Monday, March 02, 2009

Technophile Technophobe

I have never really been a technophile... or rather, I haven't been a fundi or someone who knows all the latest gadgets etc. Growing up, I had about a one year period when we were on the cutting edge when the kids woke up to a pile of boxes down stairs that turned out to be a computer. It was black and white and took a few minutes for games to load, but it was awesome.

The main games I can remember from it were the Seoul Olympics (which destroyed the keyboard through bashing the keys to go faster) and Space Quest. It was probably around the age that my oldest brother was able to do some computer science as a subject, but our computer didn't take long to be behind the curve.

Schools in South Africa only really started having computer rooms with access towards the later years of when I was in high school. I did one course in computer science when I was in university, which I enjoyed, but only lasted 6 months.

But things are moving so quickly now, you can't help but feel those people who did spend a few hours in the computer rooms and did learn a bit of programming are going to have a great time going forward.

Every now and then I read a few posts on TechCrunch which talks about the latest, greatest and worst innovations. There is some amazing stuff being developed. But what is changing is that it is not like even a few years ago where you heard about something and then it took a few years for it to come in to being.

With things being 'open source', anyone who has the necessary programming skills and a clever idea can spread things rapidly.

I have just been talking about the idea of personal tutoring and free-lance academics... Zuora makes this possible with the ability to charge a subscription for use of facebook apps which 'Teach the People' is already using.

Often the users recreate the way inventions are used. The tool goes out there and the users redefine how it is used...

Here is a short clip by Evan Williams on how this happened with Twitter...

I am not a twitter user yet. I say yet, because while I am a neighsayer and still find the concept a tough one... even the strongest crumble. How many people for years said they didn't need a cell phone? Lots of people said they would never join Facebook.

I am sure there were plenty of people who said they would never give up their car for a horse.
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