When Tech Became Cool

Nearly a year ago, I moved to Mac.

I recall it quite clearly when it happened.  I was planning a new Windows Box purchase as soon as Windows 7 came out.  Then I had a virus on my computer, which I managed to fix.  My wife and roommate of the time, both Mac users, had long been suggesting I use a Mac.

So after having blown an evening dealing with my first virus infection in years (apparently due to a PDF vulnerability), I began reflecting on the advantages of having a Mac:
* All the basic software I need.
* Great service and support.
* Much less viruses and such targeting it – and good onboard security to boot.
* Long lifespan.

This all added up though to one, important thing – less frustration.

I'm a busy person.  I'm a PM in technology, and thus no longer being a programmer, a computer crisis is not a Valuable Learning Experience.  I can't imagine what computer problems are like for people who don't have an IT background, though I can guess from the amount of times my friends and I play tech support.

But Mac is relatively frustration-free.  Mac is fast, slick, sexy, and gets the job done.

That's what I wanted.  That's why I got a Mac.  It's also a reason I hear for a lot of people using a Mac.

Or an iPhone.

Or an iPad.

Or a Droid.

Or anything that just simply works.

Computers and tech are cool now, but it's not the cool of self-made systems, or jury-rigged, or customized.  The cool of modern technology, of the recent years, is the cool of Stuff Getting Done Right.  It's cool because its slick, effective, looks awesome, and does the job.

I remember the age of Computer Stuff That Was Unreliable, which I think ended perhaps a few years ago.  People had a love-hate relationship with computers, jokes about their malfunctions were common.  I, an IT pro, was always very cautious with my Windows boxes because of their temperamental nature.

In the last few years, with the rise of Mac, the iPhone, the iPad, and pre-made, loaded, simple Windows devices, it seems computers and related tech entered the area of easy to use.  The marketing from Mac made tech more hip.

In short, our technology is just as slick, cool, and reliable (more or less) than we expect from our science fiction, comics, and movies.  This has made tech and geekery far cooler in a shorter time because it's also slick, accessible, and neat – as opposed to obscure and frustrating and alien.

So when you look back on these years and the rise of so many devices, of further Geek Chic, and when having the latest gizmo was a sign of cool, remember what happened.

Stuff actually became more useable and accessible.  Geekery became accessible.

-Steven Savage