17 October, 2007

Why it's important

Well boys and girls, my classes are beginning January 14. The Visual Basic course is not being offered this semester, so I will have to take that in the following one. This semester I will be focusing on learning Java. Java is a wonderful programming language because it's platform-independent, meaning that the software you develop using it can be run on any computer. So I'm definitely looking forward to taking this class and the associated lab. Today's post, however, is not necessarily about computers.


For those of you; and I know who you are :-); who think that I only write about boring technical computer stuff, this post is for you. Through this post, I hope to demonstrate the positive impact technology has had upon my life. In doing so, hopefully you'll begin to get a better understanding of why these things are important to me. I'm not the kind of person who will blog about every technological development ever made, only those that solve my problems for me and others like me. So with that, let's begin.


The world I live in is very different to most of you. Most of us develop limitations as we get older, as our muscles get weaker `with age. My situation is different in that I was born with limitations caused by my CP. Through physical therapy, I have developed my muscles and I am training the undamaged part of my brain to take over functions that are difficult and complex such as standing and balancing. Since walking is not my primary mode of transportation, I obviously need some way to get around and that, my friends, is where technology comes into play. I have a power wheelchair that enables me to get around. I know, "yeah, so what?" Yes, of course we say that now but consider for a moment... what did it take to develop the electric wheelchair that is so commonplace today? It actually takes some very sophisticated technology. Consider what a wheelchair is made out of these days. It's made out of aluminum and other lightweight alloys that were discovered where? That's right, they were employed by NASA for use in the space program other lightweight metals were developed by DuPont to improve cooking.. That's a practical example of technology at work to make lives better. Here's another.


Consider for a moment the method I'm using to post this blog entry. Do I type? Am I able to use a mouse for prolonged periods of time? Absolutely not! I use speech recognition. When I was in high school; actually beginning in grade school; my parents had to help me complete my nightly homework assignments by acting as scribes. They took my dictation. That was the only way I could complete the work that was required of me. If they hadn't been willing to do that, I would not have been able to go to school. So for those of you that think that science fiction is boring, consider the way I write to you today. Exactly what would my life be like without the ability to express my thoughts and ideas in such an efficient and independent manner? To be honest, we don't really know. What is certain is that we wouldn't want to know. I would probably be institutionalized, if not for my ability to get around and through my technology, making a positive contribution to the world around me.


Suppose that the artificial joint had not been invented. What would happen to your grandmother or grandfather when they had joint problems? What would happen to the returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom are amputees? If wheelchairs had also not been invented, people without full use of their limbs would be crawling in the streets. That includes me. Is this really the kind of world we would want? Not so boring now is it?


We all pray for a better world. That's wonderful because prayers are answered! I'm living proof of that. But if we're going to start solving problems for people, we have to care about it. We actually have to want to make a better world for everyone to live in. We've got to give dignity to all. We've got to start looking at technology as a means to help those around us. That's why it's important. Isn't that kind of world we really want? Don't we want to solve problems to make life better for those around us? I do and if you feel like me, you'll understand why I write this blog. Going to school and learning as many different programming languages as I can will enable me to get back to those who were kind enough to do the work that brought me independence. I want to develop software that addresses specific problems. That's why technology's important to me.


C said...

I wish more people would actually think about other people.....not just themselves and what they will get out of it. I'm glad you are getting out there and actually DOING something. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~Margaret Mead

Likestrek said...

Yes, I agree I too wish people would get over themselves enough to care about others. While, yes, it's true the blog is about how technology would benifit society I know better than anyone that your interest in technology goes beyond that... :)