UCONN, I used to know you

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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UCONN, I used to know you

Came across some interesting news from my alma mater, the University of Connecticut on TMCnet.com, that will basketball season just around the corner it seemed appropriate.

It reads:

University of Connecticut students preparing for the fall semester are
learning one thing fast: keeping in touch with friends and family back
home during the school year just keeps getting better on America's most
reliable wireless network. Verizon Wireless recently installed a new
cell site to increase coverage and capacity on the UCONN campus along
Route 195 and North Eagleville Road... Students can browse content from Get It Now(R) and V CAST -- the
nation's first wireless broadband multimedia service for consumers that
allows them to view high-quality video clips from major news, sports
and entertainment outlets, play 3D games and download rich multimedia
content.


"College students are increasingly relying on their wireless phones to
keep in touch with friends and family back home," said Bob Stott,
Verizon Wireless New England Regional President. "Verizon Wireless has
upgraded the network around UConn so students can share the college
experience with everyone back home, no matter how many miles separate
them."

Wow, you're telling me you can be in the "UCONN boonies" and get high-speed cell phone data service now? You mean to tell me I can stream a live UCONN game while walking the campus? Geez, back when I was in college my freshman year (1989) they just installed cable, so we were just happy to get cable television on a campus that essentially is located in dairy country. There are lots of farms around the campus and UCONN actually used to be predominantly an agricultural school.

However, last I checked they were ranked in the Top 16 for Engineering - not too shabby and of course UCONN has arguable the best 1-2 tandem in college basketball with their highly successful men's basketball team and their ridiculously successful women's basketball team. The UCONN men's and women's teams both won the NCAA Championship in the same year, which if you were a bookie at the beginning of the 2004 season, I wonder what odds you would have laid on the table for this happening? If anyone took that bet, they would have made a fortune considering it has never been done before.

UCONN basketball is HUGE in Connecticut, since unlike most states Connecticut doesn't have a single major professional sports team. (We used to have the Whalers hockey team) It's why UCONN has the most fanatical fans in the Big East - they've got an entire state behind them. Like Kentucky, UCONN basketball has become a religion, though the Kentuckians may be a tad more fanatical - might be a toss-up. Still, the state's overwhelming response to the Huskies' accomplishments in 2004 was stunning. After their historic dual championships, nearly 300,000 people jammed the streets of Hartford for a parade honoring the teams. Officials described it as the largest outdoor event in the state capital since veterans returned home from World War II nearly half a century ago.

In any case, in addition to putting coaxial outlets in every room they also installed two RJ45 network jacks. I thought for sure they were going to connect us up to the college network which pre-dated the World Wide Web (though not the Internet - a subtle but important distinction). Unfortunately, they never lit up these RJ45 jacks, so I was never able to logon to my UCONN .edu email account from my room - I had to go to the computer lab. I guess I didn't miss much since I graduated in 1993 before the WWW explosion occurred.

Still, I can't help but be a little jealous of what college kids get nowadays. They all have color LCD cell phones with built-in IM and Web-browsing capability, they have digital cable TV, and now they even have high-speed wireless enabling them to download or stream content including music and videos. <sigh>

When I start saying "Back in my day..." just shoot me. Oh wait, I guess this whole post is pretty much saying that. Well, at least unlike the prior generation I'm not saying "Back in my day we walked 3 miles to school in 8 inches of snow with 40mph gusts." ;)

p.s. Any Dookies (Duke) reading this blog, I'm really sorry about what UCONN did to you in 1999 (beating you in the Finals) and 2004 (beating you in the Final Four). The 1999 championship was especially sweet since you were heavily favored and expected to win, and which more than made up for Christian Laettner's buzzer beater in 1990.


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