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Amazement and Wonder? Really?

As you may have read in last week’s article How Fragile Things Can Seem, I had a particularly difficult week with technology the week prior.

Such things are to be expected, but after a week like that I felt the need to remind myself a little bit about why I do what I do, and why I love all this technology.

So, I created a graphic and posted it to Facebook.

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“I want to replace the frustration that you feel with the amazement and wonder that I feel every day.”

 

The graphic, from the Ask Leo! Facebook Fan Page:

Amazement and Wonder!

Frustration

The thing is, I really do understand the frustration that technology can cause. I’ve certainly experienced more than my share of things not working when they should, or breaking for reasons which are completely unclear.

Given what I do, it’s really part of the job. Stuff breaks. Stuff happens.

There’s a reason that the old quote rings true: “Profanity is the one language all programmers know best”.

When mail inexplicably stops getting delivered, when machines return from the repair shop missing critical files, when restore operations take days, if not weeks … well, you don’t have to be a programmer to feel the need to apply a little colorful language to the situation.

But then there’s the other side of the coin.

That requires just a little bit of a story.

Amazement and Wonder

Last week my wife and I (and the corgis!) packed up the travel trailer for a four night stay out at a state park on the Pacific Ocean. It’s about a four hour drive when pulling the 28′ trailer.

About half way there, we realized that we’d left something important at home, and it needed to be retrieved. So at our traditional half-way stop I unhitched the trailer, and left my wife and the dogs with it for a quick home-and-back run to get the forgotten item.

On my way, I realized that this “alone time” on the freeway would be a great time to catch up on one of my favorite podcasts: Morning Coach, by my friend J.B. Glossinger. (Let’s just say I felt in need of some positive energy, and J.B. delivers. 🙂 )

Then it dawned on me: here I am traveling down the freeway at high speed, deciding I want to listen to my friend’s podcast, and magically, with a few taps on my smartphone, a few seconds later, it’s downloaded from who-knows-where out on the internet and playing (wirelessly at that) through my car’s stereo system.1 Amazement.

On the way back, I decided to listen to something else. That turned out to be “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Perfect. But as I fired it up I realized: I have over 11,000 songs in my digital music collection. And every single one of them is just a few clicks or taps away, at a moments notice, no matter where I am2. Even as I’m flying down the freeway.3 Wonder.

The sheer amount of what’s available to us in mere seconds is, indeed, both amazing and wonderful.

My amazement could be your “meh”

I totally get that my ability to grab random podcasts and music as a last minute decision as I’m on the road may not impress you (perhaps you’re young enough to have grown up with that and take it for granted), or strike you as valuable (maybe driving in silence is your refuge).

That’s not the point.

The point is simply this: that even though technology – and life itself – can be frustrating at times, it’s worth taking a moment to really appreciate what we have. The fact that I have this amazing device in my pocket that is capable of these wonders is truly worth appreciating. Especially when you consider that my little scenario above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this silly little box is capable of.

And that’s just that silly little box.

Don’t let the frustration that you experience from time to time get in the way of seeing, appreciating and enjoying what your technology can do for you.

It certainly made my drive a lot more pleasant.

Footnotes & references

1: Not to worry safety folk: MorningCoach was already programmed into my podcast player – it really was just a couple of taps to get there from here. Eyes on the road. 🙂

2: OK, ok, anywhere with an internet connection. My provider is Verizon Wireless, which I selected specifically because they cover everywhere I want to be. Even the state park, where I’m writing this before the return home.

3: Again, this particular album was pre-loaded onto my phone, so very few taps were required. Eyes on the road.

Posted: September 27, 2014 in: Leo's blog
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/16292
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

3 comments on “Amazement and Wonder? Really?”

  1. I really got a kick out of the “programmer’s language” anecdote. That could describe much of my technology interaction. I tell folks that technology is a wonderful thing – when it works. But when it doesn’t, it can cause much weeping and gnashing of teeth!

    Reply

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