I’ve Never Attended TED & Other Sorta Techie Guy Embarrassing Confessions

Every spring I lament all the fuss over TED and more importantly my omission from the invite list. Not that I have the spare few grand it takes to rub elbows with the best of the brightest but that might explain my state college education and that my first car was a Ford Tempo. Okay, I wish I was in the select few but for all I’ve had the opportunity to do, TED isn’t on the list. Following is a semi-complete list of my other (bigger) confessions about my life – thus far – in tech.

I never paid for that CompuServe account. Back in the days of dial-up a fellow and unnamed, System Engineer at Apple in St Louis let me borrow his complementary CompuServe account and until we finally got internet in the home it was my primary way online. For those younger, CompuServe was one of the first mainstream dialup networks – even before Prodigy, and AOL. And speaking of AOL, I never once opened one of the CDs you mailed me. Still know folks who have an AOL email account I guess I can see there was some solid math behind that customer acquisition campaign.

I usually chicken out when I can meet someone super famous in the industry. On the list of those I’ve met: Walt Mossberg (okay it was a set meeting so I had no choice), Steve Jobs, and Sergey Brin. On the list of folks I have been no more than six feet from and chickened out when I had an opening: Bill Gates, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Case. Didn’t that last guy once own a big online company? I should add none of my “met list” would remember my acquaintance nor did I admit they were on my bucket list so I’ll count us even.

I can’t explain the difference between GET and POST. So I suppose I could take the 30 minutes to learn this but it has endlessly confused me and somedays I feel too old to learn new stuff. CURL also on that list. I conceptually get it, so I’ll just stick to RESTful APIs and I’ll never know the better that I’m constantly using them every time I fire up my web browser.

I thought we were heading toward divergence not convergence. Okay it was self-serving for the executive director of a short-range wireless technology trade association to predict a time when we would have “best of class devices” for each task and we would use wireless to connect them all together. Strangely I was wrong at a number of levels. I now carry three smart devices that are “best of class” that do have free short-range wireless technology but they don’t connect to each other over it at all. Oh, and if all three had a 3G modem I would have to pay for three different wireless data plans as well. So I guess on this one we can blame the business managers, not the engineers.

I have never built a computer with my bare hands. Lots of my friends are proud to showoff their slick home brew desktop but for a variety of reasons, least of which is no desire whatsoever, I skipped this rite of passage for those of us in the 20+ years experience in the PC industry. I once heard of guy named Steve Wozniak who had a few goes at this; hope it worked out for him. Maybe I should try to meet him someday – maybe I’ll get my chance the first time I get invited to TED.