Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thank You, Mr. Gates

Before I became an English teacher I was an IT (Information Technology) guy. I specialized in Macintosh computers and was pretty good, especially in the early 1990s, at training artists who had spent their entire life doing traditional paste-up to us a computer to do desktop publishing. I was a Mac guy during the demoralizing late 1990s, when Apple was going through a self-induced tailspin. It was a painful time for an Apple fan such as myself.

Bill Gates represented Microsoft then, and to a certain extent still does, although he isn't really involved with their day-to-day operations. I did not like that man during the dark days, but I've recently grown to respect him for certain reasons.

Mr. Gates is perhaps the most important reason “geekiness” or “nerdiness” has become cool. When I was a child, geeks like me worried about getting beaten up simply because of who we were. Mr. Gates, along with the entire technology revolution, changed that image. When a nerd becomes the richest man in the world, even those who despise nerds must sit up and take notice.

I'm also pleased with Mr. Gates's transformation from rapacious capitalist to philanthropist. While as a teacher I think his education reforms are questionable, thank you Mr. Gates for making people like me cool.

And oddly, now it seems Apple is becoming the new Microsoft. Go figure.

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