Follow the Crazy Ones

Yes, it’s finally time again for a 1000 word post on a topic where the title, being without a doubt ambiguous, can give you no help on the actual content. All shall be explained later, but for now, let’s update you on my doings and happenings.

School.
And there we have it: an update on my doings and happenings. No, that’s just a very large proportion of them. I actually got hooked on this Shrine of Apple website, listing every single apple product ever made. During my time browsing their limited, but ever expanding, catalogue, I thought about how much this stuff actually costs. I went onto eBay, and before I knew it, I had bought an Apple II, a Macintosh plus and a Newton MessagePad 110! They are really, really, really awesome! I know, I know, only a huge geek would get excited about legacy gear, but there is something about them that I enjoy. It is possibly because I am fascinated about how I cannot even fit a small JPEG onto a floppy disk, the fact that I am astounded how far technology has come, or just maybe because I am flabbergasted what people thought was the best thing ever made.
That brings us on nicely to the bulk of this post. The techie ones of you out there will recall part of the title: “The Crazy Ones”. Remember that huge post written about a year ago? The one on my favorite ad of all time? The Think Different ad? Just click on the link and see the ad, it’s actually unbelievably good!
The ad starts with “Here is to the crazy ones”. While previously I had thought that this was a reference to the ones who didn’t comply, and even though I still believe that, I have a subtle, more specific to tech, variation to that understanding. I have come to think it also refers to the tech industry as a whole. Many know that tech enthusiastic people are often eccentric (may I refer you to Mr. Henry Dyer’s blog). The writers for TechCrunch and CNN tech are all also crazy. So it is fair to say that the whole tech industry is crazy.
However, within that crazy, there is some sanity. A sanity that will affect your life in profound ways. Did any of you tune into F8, the Facebook developer conference? Did you know about timeline and that all of a sudden, people are going to be able to go back and see your whole Facebook history? Most of you will be answering no to that question, and that’s precisely the problem.
People are reading everything in the news (and no, the Daily Mail or The Sun don’t count as news) and voicing their opinions: “history is being made in Egypt and Libya”, “some irrelevant person did something irrelevant but somehow it is still of vital importance that we report it”. Yes, all this is well and good (and I am not comparing what’s happening in the Middle East with something irrelevant, it is still of vital importance!), but what they often fail to mention, and if they do, in warped ways, is the fact that all this was possible through technology. It was tech that sparked the London riots, it was tech that organized the Egyptians and it is tech that will write world history.
People are ignorant when it comes to following the tech industry. You don’t have to be a tech analyst to do so, just click on the tech section when reading your showbiz news. Just one click, can’t do much harm, can it? Alternatively, follow TechCrunch on twitter, like them on Facebook. That way you will get all the most important stories straight to your feeds.
Let me give you a few examples on how following the tech industry can keep you ahead of the game and keep you from buying the wrong products, like HP computers.
Do any of you know when the next Apple press conference is? Do any of you know what they will and are expected to release? What does iOS 5 have that will kill the Blackberry and make every blackberry user wish they had an iPhone? What does iCloud have that will shake the movie industry? Those, my friends, are questions I am not going to answer. I shall let you test your Googling (or yahooing or binging or AltaVistaing or whatever crap you use) skills to figure out the answers to those questions.
Another example then. This is what I think, based on good sources of info, what is going to happen within the next few years of the smartphone. It shall be the same as the PCs history: IBM came up with the concept of “computing”. Apple, the inventors of Wi-Fi, FireWire and the noble mouse, then came along and released the first real PCs, the Apple I and II, while IBM did so simultaneously with their own PCs. Microsoft came in to the picture and killed off IBMs PC business and almost killing off Apple, using apples own technology! And look now, apple is thriving and Microsoft is falling.
The same will happen with smartphones: RIM and palm were the first to conceive of a PDA device. Then along came apple with their innovations, such as multitouch and the concept of an integrated ecosystem. Google is now coming along with their android system, and since it can be installed on a number of devices at different price points (like Windows back in the day), it will undoubtedly take over, although being the inferior device. It will take over with technologies that Apple pioneered, like multitouch, leaving them to die. It is only when these innovations have run their course that apple will once again prosper, killing off multitouch, as they have done with the mouse, both technologies they pioneered. That is what I think will happen, although many will disagree, as when they were down in the PC Market, the visionary, Steve Jobs quickly returned, this time, there will be no safety net to fall back on, even though he might still steer the company from the Chairman of the Board position.
So, I think that is why I like legacy gear. It is the window into the past of something that did, and will continue to greatly affect the way we work, play and interact with each other. It is why a History enthusiast likes history; it is why a Latin enthusiast (shudder) likes Latin. Hearing the beep of a Macintosh plus, or the whirling of an Apple II is like hearing the voices from years gone by. The fact that my iPhone can power the whole Apollo 11 landings, mission control, capsules and all, makes me, admittedly, laugh at them, but also stare at them with admiration for getting to the moon and back with less than a scientific calculator onboard. So, yes. I am crazy, but so are all those who enter the roulette game of technology, but the crazy ones are often those who see things the most clearly. Follow the crazy ones I say, follow the crazy ones.
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