Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Facebook, text message, phone call, email, YouTube… what’s your pleasure?

A day after Christmas I met with some friends I hadn’t seen for years. After catching up on everything that has happened to us (and by us) in such a long time, one of them asked me what field of study I had chosen at university.

It has been a while since the last time I heard that question. The fields I work on now have apparently no connection to those origins, and the lateral and postgraduate studies seem to somehow leave those titles in the background.

Then it sparked again: the many years I and my fellow classmates, coworkers, competitors, etcetera have been producing the many ways we communicate nowadays.

See, putting aside the many courses on business, societal studies, personal growth and anything else nonrelated to technology; I am a telecommunications and an electronics engineer, have taken many courses on computing and similar technologies, and have worked for at least a quarter of a century on telecommunication and computer networks.
Throughout that time I’ve met so many technicians, programmers, consultants, designers, engineers, and so many other IT related people that listing their names would require a whole book. And that’s only me: I can’t imagine the millions of people around the world that have made and continue to make possible the most amazing type of technology ever created. It is a kind of magic.

From Edison, to Franklin to Marconi, through Berners-Lee to Gates to Jobs, through Brin and Page, Yang and Filo, and Zuckerberg… the list is long and keeps growing…

All these amazing new ways to communicate: book flights, close sales, win contracts, find information and friends, enjoy scenes of what’s going on a different part of the world, watch commercials from other countries, etcetera, and etcetera. None of it would be possible without the creativity, dedication, hard work, smarts and long hours put by the myriad of people around these “networks”.

Did you just receive a picture of your newborn granddaughter on EM? Called your family 8,000 Km away via Skype? Quickly finished your homework through research via Google and Wikipedia? Finally found and purchased that gadget on eBay or that rare book on Amazon? Recently found an old friend on FB?

All good, isn’t it?
It isn’t good. It is AMAZING!

So, the next time you see those telecommunications-company vans going on the highway, the pulling-cable technicians you dismiss as nonexistent, the nerdy looking programmers you think know nothing except computers, the engineers that have trouble explaining the IT terms in simple language, or the consultants that seem to charge more than what their advice is worth; please take a look at your laptop, Blackberry, iPad or any gadget you choose and use for communicating; and acknowledge each and every one of those wonderful people.

You don’t need to kneel and kiss their feet. A simple “hi” or “thank you” will do.

Engineering… what a ride. What a magic an amazing ride.

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