In my recent sabbatical/reboot I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is I want to do, and why I want to do it.
What I enjoy doing is actually pretty simple: playing with technology. As I once put it long ago, I enjoy making personal computers and related technologies “dance”. That doesn’t mean I hop on to every new technology or latch on to every latest and greatest fad, but it does mean that I pay attention to most and am not hesitant to try something new when I think it’s interesting and when I think it’s “ready”.
During the sabbatical, for example – a time that most might consider a type of vacation – I absolutely stepped away from the day-to-day operation of my business and focused on introspection as well as relaxation and enjoyment.
How did I relax and enjoy? I upgraded my primary desktop machine to use a solid state drive. I also added a 3 terabyte drive to it. I upgraded it to Windows 8. I upgraded an unused laptop of mine to also use an SSD. I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro and started figuring it out.
Now to many folks, that all sounds like work, or nothing more than potential sources for unneeded frustration. For me? Fun. It was fun to do all those things – yes, even the Windows 8 upgrade.
So why all this enjoyment and focus on technology – in particular personal technology and computing?
Because nothing has made more of an impact on how we live our lives today, and nothing has the potential to so seriously improve the human condition, as the technologies each one of us now has at our disposal, and the wonders yet to come.
Back in 1966 or thereabouts my parents made a phone call to my grandparents in The Netherlands. That involved contacting the operator, who contacted a long distance operator, who contacted an overseas operator in New York, who (presumably) contacted another operator somewhere in Holland who then made the final connection. The process was complicated enough that my folks initiated it and then hung up the phone. Half a hour later one of the aforementioned operators called back with the call ready to be connected. That three minute phone conversation between people who hadn’t heard each other’s voices in over a decade, was also incredibly expensive.
Today if I notice that my cousin in Holland is online, I can connect to her in seconds using text, voice or video. For free. From my travel trailer at the coastal park, if that’s where I happen to be.
Even this blog post was written – and posted – from that travel trailer in a state park.
Now, I know that all sounds a lot like just about any old fart grumping that “kids today just don’t appreciate what they have”, but that’s not really the point at all. The point is simply that today, right now, you and I can do amazing things. Sometimes the best way to make that point is to compare it to how things were done in the past.
The inter-connectedness we have at our disposal, the vast amounts of information available to us at a moments notice, the way in which anyone with a some basic knowledge can communicate with their friends and family, or even the entire world is simply amazing. The ease and convenience with which we can access almost any online resource using anything from a desktop personal computer to a small device in our pocket is nothing less than a miracle. I am in awe, each day, and both excited and humbled to be able to experience and be part of this global phenomenon.
More than a few people have heard me say “I love living in the future”, and I’m sure I’ll keep saying it for a long time.[pullquote_right]I truly believe that technology, and specifically personal and individually accessible technologies, are the key to humanity’s next stage of growth and even survival. [/pullquote_right]
Now, certainly every new technology that’s come along over the course of human evolution has the potential to be misused, and in this regard computer technology is no different than what’s come before. What is different is the massive potential to empower the individual to communicate with, and impact, people all over the world – from family to neighbors to strangers on the other side of the planet.
I truly believe that technology, and specifically personal and individually accessible technologies, are the key to humanity’s next stage of growth and even survival. Nothing the human race has seen to date has the potential to empower the individual to make as much of a difference, to make as much of a connection, to make as much of himself as the technologies we have in front of us and the technologies yet to come.
I think it’s imperative that we embrace these technologies for our own future and well being, as perhaps even the very future of humanity itself.
That gets me excited.
That’s why I love what I do.