I've been meaning to post up about this topic for quite some time now but haven't really had a chance to really sit down and put my thoughts into words. This all changed when I saw the demo of Windows 8
, and as cool as it all was, it really dawned on me: computing as some of us know it is regressing. It spawned some conversations with some of my nerdier friends and it's really a scary thought what Apple has done to the world of computing all on its own. And before any of you start rolling your eyes and think I'm an Apple hater - I'm not. I love what Apple has done to the world of technology and how they have really found a way to put technology into the hands of the everyday user. What completely blows my mind is the possibility of what our next generation of "nerds" are going to really be, if they'll even exist at all.The Days of Bulletin Board Services (BBS)
So this is where it all begins, my tirade on what technology is these days and how computing is about to take a really weird turn backwards. When I first started using computers, they weren't exactly cheap. Now I'm going to skip over the idea of the Apple IIGS, which I used, and just jump straight into the generation of PCs and the world of MS-DOS. We're talking computers with 4MB of RAM, a 320MB hard drive and a 25MHz processor. For many of us, growing up with computers meant learning how to use a keyboard and command prompts. The thought of multi-tasking didn't even exist. In the world of DOS, you ran one program at a time and that was it. The idea of having or using a mouse wasn't even around yet and everything revolved around a black screen with white text. Going online back then revolved around local bulletin board services on which you'd just dial-up with your awesome 2400 baud modem (14.4k if you were really high-tech) and enjoying Teleconference with random people within the same county as you. It was revolutionary back then, but it was limiting in the way that you were doing one thing at a time and one thing only. Wanted to type up a paper? That was all you could do.
BBS' were very interesting back then and almost seemed like an underground cult of hardcore techies and nerds that wanted to communicate online. File sharing was born through File Libraries and discussion forums were alive and well. Once Doom2 found its way online and people were able to play with one another, it opened up the doors to online gaming. We're talking four players max without the ability to jump or aim up or down. Some would say that was the good 'ol days, but the truth was, you had to learn your way around a computer in order to really get the most use out of it.
So in short, those using computers back then learned a lot more than they probably had to just to find their way around. It was probably a daunting task, and really not anything inviting, to learn how to use a computer. Then everything just fast forwarded at some exponential speed once Windows was introduced. I still remember the first time I ever got a mouse as a present and installed Windows 3.1. I hated it - I hated the idea of having to use a mouse to get around folders and access files and whatever. I loved how simplistic, yet powerful, DOS was but I knew Windows was the brilliant way to go because of one thing and one thing only: multi-tasking. Yeah, you can sit there and argue that its awesome user-friendly interface is what brought general computer to the masses, but it was the idea of being able to do more than one thing at a time that turned the computing world upside-down.So Where am I Going With This?
Fast forward to when Apple introduces the iPhone. Now back then I didn't pay much attention to the smartphone market at all. I used a Sidekick II (which became a III and then an LX) and I loved it. I loved the ability to have a constant connection to AIM, MSN, Email and ease of texting no matter where I was. Hell, the browser back then was pretty damn awesome in my opinion. But I also never cared to use a Blackberry or touched Windows Mobile. The Sidekick was what I needed to function day-to-day and to work remotely the way I did. When the iPhone was introduced, I knew it was going to be an awesome piece of technology. It was a push forward for the world of smartphones with an easy-to-use touch interface and the ability to do literally everything you could have ever imagined on a phone. Then the world of applications started and next thing you knew, Apple and AT&T was rolling around with a lot of money. But that's what the iPhone did - it changed the world of smartphones and it was the logical next step towards evolution in that market. It brought Google's Android and made RIM and Microsoft change how they perceived the smartphone market. They all changed their mobile operating systems to make more sense, be user-friendly and full of rich functionality.
I never cased to get an iPhone simply because it never had a QWERTY keyboard attached to it. Truth be told, I never really sat down and played with one; I just knew that I couldn't survive without a QWERTY keyboard and that still holds true today. Maybe it's because I was so keyboard-oriented growing up, but the idea of using an onscreen keyboard and only an onscreen keyboard irks me. I just can't get things done as quickly as I would like, and I constantly get annoyed when I can't get things done quickly. So a QWERTY was a must have for me while everyone else was enjoying the robust and wonderful world of smartphone applications.
Then the G1 came out and I made the switch to Android and noticed how wonderful the world of smartphones were. I knew I couldn't ever go backwards - and one could argue I did when I switched to an HTC Touch Pro 2 and Windows Mobile - but regardless, smartphones were powerful and becoming even more so and that was one part of technology that I really really loved. I loved the fact that people that knew literally nothing about technology were able to navigate their way around an iPhone. It was simple, easy-to-use, intuitive and anyone willing to learn could learn quickly just how versatile and friendly an iPhone was. That was great.
Read the rest of this after the break.