I thought it would be interesting to kick off a series where each of our columnists would share the top 5 technologies that changed and profoundly impacted our lives, along with the reasons why. Technology has shaped and is shaping many different generations in different ways and will continue to do so for long periods of time. I know I always enjoy listening to others tell stories about the products that truly impacted them for the better and some of the reasons why. So here are the ones that shaped my life up to this point.
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
That’s right the very first EPIC NES. It was 1985 when the NES came into my house. I was instantly the coolest kid on the entire block. My father being one of the first analysts in the computer industry developed a good relationship with Nintendo so he got to bring one of the first units home.
Many of you can relate to your first gaming experience, whether it be with the Commodore, Atari, NES or even the Playstation or XBOX. It was mesmerizing, captivating and seriously addicting. I couldn’t get enough, the escape that video games presents or more immersive and emotional that books or movies could ever be, for me at least. It also most likely contributed to my ADD.
Now with the addition of things like Kinect and the Wii, families are getting together and playing immersive games together. For me it all started with the original NES.
DIR/W. Ah the memories of DOS. The PS/2 was the first computer I remember using at length. We had many others before it in our home but I simply don’t remember them as well. I learned to use DOS on the PS/2 which instantly made me the go to for tech support in computer lab in the 5th grade.
Computers and computing are a big part of many of our lives. I highlight this one because it was the one I spent the most time with at a young age and the one much of my computing foundation was grounded on.
Compaq iPaq 3630 W/ PCMCIA sleeve and Metricom Ricochet Wireless Card
I had a difficult time choosing between the iPaq and the first Palm Pilot. I was at the Palm Pilot launch event when Jeff Hawkins first publicly demonstrated the device. In fact my dad took me out of school to attend the event because he knew how significant it would be for the industry. I remember thinking at the time how groundbreaking this pocket computer was. The primary reason I chose the iPaq over the Palm Pilot was because of the Metricom wireless card adapter sleeve. Although the original Palm Pilot represented a vision for a true pocket computer, the iPaq with the Metricom Ricochet Wireless card brought me the Internet in my pocket for the fist time and that was what gave me my inflection point.
Now you may be wondering why I chose this device over a smartphone or cellphone of some kind. The reason was because this particularly product, tied to the Metricom broadband service, provided the basis for my smartphone experience. Because I was highly familiar and comfortable with a pocket computer experience, I didn’t have the same profound “aha” moments many did with their first smartphones because the iPaq had provided the fundamental experience of apps and the internet in your pocket.
My first HDTV – Mitsubishi 55” Rear Projection
Being an early adopter I bought my first HDTV the second I could possibly afford one which was in 2003. That was also the year my first daughter was born, so I positioned it as a birthday present for her, which obviously no one believed.
I remember the first time I saw an HD picture on this beast. I nearly cried. I stared at it for hours and watched the most random things simply because HD content was limited and I just wanted to watch HD shows. I remember telling my wife it was like looking out a window or like actually being at the football or baseball game. She didn’t think so but I did and that was all that mattered.
I chose the iPad for a number of reasons. Mainly because in the 13+ years I have been working in the technology industry I always dreamed of a product like this (a no compromise tablet) and this was the first to deliver. I used nearly every pen computing tablet that came to market in a variety of shapes and sizes prior to the iPad. Yes, there are a number of good tablets on the market and they will all continue to get better but for me the iPad brought touch computing to the mass market and is still the cream of the crop in my opinion.
Arguably touch computing started with the iPhone but a small pocketable screen is only capable of some elements of touch computing where the iPad represents a much more holistic touch computing platform and has cast a vision of where touch computing will go with future innovations.