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16 Oct 2009

A Simple Pixel

Picture for: A Simple Pixel

If I kept track of how many hours that I have spent my life in front of a computer monitor, I think it would be an astronomical number.

I vaguely remember the first time that I was introduced to a computer. I was in 5th or 6th grade and sat down to my first ever computer learning game, The Oregon Trail. From that moment on, I have been fascinated by computer technology.

In 1987, at the ripe age of 10, Santa brought me my first home computer; a Commode 64. With it's 4-bit graphic processor and 64 kB state-of-the-art processor, I suddenly became Alice falling down the rabbit hole in search of something. It did not take me long to discover the "GOTO", "IF ... THEN" and "RUN" statements. After printing billboard sized custom graphics on my dot-matrix printer, I discovered the screws that held the casing together. After months of tearing apart and rebuilding the internal components, the screws turned into tiny metallic nubs. 22 years later, I have yet to find the bottle that is labeled "Drink me".

I enjoy challenging myself. When I sit down in front of a computer, I often have a project bouncing around in my head. Sometimes it might be as simple as post-processing a photo, or as complex as delving into the ten's of thousands of lines of code that make this website work. But no matter what path my daily digital journey happens to take, I always feel the need for more.

Technology does not scare me. It surrounds me. I often wonder what my father did when he was my age before the advent of the microchip. Did he carry around a notepad instead of a laptop? Did he carry rolls of film instead of a digital camera that can hold 2,000 plus images? Did he have a stack of vinyl records instead of having a folder full of MP3's? Did he ever hear a Western Meadowlark's beautiful call before it was digitized and placed on a web server for everyone to stream?

Almost everyone that I know is deeply embedded in modern computer technology. Be it a cellphone, GPS device, Facebook or a sound-activated toothbrush, it's everywhere. It keeps me in updated, it keeps me connected. It pays my bills, hell, it pays everyone's bills.

What will Addie's first computer game be? What technological advancements will happen by the time she is 10? I don't know the answer to those questions. I do know that one day I will show her how amazing it is to view a sunset from atop a mountain, how fun it is to sit under a tree and dream about nothing, and just enjoy simple things that our lives will bring. Just like how my family did.

I'd rather paint a pixel with a crayon than Photoshop any day.

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