It Just Works

I just read two blog posts (first and second) by Marco Arment (creator of the brilliant Instapaper app, which I am now addicted to) on what he describes as the shift to “grown-up computing.” Go read them now, they are seriously good pieces. Marco and I are of the same generation of computing. Back in college my friends and I were constantly looking for interesting things to do with our machines. We dual-booted into linux. We had the latest graphics cards in our homebrew computers. Experimental drivers? No problem! We used to get together at soneone’s house with our machines to have a night of LAN gaming. Sometimes we would go government surplus computer auctions. I remember once buying 40 keyboards (The good, IBM Model M ones, with the glorious key throws and clicks)for $10. Heck, we even ran a SGI Indigo in my pal’s dorm room, for no really good reason.

But over the past few years something has change for me. The fun of making the computer work has been replaced by the annoyance every time the system doesn’ just work. I stopped seeing the computer as a toy, but as a tool to get things done. About 5 years I got my first Mac, and haven’t really looked back. In a way this makes me sad, but it is a change I don’t regret. As I have grown up, I now appreciate elegance over sheer power, and stability and usability over customization. As I read Marco’s piece, I thought to myself, “Wow, he is describing Me!” my interest has shifted from programming my own version of token ring networking to something more high level, the use of these tools to create content.

Anyway, now I sit here in a coffeeshop in France, typing on my iPad while listening to my mp3s and surfing the web, something that 10 years would have been close to impossible. We are living in the future.

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