WV vs Bette Midler - Granite Grok

WV vs Bette Midler

Just a comment regarding Bette Midler’s comments about West Virginia: In 1997, Polaroid rolled out a Driver License/ID system that implemented the first facial image recognition system in any state-level program in the United States. I was the tech lead/manager on the program, so I know we did it.

For the doubters, it was a true facial recognition that built a template constructed from eigenvalue calculations. The template was stored on a system using optical platters. When someone came in to renew their license, the newly captured template was compared against the one on file. Our system even detected that one of the DMV operators was trying to issue fake licenses. The system’s audit trail was used to prosecute and convict the offender.

The template comparison system could tell the difference between “identical” twins.

I was in charge of development: wrote the database software (my own B+ tree algorithms), wrote the device driver for the 2-arm 4-drive optical platter system, wrote the code to capture demographics from their system, and was the manager for the entire 5-person team (including myself).  The governor gave the entire group dinner, and the DMV gave us each custom-printed t-shirts.

Polaroid gave us all awards as well. The system was delivered on schedule and without cost overruns.

At that time, BellSouth was the company providing telecommunication services for the entire state. They were rolling out a full frame-relay telecommunication system across the state and worked directly with us to ensure that our packets were handled at higher priority so there was no interruption in service.

Shortly after the work was completed, BellSouth also rolled out ATM (asynchronous transmission mode) for faster and more dependable communication.

Yes. West Virginia.

WV was at the forefront of technology when Bette Midler was a self-centered, ignorant, singer/actress.

WV is still at the forefront of technology and Bette Midler is still a self-centered, ignorant, singer/actress.

Looking at the crime statistics of San Francisco, LA, NYC, Chicago, DC, Baltimore, and other “blue” cities, I’d rather live in “flyover” country.

I’d have said the same for Nashua in the ’80s and ’90s but I’m not so sure anymore, especially in the current political environment (BoA, BoE, and mayor). But that’s a conversation for another time.