In 1997 I finally broke down and got an Apple computer. The first was a used one from a friend and then in 1999 it was a laptop, called the Clamshell Ibook and it looked like a kid's toy. It had clear plastic and orange and screamed of fun and play. This was the only way I would succumb to the ravages of time and submit to the new wave of technology. As a fine artist and sculptor, if I wanted to be au courant, I needed to learn how to use power tools, like pneumatic air chisels and the Makita angle grinder. I wielded these tools like a sword and even braved working with the angle grinder without the safety shield in order to get the full blast of cutting for my art pieces. I attempted the scariest methods, from glassblowing to welding, and was an ace at anatomy and bronze patinas and a fire torch.
But a decade later and I wasn't making a lot of art in three dimensions, but moving into writing more. The only choice was to embark upon the brave new world of the internet to become in tune with the future. In college, as fine arts major, I didn't need to type much, and then the electric typewriter was something I could occasionally manage. But after several frustrating attempts, I ended up sending my important papers to a skilled typist instead of dealing with the awful white out and other unmentionables of those days.
With the onslaught of the high tech wave, I became a big fan of Steve Jobs, basically because if you're right brain dominant you experience the world differently from the norm. He knew this and that's why he was my hero. Make something fun, make it easy to use and you can attract someone whose world revolves around beauty, style, design and intuitive processes. What a brilliant man!
After watching the new Steve Jobs movie written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, I was a bit disappointed in the small pinhole aspect of the storyline. However, it was a great theatrical film. But I really wanted to see a film about his creative genius, how his mind worked and what kind evolution and epiphany he went through to create such a wonder of the world technological breakthrough. Perhaps a movie like Being John Malkovich, where they "get inside the creative mind of Steve Jobs?"
One thing Steve recognized early was that the most outstanding feature of using a computer is access to the Internet. It has brought forth a black hole of limitless information, a virtual world beyond any one's imagination. In order to experience this new wonder of the world, you have to be tech savvy enough to navigate it. Now, I'm not one for hopping on the latest tech gadgets and gizmos and you will never see me online lusting after the latest models. In fact, after I finally become comfortable with the more advanced features of each new model, they come out with a billion more bits of information to learn how to use. Forget the bells and whistles, just give me something easy and simple to use.
I have discovered my favorite sites, which have opened up worlds of information, entertainment and education, enough to last a few lifetimes. My favorite is You Tube, which seems to have limitless shares of videos from A to Z. I have had endless hours of laughter, especially with the funny pet videos. Now it is a Google subsidiary with user generated and corporate media videos, soon to take over the way we get information from the airwaves beyond television and radio. Available content includes video clips, TV clips, music videos, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. As an artist, this has provided many new media forms of expression and endless hours of viewing, delving into fascinating worlds. It truly is a small world after all!
As a writer, life is so much easier when there is a site like Wikipedia which shares background information on almost anything. What a concept, a free encyclopedia that is written collaboratively by people who use it! It is an alive format which is constantly upgraded and improved by the people who use it, which can be thousands of changes per hour. It is so simple to use, and easier than dealing with a hard copy book with volumes to sort through. Granted, it can't always be taken for fact, but it represents a fantastic base for any topic, event or subject you are unfamiliar with.
Similarly, every time I seek to move forward in developing my skills, both professionally and in general, there are more complex things to learn. Now I am seeking a way to build my own website and there are so many options out there from purchasing a thick 'how-to' guide, to even taking a course to learn how. However, one I have particularly enjoyed using is VisiHow, which is like a wiki-with tutorials and visuals. I discovered it in a recent article by Dianna Labrien in tech.co, which similarly to Wikipedia, launched as a Non-Profit project. Now this is the kind of site that makes me excited to be able to navigate and do things on my own, so I don't have to call my closest friend's teenager to ask how to do something.