40 YEARS IN TECH

If you think of what has changed in the past 40 years, due to technology, it is simply mind-boggling. Entire industries have come and gone, human behavior has changed dramatically, and technology has brought us a great number of amazing advancements. However, these same tech advancements can sometimes have a negative, dark side as well as a positive upside. Of course, I look at technological change through the “blinders” of being an American citizen who has had the luxury of being able to experience all of this. This is not to say that I am “well-off” or elite. Although I have struggled somewhat, financially, over the past years, I’ve lived a fairly comfortable American life thus far. I mention this only because I think it’s easy to forget just how good we may have it in comparison to a vast majority of the world, whose populations live with great poverty, tyranny, war or simply unjust conditions.

IBM Punchcard Machine

IBM Punchcard Reader – The Early Days of Computing

When I was a kid, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, my dad would take me to his work sometimes. My Dad, John Joseph Meyer, was the President of a fire alarm company called Fire Controls, Inc. He would bring me along to his office, where I witnessed some of the workers using the latest technology of the day…IBM punchcard readers! If you don’t know what those were, they were big, clunky, noisy machines that “stored” data onto paper cards that were “punched” with hundreds of little square or rectangular holes.

Datapoint Computer System: "Old School!"

Datapoint Computer System: “Old School!”

Years later, I remember my dad, still in the 1970’s and early 1980’s writing computer code on a massive computer system that filled the former bedroom of my two oldest sisters after they moved out of my parent’s house. Every time I walked into that room, I had the sense that my dad was running some high-tech NASA mission; it was like Mission Control, with huge tape-reel based storage, really old-school! But, at the very same time, my dad also became an early adopter of the latest in home computing…the Mac!

Steve Jobs and the Early Mac

Steve Jobs and the Early Mac

The Mac was truly the first personal personal computer. My dad was all at once ecstatic, excited, and yet serious and business-like, when it came to him describing the endless possibilities that were now available with this new home appliance: the Mac! You wouldn’t dare call it a P.C., even though it was most definitely a personal computer.

On the flip side, I remember two of my cousins, Scott and Tim Singhel, who were totally into the early PC world, always talking about what was possible with a PC. Of course, with PC’s you had to actually become somewhat of a computer expert, just to use the computer. Invariably there would be some problem with the operating system, you had to re-boot the computer and you had to know some basic code just to survive with a true PC. It was crazy. My dad hated the fact that PC’s, at their heart, were clumsy, sloppy, cumbersome and hard to use, but that PC’s were always considered better than Macs, especially by people in business. He would often say that IBM (the company that was the major PC manufacturer back then), he would say that IBM really stood for Inferior But Marketable! My dad literally hated Bill Gates and loved Apple Computer and Steve Jobs.

One Of The First Macs

One Of The First Macs

Once Apple introduced the Mac, the battle lines were drawn, the gloves came off, and an all-out marketing war ensued to try to sway the mind of the public. I am definitely biased, for sure, but in my humble opinion, Apple and the Mac have won the war, in the quality of their products, the features, the ease of use, the styling….the list goes on. Today, anyone doing any serious work, will be doing it on an Apple Mac laptop or desktop, or iPad or even their iPhone! I wish my dad were still alive to see the incredible advances that have taken place just in the past five years! I personally look at technology today as BI and AI; that is Before iPhone and after iPhone. To me, Steve Job’s incredible dream, design, invention and marketing of the iPhone changed everything. It is immediately after that event, that the true TECH EXPLOSION initiated, and it continues right now, each day, with new, unstoppable, exponential change in society through technology.

Fresco: News Through Pictures

Fresco: News Through Pictures

Today, there is literally an “app for everything”, with more coming each day, each hour, each minute. Every single company, corporation, franchise and individual is interacting and living with the world in a totally changed place due to Steve Job’s invention of the iPhone. Sure Android came along and every company imaginable outright copied the iPhone, and subsequently the iPad! Think about it….was there ever anything like the iPhone BI? Was there ever anything like the iPad until Steve Jobs introduced that amazing invention? The truth is, before the iPad, there were some very specialized tablet computers in use, particularly in the medical field. But once the iPad came out, (and prior to that, the iPhone) an entire network of developers and entrepreneurs sprung up with incredible new opportunities to create apps that would change our lives completely.

In 1974, 40 years ago, Steve Jobs was 19 years old and working at Atari. Jobs worked nights at Atari and he hired Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to help him redesign the hardware for a single-player prototype of new game based on Atari’s “Pong”. The game, called “World Cup” was a coin-operated Atari arcade game with four simple buttons. It is mind-boggling to think of the tremendous changes that have taken place in the fields of technology since then.

Steve Jobs wrote handwritten notes to his boss at Atari, describing improvements to a coin-operated game called "World Cup". The game was an evolution of Atari's game, "Pong".

Steve Jobs wrote handwritten notes to his boss at Atari, describing improvements to a coin-operated game called “World Cup”. The game was an evolution of Atari’s game, “Pong”.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s