And Croquet is good for the environment, too!

Nice article about teleconferencing (including Qwaq, which is based on Croquet) versus travel.

I wonder if there’s real data on the relative merits of the energy used in office buildings vs. telecommuting. Office buildings are potentially more efficient through scaling, although the economic incentives are so lacking that there’s usually a lot of waste. While homes are energy hogs, we do already have and heat them for our non-work time.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

One Comment

  1. For the last 3+ years of my employment at Laszlo Systems, I worked mostly from my living room in my house on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Every few weeks I would get on boat, which took me to a bus 45 minutes away, which I rode for 1.5 hours to Boston, where a colleague would pick up me and one or two other people & drive us to his house 15 minutes away, where we would meet for the day, when I would go home by reverse route.

    My house is tiny.

    About 8 times a year I would get on an airplane to go to California, to work at the “mother ship” office in San Mateo. I n 4.5 years of doing that, I never rented a car, but always took public transportation from airport to hotel & hotel to office.

    As part of an environmental awareness course my wife was taking, we calculated our “carbon footprint”.

    It was pretty horrendous. All the goodness of working from home in a small house, taking public transportation, etc, was undone by all that air travel. Without air travel, I was a carbon-footprint saint. But when you include air travel, I was a carbon-footprint pig.

    I suppose a few of those trips were not necessary, but many of them were; there was no substitute for “being there.” I think that if we had had a good qwak-like telepresence system I could have cut down my travel by 1/2 to 2/3.

    On a different topic, this kind of technology does raise interesting questions about the future of geographically defined nation-states. That whole concept is going to be highly stressed over the next decade, at least.

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