Be My Technology Valentine

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.

 Love LindaCureton, NASA CIO

3 thoughts on “Be My Technology Valentine”

  1. Excellent article, in my country on Valentine’s Day is celebrated on different dates.

    If I could choose my gift would choose any technological artifact.

    Happy Day!

  2. Linda,

    Although my BlackBerry 7100t was purchased new in 2004 (it was a 25th anniversary gift from my wife) it took a mere two years for RIM to list it as a “legacy device” on its website.

    What was it that Dorothy observed about Oz, that things changed really fast there? Such is the state of technology.

    Keeping up with the latest and greatest is expensive! Just as soon as you become *comfortable* with something (not necessarily *proficient*) something new comes along to replace it.

    Like your friend Ed, when my original 7100t wore out last summer I went on eBay and bought another one. I am comfortable with this device’s capabilities and don’t want to invest the time needed to learn how to use a newer device.

    You hit the nail squarely on the head…determine what your requirements are and then select the least expensive device that satisfies those requirements.

    However, I have given the iPad a moment’s worth of thought…it’s easier to read than my old BB, but it would never fit into the space I have allocated for it (and my reading glasses) inside my motorcycle jacket

  3. Very interesting stuff, I’ll be back another day. I am grateful to find your article. But will I be able to get information from you automatically every day through email. I would be very grateful to you if I could get your article automatically via email. Thanks

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