A digital camera that stored photos on a floppy disk
We wired up seven laptops into a LAN (no WiFi) and played Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC Version) into the wee hours of the daytime (since we mostly flew at night). This was a source of constant annoyance to our computerless eighth roommate, and was as close as the vast majority of us got to actually participating in the War on Terror.
We recorded a lot of great video from that cruise (all SD). The nice thing about a two-seat airplane is that you always have a cameraman.
Ten years. It’s a long time. Where did it all go?