Why this round of tech optimism looks different
One of my most happy technological memories concern the Origami project. The effort of Microsoft, Intel and others has launched ultra-mobile PCs, or UMPCs. The devices, which looked like squeezing a full Windows machine into something the size of a mid-range iPad often complete with a physical keyboard, completely fascinated me around 2006.
At that time, I had practically no money, so buying one of the devices was completely out of the question. But, as I was visiting an electronics store with my dad after the first series of UMPCs came out – we were probably looking for some gear for his business – I walked down an aisle of hardware and, To my amazement, I found a promotional mouthpiece of the UMPC devices. I could to use the devices I had spent so much time dealing with. It was like meeting a celebrity in my teenage years. I was bewitched.
I’ve had other moments of pure technological bliss in my life: In high school, when my friends and I realized that with Gmail’s generous storage limits and my school’s reasonable internet, we could ditch the thumb drives and we just email files to one another on the other side of the same table. It was magic to use bits instead of everything we had to carry around in our pocket.
Technology has a simply beautiful way of taking your breath away at times, showing you that there is a new shortcut or a new way of thinking that is now in front of you that was previously entirely hidden. That’s how the launch of the iPhone felt, to highlight a well-known example of the phenomenon.
Not much since then has given me the same jolt. Maybe when I fell in love with Twitter, realizing in an instant that I tweeted as much as I wanted, and no one could stop me; from the first moment I had my own blog on the internet and I was freed from any editorial constraints.
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