Today is a huge milestone for JeeLabs. This is weblog post number:
It all started on October 25th in 2008, with a weblog post about – quite appropriately – the Arduino.
Then it took a few more months to evolve into a daily habit, and yet another few months to set up a shop, but apart from that it has all remained more or less the same ever since.
You might have been following this from the start, and you might even have been going through the long list of daily posts later, but there you have it – a personal account of my adventures in the world of Physical Computing. If anything, these years have been the source of immense inspiration and delight. I’ve been able to re-connect to my inner geek, or rather: my inner ever-curious and joyful child. And to so many like-minded souls – thank you.
“Standing on the shoulder of giants” is a bit over-used as a phrase, but it really does apply when it comes to technology and engineering. What we can do today is only possible because many generations of tinkerers, inventors, and researchers before us have created the foundations and the tools on which we can build today. It feels silly even to try and list them – such a list would be virtually endless.
I’m not a technocrat. I think our IT world has done its share to rob people of numerous meaningful and competence-building jobs, and to introduce new mind-numbing and RSI-inducing repetitive tasks. Our (Western) societies have become de-humanized as more and more screens take over in the most unexpected workplaces, and our car trips and train rides are turning us into very selectively-social beings, reserving our emotions but even our respect and courtesy for our families and the people we choose as our friends. Technology’s impact on daily life is a pretty horrible mess, if you ask me.
But what drives me, are the passion and the creativity and the excitement in the field of technology. Not for the sake of technology, but because that’s one of the major domains where cognition and rationality have free reign. You can learn (and reason) all about history, medicine, psychology, or you can invent (and reason about) things which do new things, be it electrical, mechanical, biological, informational, or otherwise. Technology as a source of boundless evolution and innovation is breath-taking, we “merely” have to tap it and put it to good use.
And what thrills me most is not what I can do in that direction, but what others have done in the past and are still doing every day. Learning about all that existing technology around us is like looking into the minds of the persons who came up with all that stuff, feeling their struggles, their puzzles, and ultimately the solutions they came up with. I’m in awe of all the cleverness that has emerged before us, and even more in awe of the thought that this will no doubt go on forever.
It’s really all about nurturing curiosity, asking questions, and solving the puzzles they bring to the surface:
I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. — Albert Einstein
Here’s the good news: we all have that ability. We all came into the world the same way. We can all be explorers.
If you start doing this early on in life and hold onto it, you’ll never be hungry and you’ll never get bored. And if you didn’t have that opportunity back then: nothing of substance prevents you from starting today!
We live in amazing times. Ubiquitous internet and access to knowledge. Open source Physical Computing. Online communities with a common language. This weblog is simply my way of reciprocating all these incredible gifts.