I’m Going to Disneyland!

I had the most awkward conversation the other day and it was so awesome that I just had to share. I wish I could give you some kind of funny back-story which ultimately leads to this conversation, but there isn't one. Ladies and gentlemen, this conversation just happened randomly and without warning. I can't make this stuff up.

Person - So, did you go to school to learn about computers?
Me - Actually I went to school for Computer Science.
Person - So you learned how to, like build computers and stuff?
Me - No, I learned how to write software. This whole building computers thing is just kind of a bonus my employer gets from me. I kind of just picked it up along the way.
Person - (Light bulb dimly lights up over her head) Oh! So you could work for Microsoft!
Me - Yeah, I guess I could.
Person - So, I bet that Bill Gates is your hero, isn't he?!
Me - No, not really.
Person - So, then you must be a Mac guy then, right?
Me - No, I kind of use both. I'm not particularly tied to Macs or PCs.
Person - oh! Oh! OH! You could work for Disney!
Me - I suppose I could. I mean, I could work just about anywhere considering that businesses these days run off computers and all kinds of companies need software developers.
Person - (Blank stare)
(Awkward Silence)
Person - Oh, I guess you're right.
Me - (Swift Exit)

Image courtesy of Bruce Tuten

The funny thing for me if just realizing how little people understand about computing.  Since I have a "degree in computers", I'm qualified to write software, repair broken hardware, fix your recipe spreadsheet, and design microprocessors.  There is no difference really.  After all, it's just a computer, right?  In the same spirit, I fully expect a marketing person to be able to maintain the books of a fortune 500 company.  After all, it's just business.

Similarly, I received a phone call at work because an electrical outlet wasn't working.  Since computers run off electricity, then naturally I must be an electrician also. How nice. I'll be sure to email my past professors and let them know how much my degree helped with flipping a breaker. 😉

Computers: The Life Story of a Technology

I just finished reading this book and was very pleased with it.  The book is very short, but manages to capture all of the relevant historical bits that led up to current technologies.  Being a software developer, I think it's important to know where our craft began.  There are a lot of things we take for granted, and this book does a great job of highlighting the complexities involved in advancing computer technology.

It's an easy read, and I really think that anyone in the computer industry should read this. I knew a great deal of the content already, but was able to discover a few new things. More importantly, this was able to keep my interest enough to actually finish the book. It's not dull and reads more like a novel than most history books. Go check it out.