Aug 5, 2007

Welcome to the Boomtown

This week, I'm literally and figuratively thousands of miles away from Silicon Valley. I'm visiting my parents in Houston, Texas, which is also my old hometown (at least from sixth grade onwards). Houston has been-- and still is-- the oil capital of the world. They even say oil differently in Houston. It's pronounced ahwl-- and there's plenty of it here. Gas is much cheaper (by almost $0.90/gallon) than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even my kids noticed the difference at the pump! And I haven't seen a single Prius in two days. I bet Toyota's best-selling car in Texas is their Tundra Crew Cab. In Texas, the Prius might do as a golf cart, but not as your vehicle for getting around town. After all, it was already 80 degrees at the crack of dawn, and it warmed up to a balmy 94 degrees by noon. I wonder how long the air conditioner in a Prius runs from the battery? So, no surprise that the Bay Area's best-selling car is practically a no-show in Houston.

Although I'm the canonical Silicon Valley geek who lives on the leading edge of technology, my parents tend to be a little more towards the center of the bell curve when it comes to technology adoption. (Well, actually, they're somewhere in the trailing edge of the bell curve, but they do read my blog.) Earlier this year, they converted to broadband (DSL) from a dial-up Internet connection. My Dad even set up the DSL modem himself! They also have an HDTV and Dish network (satellite). And my Dad doesn't subscribe to a print newspaper. He gets his news from a variety of news sources on the Internet. This is pretty cool! This was a nice data point reaffirming my own beliefs in broadband, the Web and how technology is transforming everyday lives. Now, I just need to see when my Dad starts blogging...

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