I was recentlyinterviewed by a reporter who was writing an article about me. She asked me why I love technology somuch. I paused, to try to think of apolitically correct answer that was becoming of a Federal CIO. After a deep breath, I started to answer butthen I remembered that I was the technology chief of an agency that is highlyregarded for technology and innovation. Finally, I remembered that I promised myself that this was the year forTruth so not wanting to make a liar out of myself, I answered. I really didn’t like technology all thatmuch. Maybe I hate it, I’m notsure.
In general,Valentine’s Day isn’t my very favorite day – not bad, but not my favoriteeither (my favorite is probably April Fool’s Day thanks to my silly siblings).Maybe I have too many memories of being a geeky goofy little girl who went toschool with Valentine’s Day cards to give out and brought them all back plus a few from geeky goofylittle boys.
It occurs tome that my experience then is a lot like my experience now. As I little girl, as it related to Valentine’sDay wishes, I didn’t have what I needed, and didn’t need what I had. Technology is a lot like that. As I type this blog, I am looking at an iPad,2 laptops, a blackberry and an iPhone. It begs the question; do I have what I need? Or do I really need what I have?
When I wasin graduate school, I was writing my thesis on clever ways to compute theeigenvalues of the hexagon (if you have to ask what that is, it doesn’tmatter). I had a cool new desktop backthen with a math co-processor. But, hellif couldn’t compute those numerical estimates in my lifetime. I was so frustrated and I had a thesis tofinish! But, then for Valentine’s Day Igot a wonderful present from my husband – 256M of memory. That was a great gift when memory cost alittle over a dollar a megabyte. I had afast processor, but what really needed was fast memory.
I ended lastweek talking to my favorite Luddite, Ed. He’s got a big old clunky blackberry brick on his waist. I asked him when he was going get aniPad. He came close to cussing me outand challenged me to a race in words per minute with him and his brick. I promised him that the piece of crap hecarried around would break, and then he said the technician as a whole box ofold ones ready for him. Yep, Ed had EXACTLYwhat he needed.
I’ll endthis with a wonderful technology love poem especially for Valentine’s Day:
Beta is dead,
Ed’s Blackberry is Blue,
Technology is sweet,
But not if it doesn’t help you.