Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Jersey Five-0

Hawaii Five-O is an American television series produced by CBS Productions, and set in Hawaii. The show originally aired for twelve seasons from 1968 to 1980, and continued in reruns. The show featured a fictional state police unit run by Detective Steve McGarrett, played by actor Jack Lord. The theme music composed by Morton Stevens became a number one hit on the radio. Many episodes would end with McGarrett instructing his subordinate, Danny Williams (played by James MacArthur), to arrest the alleged offender(s) with the phrase: "Book 'em, Danno!"

Born Oct, 2nd, 1960 I turned the “Big Five-0 today”. I keep hearing that show’s theme music in my head. Instead of seeing the opening scene of that massive Hawaii ocean wave that started every show, I am seeing a collage of scenes from my life. In my mind’s eye I can see the best days of my life: my wedding day, the birth of my two sons, both of their high school graduations, etc. I have so many blessings; too many to count. And, thankfully, I have resisted the temptation to do something stupid like buying an expensive sports car (or motorcycle) or sky diving or trying the myriad of things that “turning 50” might bring about. And since I do want to see 51 without my wife ending my quest early, I have behaved myself.

But now, that collage of vivid memories in my mind has switched to scenes of technology. I am reliving watching man land on the moon, and how I watched it on television with my parents. I am remembering how much I loved the “James Bond” movies growing up, and I can’t help but think that my love of 007 made me buy my first car phone in 1983 (I had no job – but I just had to have a car phone). I remember my days at Purdue, when the first “micro computers” were introduced, and how my Professor predicted that everyone will have a personal computer. We all thought he was crazy. I remember my first digital wrist watch ($300) my first Texas Instrument calculator ($200) and all of the toys and gadgets that have shaped my life – and ultimately - shaped my career. I witnessed the birth of Microsoft, Apple Computer, and the Internet. I lived through the break-up of AT&T, the birth of the “Baby Bells” and the creation of the Smartphone. Wearing a beeper used to tell the world that you were either a Doctor or a Plumber. Now, I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone with a beeper. And the iPhone, ah yes, the iPhone. From the company that was all but out of business, Steve Jobs and Apple have now changed the world (again) with the iPad. It feels like just yesterday that calling “long distance” was a big deal, and calling to places like Italy, France or the UK was like a buck a minute. Can you say Skype?

The Facebook movie came out this week. I just had dozens of people from all of over the world wishing me a Happy Birthday. One sent me the Beatle’s “Happy Birthday” tune as a .wav file. It all started with an idea - Facebook - a revolution in communication. Now in just a few years, Facebook is worth $25 billion. Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire. Amazing times, don’t you think?

This week, a Rutgers student killed himself because an embarrassing video of him was posted on the Internet. With so much information available at the click of a button, it is hard to imagine that such a vast resource could be used for such terrible deeds. Social media has a huge effect on the lives of young people, who often share pieces of their life with their social networking friends that they normally would not bring up during conversations. The death of the Rutgers student is, of course, one of the more extreme cases, but it is not the first case of suicide following online social media bullying. Please join me in saying a prayer for him and for his family.

I love my life, my family and my job. I have been truly blessed to work in an industry that is exciting, entertaining, and that continues to change the world. It is not a perfect world, and it will never be perfect. In my humble opinion (as a certified technology nerd) technology is here to stay - so we better all figure out how to use it for good and not evil.

Will Facebook go the way of “the beeper” or will it still be here in 2020? As my last 50 years can attest, the proper answer to all questions regarding technology will always be “perhaps”. There is a quote that says “money makes bad people worse, and it makes good people better”. I say the same goes for technology. Money and technology are tools. It will always be up to all of us how we use our tools, for good or for evil.

OK, so thank you to everyone who wished me a “Happy Birthday” via Facebook. Even those of you who I have never met, those people that I never spoke with in my life, I thank you for your good thoughts for my big 5-0. In closing, I did get a wonderful email today from a Facebook friend that has informed me that he needs my help. It turns out that he is a Prince (from some country that I never heard of) that needs to move several million dollars to the USA. And, if I help him to wire the money, he will give me 10%. Wow, and on my birthday too! To this birthday blessing, I can only say one thing:

"Book 'em, Danno!"

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