The Wild Wild Tech

As strange as it seems, nerdiness seems to be “in” right now. Whether it’s inspiration from The Big Bang Theory or the onslaught of comic book movies that have been invading theaters, the world is currently infatuated with the world of nerds.

In many ways, “geek chic” is a victory for people who have spent their lives playing with 20-sided die and plumbers who eat mushrooms. Technologically, however, that may not be the case. The rise of geek chic may be splitting the advancement of computers into two different paths.

The Apple iPad has been, without a doubt, a breakaway success. Its simple interface in addition to pick-up and go design have garnered praise across all age groups. As people everywhere cried out about viruses and computer crashes, Apple made the

tablet for the masses.

In making the iPad, Apple also eliminated many things that computer “power-users” love. To create a nearly foolproof computer, Apple had to create a closed ecosystem for the users.  Apps need to be downloaded straight from Apple, and the freedom of a normal computer is all but lost.

Years ago, computers were an extremely niche market. To have a computer in your house, you not only needed the money to buy one, but the knowledge to use one.  Even computers like the Commodore 64, once considered to be user-friendly, are a nightmare for anyone who isn’t familiar with terminals and basic coding.

The early days of computing were like the Wild West, and the future of computing is looking more like a Mickey Mouse cartoon. With devices like the iPad, developers and programmers are hindered by the device’s lack of functions. The path for the masses will be tablets, secure ecosystems, and simple interfaces. The path for developers and power-users is getting harder and harder to identify.

The standard desktop has been the computer of choice for developers for many years. Now, however, those tastes may see a slight change. Regardless of operating system, all of the desktops out there do basically the same things. The idea has always been that more power is the key to progress. Newer computers need faster, more powerful hardware. Now, more effective hardware may be the key.

Whether it’s specialized graphics cards, dedicated physics processing, or entire processors free to be hacked and programmed, the desktops of the future will be wide open. In the same way that a muscle car could be taken apart like building blocks, these computers’ secrets will be easily uncovered and exploited.

While many have been against one side or the other, I believe that there are places for both forms of computing. As the hybrid version we’ve enjoyed for so long fades away, an even bigger adventure waits on the horizon. Medical breakthroughs, scientific discoveries, and the next hit video game all lie in the future of these open and hackable machines.

While computing may be getting dumbed down in one sense, it’s also pushing forward into new frontiers. The future of technology is brighter than ever, and our lives continue to intertwine with technological advancements. Just because development may be split along two paths doesn’t mean the future can’t be twice as great.