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Back to the Future

Powerful technology has made this columnist's life easier, but still hasn't provided him with the 25-hour work week he was promised.

July 1, 2001  

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I usually start my articles with an update on my latest travel misadventures, always taking an occasional shot at an airline or two. Fortunately, my most recent trip to the Western Canada Regional BICSI meetings was completely uneventful: I left and arrived on time, without any sort of mid-air near miss.

With no airlines to gripe about, I thought that this month I would instead pick on those folks we call “futurists”.


I wrote this article in an airplane, on a device not much bigger than a package of cigarettes. It is an amazing piece of technology which allows me to send and receive e-mails, create memos, keep a “to do” list, etc. It makes travelling a lot easier, specifically allowing me to leave my PC back at the office.

This got me thinking about how fast technology is changing around me. When I was born (I refuse to give exact details but here’s a clue: the latest automotive craze was fins), the recently invented transistor promised to revolutionize the world, and eventually led to the early computers developed in the 1960s. These revolutionary monsters were so compact they could almost be squeezed into the back of a 40-foot transport truck. Today, I have far more power in the palm of my hand on some device named after a berry.

Of course, futurists of the time promised all sorts of uses for the computer and told us that one day they would become so powerful that they would do almost everything for us. The only problem, they said, was that we would have to find something to do with all of our spare time, seeing as we would only be working 25 hours a week or so (I am sure you know where this is going). Well, they got it partially right — powerful technology certainly has made us more productive, but the only person I know that works 25 hours a week is my son Chris, who pumps gas part-time after he gets home from school.

Out of all of this there are two things worth remembering: firstly, technology always comes with a price (for me today it’s two finger typing on a keyboard that smaller than a business card); and secondly, futurists are only half right, some of the time.

Now that I have scolded the futurists I feel much better — so on with this months BICSI updates (some in the past, some in the future)…


The first two 2001 Region 5 Meetings were held in Calgary (May 31st) and Vancouver (June 1st). The turnout was excellent in both locations. I provided a general update on the Canadian Conference, 2001 Elections, and translation of documents, while Scott Dawdy of the Membership and Public Relations Committee updated the attendees on the BICSI scholarship program and membership growth in Canada. Tom Rauscher of Archi-Technology held a presentation on Division 17 (worth 1 CEC) and BICSI Secretary John Bakowski concluded the meeting with an update from the BICSI Board of Directors. We plan to do similar meetings in Toronto and Montreal in the September timeframe.


“The City that Never Sleeps,” — Las Vegas — turned out to be a very popular BICSI conference destination. Just shy of 2900 attendees, the conference saw a 71-per-cent increase over last year’s attendance of 1700. Out of the conference emerged 36 new RCDDs (out of 88 who sat for the exam) and 15 new RCDD/LAN Specialists (out of 34 who took the exam).

BICSI Cares raised a generous $30,000 for Classroom on Wheels, a free, bilingual mobile preschool and drug prevention program for at-risk school children.


The last editorial review was held for the ANSI/NECA/BICSI standard during the spring conference, and comments were positive. A draft will be posted on the BICSI web site ( in the near future for minor editorial remarks. Publication of this commercial installation standard, which lists appropriate information from BICSI’s Telecommunications Cabling Installation Manual (TCIM), is expected in July or August.

BICSI is now taking orders for the third edition TCIM, with the paper copy scheduled for release in early July, and the CD-ROM scheduled for availability in August. The new installation exams, based on the 3rd edition, will tentatively start in January, 2002. Anyone who orders and pays for the 3rd edition TCIM will receive a 2nd edition free if requested (while supplies last).

In addition, BICSI met with representatives from the construction union in the province of Quebec, who are interested in translating BICSI’s TCIM and installation training materials. The BICSI Board of Directors has given its “OK” for further investigation of this idea, and negotiations are underway. If negotiations materialize, a French translation could be produced by late summer.

Well that’s all for this month folks. Enjoy your 25-hour work week. CS

Greg Porter, RCDD is Region 5 Director of BICSI and Business Development Manager for Tyco Electronics Canada Ltd., Markham, ON.

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