The other day I was sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks surrounded by the chatter of conversation and people hunched over their laptops or newspapers. At one table, however, something remarkable was going on.
Digital giants like Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft would all like to be the home base for your mobile phone or tablet. The challenge is keeping you connected to them even when you're doing something completely different.
Planned obsolescence. You expect it with your cellphone and your TV. You're used to it with your car. But your computer operating system - the software that determines what you see on the screen and how you make the hardware work - has nearly always allowed you to upgrade and stay connected and productive.
If it weren't for Douglas Engelbart, the computer on your desk might still be little more than a glorified typewriter, and you might still be struggling to remember arcane DOS commands so you could type them into a luminous green C:\ prompt on a black screen. And the multimedia marvels of the Web might not have ever existed.
Do you hate waiting on hold for a customer service rep to answer the phone? How about that phone tree navigation system that nearly every company uses? Don't you just want to scream "representative" to the recorded voice that isn't listening?
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