December 26, 2010

The Lesson of Tron: Don’t be a machine. Learn to use them instead.

Filed under: Software Blog — marcstober @ 5:48 pm

Tron–whether the original 1982 movie or this year’s Tron: Legacy–has got to be the movie that glamorizes computer technology more than any other, and that’s why I love it. It’s no stretch to say that the original furthered my interest in the field which turned into a career. (Although The Social Network, despite being a very different sort of movie, actually says many of the same things.) So, given that I’m biased, I want to think that the movie says something meaningful and hopefully positive about the role of the digital world in our lives.

I think the lesson is this: Despite attractive memes to the contrary (in both directions), digital technology is not destined to be a force either for good or for bad; it just lets people do the same things faster. It’s up to us to do something good with it. And, this actually reflects my experience in the software and IT industry: while some people assume that those of us who work with machines are essentially doing the work of machines, in fact a large part of my job is using human judgement to ensure the “programs” actually do something useful for the “users”–and it’s rarely a forgone conclusion exactly what that is.

(Embedded video clip is the first appearance of the Tron character as a logo for its creator, Lisberger Studios.)

December 23, 2010

Some quick and easy gift ideas for geeks or my Christmas wishlist – Disorganized thoughts

Filed under: Consumer, Personal Blog, Software Blog — marcstober @ 10:23 am

There are a lot of cool gifts here but this suggestion for a free gift has to be one of the most thoughtful ever (for someone like me who starts a bunch of things that take him off on tangents!):

Free: ask them what they want to achieve over the next month/3 months/year, and ask if a daily/weekly/monthly call would help them out – if it would, call/visit them at regular intervals and ask them to show you what they have done. Some extra encouragement and motivation is often far more valuable than any product could be, if they are trying to turn a side project into a business.

via Some quick and easy gift ideas for geeks or my Christmas wishlist – Disorganized thoughts.