Jobs, Gates have made life easier

October 21, 2011

Sometimes it simply doesn’t pay to get outta bed. Tuesday was one of those days. As is customary, I reported to work at 8 a.m., started up my laptop and began cruising through my emails. Or so that’s usually how it works.

Today, I couldn’t get the internet going. No matter what power plug I pulled, or switch I flipped the internet stayed down. I was cursing Bill Gates every step of the way.  I then went to use my phone and it was dead. Damn you, Alexander Graham Bell. From across the room, Sherry was screaming, the fax won’t work. What a way to start your day!

After several hours and two calls in to Charter, we were able to get everything back on line. The strange thing is that the internet and phone problems were completely unrelated.

All this leads up to a question I was asking several people that same night. I asked, what technological advance in your lifetime was/is the most important in your opinion. The group I posed this question to were all males between the ages of 50 and 65.

My answer certainly would be the computer or cell phone- probably because I work with them 24/7. But interestingly enough they weren’t the obvious answer.

One guy piped in “putting a man on the moon.” I thought about that and instantly remembered that moment 40 years ago when Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the moon’s surface. I was so proud to be an American at that moment.

But I guess I would argue, space exploration really hasn’t kept up with other technological advances. Heck we retired the archaic shuttles that have taken our astronauts to and from the Space Station for nearly 20 years, with a replacement rocket not even ready to carry anyone for several years.

Someone else said the heart transplant. I thought a bit about this. Dr. Christian Barnard placed the first artificial heart in a human being in a South African hospital nearly 45 years ago. I would have to agree, since then technological advances in medicine have taken place as fast as a machine gun shoots bullets. Organ replacement and heart operations are as common as the flu bug.

One bigger fella shouted out McDonalds. I’m thinkin to myself, if that’s a technological advancement then we’re all in trouble. Yes McDonalds and its fast food clones have taken over the restaurant industry, but I would hardly call the Big Mac a technological wonder. Steve Jobs would roll over in his grave.

Which leads me back to the computer. Thirty-five years ago I was doing term papers on an electric typewriter. My first weeks on my first job I was creating stories on a word processor. Then the personal computer became affordable and accessible. Wow did that change my profession and life. The internet followed a few years later, and research became so much easier.

Not to take anything away from Armstrong and Barnard, but for me the true technology wizards in my lifetime have been Jobs, Gates, Wozniak, Ellison and other Silicon Valley pioneers. They have made everyone’s life easier. As someone eulogized, Jobs was the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of our generation. I would go one step further, Jobs and Gates will go down in history as the greatest inventors ever to walk the earth. Oh, that is until the next generation’s mad scientist finds a pill that eradicates cancer.

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