There’s something about the term “Apple Freak” or “Apple Fanatic” that upsets me. Sure, I enjoying owning and using Apple products, but does that make me a “fanatic”? If it were Microsoft (and not Apple) the company who manufactures such amazing products (iPod, iPad, iPhone, iMac, etc.), would I be categorized as a “Microsoft Fanatic”? After looking back at my experiences with new technologies, I have determined that I’m not so much an Apple Fanatic, but rather an Amateur Technology Junkie, for the simple reason that I love using and playing with new (and relatively unknown) devices.
It’s clear that my desire to experience new technologies stems from my growth and development in an era where new technological developments and upgrades exponentially increase over time, to the point where they have simplified connectivity, sharing capabilities, and even day-to-day activities and interactions. As the son of a Banker and a Systems Analyst, there has always been some sort of computing device or innovative technology in my house. Like my father, whose only guilty pleasure has been owning the latest Apple products, my guilty pleasure is knowing about new technologies, not in a fact/spec-knowing kind of way, but as an experienced-user.
Tech Toddler in Training
My first interaction with new technologies took place when I was just over 4 years old. My father had just purchased the SEGA Genesis console for Christmas, and I remember the awing power of being able to control moving characters and objects on a television screen through the touch of different buttons on a controller. The system permitted its users to easily navigate through a set of options and settings in order to personalize the gaming experience, such as choosing favorite characters or maps. However, the system was still very basic and for the most part, settings were predetermined and set by the game’s developers.
A year later, I discovered a new device, the personal computer. Although I had seen computers before, I was unaware of their power and capabilities. Around the time I was 5 or 6, my mom (who was a Systems Analyst and held computing courses at our house) decided to sit me down and formally introduce me to our 1996 Acer Aspire. My experiences on this device were very rudimentary, and I was taught how to use the mouse and keyboard, how to write in a word document, how to use Paint, listen to music, and play basic games like Pinball. It wasn’t until my cousins got their hands on our computer that they introduced me to father of all first person-shooter games, Wolfenstein 3D, and it was from this point on that I came to love the power of videogames and the impact it has on our imagination, emotions, and even senses. When I was 7, my parents bought our first Mac, a Macintosh Performa 630. Since I was accustomed to the Windows operating system, and Macintosh was not very “user friendly” at the time, especially since this Mac was the first to allow users to switch between Windows and the OS, I never disliked a computer as much as I did this one.
After many years of use, the SEGA Genesis finally broke and it was now time to upgrade our gaming system. As I turned 10, I was introduced to the Sony PlayStation gaming platform, and since then, all our gaming consoles have been PlayStation. Going from the SEGA system to the PlayStation system was one of the biggest technological upgrades I have ever experienced. Playing video games became a whole new different ball game, and although it brought endless hours of entertainment, it also brought endless hours of conflict and fights between my brothers and myself.
ICQ, Discmans, and Flip Phones
By the time I was 11, my mom had given up on teaching others how to use computers (it seems technology had gotten the better of her, and she was forever left behind). There were now two computers in our house: one for my parents, and another that my brothers and I shared. I began to use the computer every day, to do homework, play games, and chat with my friends via ICQ and MSN. Although I wasn’t too into chatting online with friends and girls, it soon became a big part of my day-to-day activities. During this period in time I also started to become aware of music, I bought my first SONY Discman, which allowed me to listen to all my fathers CD’s (at the time I did not have any of my own).
At the age of 15, just before I entered High School, I received my first cell phone, a Samsung flip-phone with a green background and gray-scale lettering and images. I was never able to figure out why I wanted a cellphone so badly at such a young age, since the only people I contacted were my parents and my 8 other friends who also had phones. However, it brought with it the ability to easily “kill time” while waiting in line, riding in a car, etc. My phone allowed me to become an expert in the game Copter, and I even remember spending my allowance to buy basic ringtones through the Verizon Wireless network.
The Apple Era
My freshmen year in High School I started to become very dependent on music, and even had my own Winamp music library with all my favorite songs and albums. In my sophomore year I decided to upgrade my discman to my first iPod, the third generation iPod classic. This purchase was by far the biggest technological upgrade I have ever experienced, and with this upgrade came the music library upgrade to iTunes. During my four years in High School I went through various phones due to water damage, and breaking them or loosing them.
The day of my high school graduation I received my first MacBook Pro laptop and this became the beginning of the end for me. I became what others call “Apple fanatic” and a spoiled little brat (which I still am when it comes to Apple technologies). No longer would I accept any technology that did not work exactly to my specifications and desires. Simplicity and connectivity became essential, and any technology that was unable to offer this was not worth even looking at. Furthermore, as I moved on to college I also upgraded my gaming console, and bought the recently released (then) PlayStation 3, which offered a broad array of very interesting games and entertainment options.
I would not qualify for a “tech junkie” without having some sort of smartphone or smart mobile device, and fortunately, I was able to experiment with those also. I bought my first smartphone in 2009 when the iPhone 3G was the best (and in reality, only) smartphone in the market. This phone became the center of my every day activities, from texting to watching videos and listening to music, or posting on Facebook and Twitter, all of it was done from my phone. As the iPhone began to become more and more important I began to feel a certain dependence. Since them, other smartphones and mobile devices have included the Blackberry Bold 9930, and the iPhone 5.
Why I depend so much on technology I will never know, but then again, is it that I “depend” on technology, or simply enjoy having it and using it? I guess I have to figure that one out…