A new POTUS

Finally, Obama is president. The whole day long event is very different to the behind-closed-doors affair that goes on at Buckingham Palace here in the UK.

While some were plotting to take advantage I was watching the inauguration on Hulu having rearranged my application windows in order to carry on working hard (or hardly working) thanks to my secondary monitor being incapacitated. Other people were sat having coffee and watching things live on their iPhone thanks to the newly released Ustream application. The BBC traffic was up over 20% and CNN Live collapsed temporarily under the strain but that’s hardly surprising when you see the numbers. Akami was allegedly pushing out over 2Tbps at one point.

Maybe it was just me but John Williams’ new composition Air and Simple Gifts sounded suspiciously like Lord of the Dance in places. The captioning system had a bit of a fail moment, describing ‘Cheese and applause’ as Obama emerged from the Capitol building.

Obamas address itself was not without a small factual mistake and there was also a bit of a mix-up in taking the oath of office1 but on the whole it was a great example of a fantastic orator at work (despite his failure to mention a banana). Even I was finding hard to be a cynic. I thought it was a great speech – worthy of Jed Bartlet or David Palmer. I especially liked the part which stated that science would be restored to its rightful place.

Not everyone was as impressed though. One of my colleagues paraphrased the speech as he could hear it from across the room as:

Rhetoric rhetoric, Pander-to-the-masses. Dynamic statement dynamic statement, dynamic statement, righteous affirmation wait for applause.

Wordle tag clouds of this and previous inaugural speeches soon appeared. Video of Presidential inaugurations dating back over 100 years had also been tracked down.

It seems that some people have had trouble spelling Barack Obama. Some pranksters in San Francisco didn’t seem to have this problem though when Bush Street was temporarily renamed Obama Street. Not being able to spell his name isn’t too bad – several months ago DMX (the rapper) apparently had never even heard of him.

The rumours I heard in a couple of places of CNN creating a Photosynth of todays events were thankfully true. If you have Silverlight installed2 then check it out.

1 I did wonder if GWB took the “oaf of office” instead.
2 It is actually worth installing it just for this.

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