It’s been quite a year. So many memorable moments across tech, politics, the economy, and so many other areas that it seems at times overwhelming to try and keep up with it all. When reflecting on the year, there’s a few things that stick out in my mind as top moments worth remembering. I’ve managed to keep the list to 10 items (barely) and yes, I decided to NOT add “Facebook goes public” or “Facebook buys Instagram”… as a matter of fact… Facebook isn’t on MY list at all! These moments mattered to me because I’m a tech junkie, a political junkie, and somewhat of a sports fan… Here goes:
There was a lot of talk this year about the impact Windows 8 is/will/may have on all of us as we move to more gesture-based computing. I see Win8 as a giant leap forward for mankind. While Apple twiddles with it’s tired-looking skeuomorphic software designs and its old-school looking Mac UI, Microsoft has shown us what the future of computing looks like. The Metro UI which easily adapts to multiple devices is the friendliest, easiest computing OS I’ve ever seen. Adoption may be slow, but in one big release, Microsoft has taken the lead in future-proofing our computing experiences across multiple devices.
By mid-year I think most of us were frustrated and tired with politics. Luckily, living in California, I wasn’t inundated with political ads. I heard from friends in Ohio that wanted the election to be over long before it really was because of the constant stream of ads they were bombarded with. As the debates approached, I was finding it hard to believe there would be anyone left in the country that hadn’t made up their mind already. However, the show wasn’t really over as Jim Lehrer proved. His performance was unexpected from such a veteran newsman. The halting lack of control over the candidates, the meandering miasma of his inane questions let a top-of-form Romney command the stage and made Barack look like he’d forgotten to do his homework. We have come to expect more from our TV news anchors, and Jim just had a terrible moment… really, a terrible 90 minutes.
I’ve been following David Byrne since he started blogging and posting online. Long before, naturally, I was a Talking Heads fan and I’ll never forget the day I bought the cassette of My Life In The Bush of Ghosts. So, sure, Byrne is a fixture for me. It’s fun to follow him online however, because he is leading quite an interesting post-Heads life. This year he released a book “How Music Works” where he takes us on a journey to the inner-workings of what music really is and what it feels like and how and why it plays such a big part in our lives. In addition to reading the book, I had the extra pleasure of seeing him in discussion about it in San Francisco with Bernie Krause. Along with a few quirky anecdotes, I got to experience Byrne giving a PowerPoint presentation filled with bird sounds. Yeah, Byrne and PowerPoint. What a great moment!
It seemed like when I was a kid, the Olympics were a much bigger deal. However, with the games in London this year, I thought I’d tune in and watch as much as I could… well that didn’t work out. What did work out was the opening and closing ceremonies. Man, do the Brits know how to put on a show. These events are becoming like the Halftime shows on the Super Bowl. Yeah, a tad over-the-top, but a visually stunning show all the same. And, oh yeah, the USA won the most medals (104)!
Yeah, yeah, the comparisons to Wall-E were rampant, but think about it. NASA designed and built a device that not only made it Mars, but made it in one piece with cameras attached to send us photos and videos. This still blows my mind when I think about it.
Yeah, it’s a moment that matters. I’m not Catholic, however, the old man holed up in the fancy flowing robes in the Vatican actually sliding up to an iPad and tweeting is something to remember. I know it’s all symbolic… but just imagine how ubiquitous Twitter has become now when Da Popa feels the need to send out his own thoughts in 140 characters or less. This could have an interesting impact on those really long liturgies.
Yeah, the Giants won in 2010 as well. And that was exciting because it had been the first time since they moved to SF that they won a World Series. But it’s just as cool knowing my home team is the reigning World Champions again. And although I didn’t have tickets to the games, I had front row seating in front of my HDTV. And there’s nothing like baseball on a big-screen HDTV. And there’s nothing like the show the Giants gave us this year as well.
I love having instant access in real-time to news. The Internet has given us an impatience with “breaking news” — we want to know what’s happening now! Late in the year, I discovered software pioneer John McAfee’s blog and the clusterf*ck drama he was embroiled in down in Belize. While he was on the run from the Belize law enforcement, he kept us all informed with constant blog posts. There’s nothing more warming to the geek heart than a guy on the run, but still able to connect and update via the Internet. Who knows how sane the man actually is, and who knows if he actually committed a crime… this was REAL reality TV unfolding before us as it happened.
I like Obama’s soaring, elegiac speeches. He’s kinda like a modern-day television evangelist when he gets all fired up. But, rosy and uplifting as he always is, it took Bill Clinton to paint a more realistic picture of where we’re all headed and what the impact of the election would have. His speech this year at the Democrats’ nominating convention easily captured for him the title of “Great Communicator” from Reagan. Clinton handedly laid out the pros and cons of the choice we faced between Obama and Romney and more than likely in that 49-minute speech single-handedly sealed Obama’s re-election.
OH, right… a 10th unforgettable moment. Well, I was going to add Newtown. But it’s so tragic that words aren’t coming. All I can hope for is that we as a nation have a good dialog in 2013 about the issue and try to come to some common-sense solutions to make sure our kids are as safe as they can be. Happy New Year!