Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Technology and stuff

This morning I met Beth for our walk and we hurried along dodging rain and then the sun came out and miraculously the sky was blue. Alongside the trail this very large fungus, dripping from the recent rain, caught my eye and I screeched to a stop and pulled out my phone and took its picture. iPhone picture. Who knew such things would come to pass? And quite a good picture at that.

We knew about technology a long time ago. In 1968 HAL, the talking computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, was a vision from the future, but somehow we knew even then that technology was rapidly changing the world as we knew it. In the '70s my Dad, an engineer, bought a Texas Instruments calculator and put his slide rule away for good. Around the same time he bought a kit to build an Altair computer. I remember the first computer center that Ray worked in at Idaho State University. The computer was a room full of enormous machines. It has all been an amazing journey from my childhood until now, seeing what used to take days and days of human calculation become instantaneous. And yet, I sometimes think my phone amazes me as much as anything. In my pocket is a world. Information, education, email, entertainment, music, stories, and a camera. And, I nearly forgot—it's a phone.

For all the wonders of technology and how it has changed business and education and science, I think of how Steve Jobs saw that technology and somehow envisioned more human and personal uses for it—art and typography and graphics and animation and music on demand. Just think, a thousand recorded songs in the palm of your hand, a computer in your pocket. Technology in the service of our humanity. Who knew? I guess he did. Thank you, Mr. Jobs.


  1. I am following your blog regularly and got great information.

  2. I remember in the early-80s when I was membership chair for a quilt guild and a number of the members objected to having their names/addresses/etc. in my portable computer. I tried to explain to them that my computer didn't connect to anything else so nobody but I could access the information it contained. Couldn't convince everyone, but they were stuck with me for a year! Little did they know that their entire life would soon be available to anyone who knew how to find it on the Internet!

  3. Love this post! I spent 40+ years in the IT field. Oh the changes I saw! And still the technology amazes me. Yes, sometimes it's intrusive, but in this woman's eyes the good outweighs the bad by far.

    Regarding the mushroom/fungi ... I am amazed almost daily at the variety of them I see in during my morning walks. And at how quickly they grow! Not here one day, but in full form the next. All sizes shapes & colors! Nature is even more amazing than technology.

  4. we very often do not notice things that happen around us. and every year the world is changing and filled with new technologies. it's a pity that our life is so short (