Monday, 7 April 2014

celebrating invention

What's the best thing that's been invented in your lifetime?  And what did you do before it?
My father in law tells me that the best thing ever invented is writing, and he may have a point.  I'm a big fan of it myself.  However, writing was invented by Odin, while he was hanging in the branches of Yggdrassil (or so I'm led to believe), waaaaay before my time.

The thing that's made a massive difference to my life, and which I couldn't imagine being without is the internet.  However, the internet was not invented in my lifetime.  Rather it developed out of other things called packet networks (which don't sound very interesting but I'm happy they happened) in the late 1960s.

The internet remained a bit of a niche activity for a long time.  It wasn't fast enough, or available enough to be what it is today, and for a long time it wasn't expected to be much of a big deal.  I remember 'surfing the web' in the 1990s, using Netscape Navigator.  It took ages.  I think that the internet is great, but it wouldn't be so good if it weren't for the technology we have now.  Gradual improvements in screen technology, battery technology, and processing technology have worked together to give us the smart phones and tablets which have revolutionised my life (have they yours?).  I now use my phone to do the jobs of a whole bag full of stuff I carried around before.

But I have to pick something that's the best thing invented in my lifetime, and I've worked out what it's going to be.

What's not to love?
The best thing invented in my lifetime has been the Android operating system.  Why Android?  Well, because it's open-source.  That means that the coding of it is available to anyone and everyone, and it can be improved by anyone, with the improvements benefiting everyone that uses it.  I love this, because unlike Windows, or Apple gadgets, there are not wads of cash involved.  You get to try things and see if they work, and if they don't they might be scrapped, or they might be improved.  I love that it changes, and I love that there are some seriously clever people constantly improving things.  I like that it is flexible.  To me other operating systems seem to be a little more patronising than Android.  

I always have my 'phone on me, and while it's
charging, I have my tablet (it's a Nexus 7).
I'm lost without my 'phone. Constantly taking pictures, listening to podcasts, writing notes in Evernote, and checking the next thing on my Remember the Milk list.  But my 'phone, and my tablet, have got to be Android, even if the Nokia Lumia does take great pictures and go to sleep on a pillow.

Android was only invented in 2008 (by a load of men), but it's wormed it's way into my heart.

What about you?  What's your operating system of choice?  And what invention could you no longer live without?

This post is part of a series of 50 I'm doing. I'd love to see your take on one of the titles.  Find the full list here.
The book challenge
Words at 3/4/14 - 70,735.  
18,000 words done since the challenge began, 2000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - end of Chapter 13.
What I did last - drafting a piece on blogging I've been asked to do for a friend (3rd draft - cutting it down).