Why this round of tech optimism feels different
One of my happiest technology memories involves the Origami project.
Efforts by Microsoft, Intel, and others have brought ultra-mobile computers, or UMPCs, to market.
The device, akin to cramming a full Windows PC into something the size of a medium iPad, often complete with a physical keyboard, absolutely fascinated me around 2006.
At the time, I had roughly zero money, so buying any of the devices was completely out of the question. But while visiting an electronics store with my dad after the first round of UMPCs came out probably we were looking for a piece of equipment for his business.
I passed one of the computer hardware aisles and was amazed to find a promotional UMPC terminal. I could use the devices I spent so much time tinkering with.
For my teenage self, it was a bit like meeting a celebrity. I was charmed.
I’ve had other moments of pure technological bliss in my life: In high school, when my friends and I realized that thanks to Gmail’s generous storage limits and my school’s sane internet.
We could ditch USB sticks altogether and just email each other files. Across the same table. It felt like magic, using the bits instead of anything we had to carry in our pockets.
Technology just has a beautiful way of sometimes taking your breath away and showing you that there is a new shortcut or a new way of thinking that is now in front of you that was previously completely closed off.
This is what the launch of the iPhone looked like, to highlight a well-known example of this phenomenon.
It hasn’t hit me that much since.
Maybe when I fell in love with Twitter and realized in an instant that I just tweet as I want and no one can stop me; in the first moment I had my own blog on the Internet and was free from any publication restrictions.
One of my happiest memories of innovation involves Task Origami.
Work from Microsoft, Intel and others launched super portable computers, or UMPCs. Likened to squishing a full Windows PC into something the size of a mid-range iPad.
Often complete with an actual console, the gadgets completely caught my eye around 2006.
I had about zero cash at the time, so getting one of the gadgets was absolutely impossible.
Still, when I visited a gadget store with my dad after the UMPC main bike came out – presumably we were looking for a piece of stuff for his business – I wandered down one aisle of figure gear and was amazed to find limited time UMPC gadgets.
I was able to use the gadgets I invested so much energy into that I quit. It was like a VIP gathering for my teenage self. I was captivated.
I’ve had various snapshots of unadulterated technological delight in my life.
In high school, when my companions and I understood that because of the liberal limits of Gmail and my school’s sensible website.
We could ditch USB sticks entirely and simply email records to each other over a similar desk. It felt like sorcery, using bits as opposed to anything we needed to carry in our pocket.