Friday, November 12, 2010

Being a Village Technologist

Talk with a good friend today about technology made me realize that I know enough to know I know nothing. I'm a few lines of code, a couple websites, and many gadgets past the average tech level of most other people. That being said, most of the people I know who really know tech... I wouldn't let them buy gadgets for me.

My devices have become living extensions of myself, tools I use to shape my words and other works.

This week I talked with someone that really struggled to understand what I do. To sum it up, if you walked into an auditorium of people and asked them to raise their hand if they had a smart phone... many wouldn't raise their hand. Ask the same group if they have an iPhone and watch the hands go up. Most people don't think they are the same thing.

Likewise when I talk to people about technology, especially stuff in the mobile end of the pool, most people are utterly clueless. Blissfully so, as most mobile devices have no practical use to most people. Not in the sense that the device would pay for itself. I see people use dumb phones to text all the time. They aren't missing out on anything, up until they see someone playing Angry Birds or Chaos Rings.

I haven't heard my mom get excited about anything for a long time. She's had interests, projects and endeavors. I've heard the tone in her voice that indicated something she saw or experienced intrigued her, but I'd almost forgotten what it sounded like to hear excitement. Yesterday, she told me she acquired an iPhone 4. Excitement.

She knew I'd understand.

About six months ago, I wrote something to the effect that I looked forward to the hub-bub of mobile tech to quiet down. I wanted a world where mobile technology ceased to be exciting and became common place so I could sit and write anywhere I wanted without attracting much of any attention. I think I still want those things, but I'll never stop being excited about mobile technology.

I know many people who have fettered themselves with devices and software that do not suit them or their needs. For some, an Asus Netbook running Linux with 8 gigs of flash memory would be sufficient. For others, they need thousands of dollars in hardware. I feel that way when it comes to smart phones, but I haven't had the chance to actually handle more than the emulator for WP7.

People are protective of their gadgets. My wife's iPod Touch and iMac both have many stories, stickers, and memories associated with them. Even when offered with the chance to upgrade, she will likely decline, using both until they die. I find that most people are that way, even with a device they don't like.

I'm far more mercenary. My devices stay in good shape not out of pride, but so they'll be easier to sell when I find something better. Given the trends in both desktop and mobile computing, I doubt I'll be trading up any time soon. Technological contentment does not suit me, and I read the tech blogs every day hoping that someone will break into the market with something that makes Microsoft, Apple, Google, and all the rest rethink the entire way they do things.

And yes, I still want a Courier.

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