Stop And Be Amazed

It’s important to stop and be amazed sometimes. Bask in your own work, think about your achievments, and take the time to ponder what a wonderous day and age we’re living in.

I think that last one is really important. We take so much for granted, and the pace of technology makes it easy to forget how we used to do things a mere decade ago. Remember the big bulky PC towers? I remember my first computer, a monstrous 286 PC worth almost a yearly salary. It wasn’t exactly mine, but I was the only one using it. The computer was housed in a big fat box that stood on the floor, around 100 cm high or so. It was huge.

Since computers have been tools for me since I was a kid, and not just sources of entertainment, I tend to think a lot about how they’ve evolved. From maxitowers to barely draggable laptops and stylus-driven touchscreen PCs from Japan, to today’s slim MacBooks – it’s a different world. I’ve had netbooks, all sorts of mobile phones, gaming devices, PDAs. You name it, I probaby had it at some point, in some version.

We’ve come a long way.

It all pales compared to the iPad, or any other modern tablet for that matter. Sometimes it really hits me: This thing I’ve got in my hand can do just about everything I need from a computer. I can write articles and books on it, watch movies and listen to music, communicate with the world, record a song, and connect to the internet in several different ways. All this from a small and light slate, fairly inexpensive at that.

Sometimes I stop and think about that. I’m always amazed by the tablets, despite having had access to all sorts of technology for the last 30 years. They stand out, and not only because they are the New Thing.

It’s amazing, and it humbles me every time. Not only because I think I’m pretty close to my ideal computing tool, but because I realize that this isn’t the end of the line. It’s just a stop on the way towards the tools of the future. That never changes.

Tomorrow Apple kicks of WWDC yet again. They’ll give us a glimpse into what they think is the near future. Google recently did the same at Google I/O. I wouldn’t bet my money on Google Glass, and I doubt it’ll give me the same feeling of amazement as I get when I sit down and work with a modern tablet, but it’s a glimpse of the ideas that spark the Next Big Thing in tech.

The next tool to amaze me, if you will.

So while I’ll no doubt follow tomorrow’s WWDC (here are my predictions by the way), I’ll still remember what I have right now. A new product won’t make the old ones worthless or obsolete, they’re just as magical as they were moments ago.

That’s why I think it’s important to stop and think about these things. Stop and be amazed by your tools, your creations and achievments. They’re still true, no matter what happens tomorrow, or the day after that.

Photo by MattsMacintosh (CC)

Have you read <em>Haunted Futures</em> yet? cover

Have you read Haunted Futures yet?

I’ve got a story in the science fiction/near future anthology Haunted Futures, together with the likes of Warren Ellis and Tricia Sullivan. Check it out!