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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tom Still: A Thanksgiving appeal to the great CIO in the sky


By Tom Still
A techie's Thanksgiving prayer:

As we gather this Thanksgiving to share time with family, friends and food, let us count the blessings of our digital age… using zeros and ones only, of course.

We are thankful for some of the big-name companies, devices and software – Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Bluetooth, Skype, Android and more – that have practically become a part of our language.

We are grateful for Facebook, Faceparty, Faces.com and Facetime.

We are thankful for the iPhone, iPod, iTouch, iCloud and "the cloud," which still seems a bit ephemeral and even heaven-like to some of us.

We are grateful for software, hardware, middleware, shelfware, but not vaporware.

Thank you for sending us Steve Jobs, insourced jobs, open-collar jobs and even "new normal" jobs.

We are grateful for hackers (the white hat type), gamers, programmers and coders, but not scammers.

Thank you for meetups, startups, scaleups and recent stock market "ups," which have been setting records.

We are thankful for bytes, gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes and pizza bites for hungry coders who stay up all hours making the latest applications work. However, the jury is still out on bitcoins.

Thank you for Yahoo, Yammer, Yelp, Yippy and YouTube, for Ping, Pinterest and Plaxo, and for Bing, Ning, Zynga and XING.

We are grateful for Flickr, Tumblr and Raptr, and hope that someday in your infinite wisdom you supply them with that missing "e," which we can only imagine was taken away as punishment for something.

Thank you for inventing "selfies," those funny self-portraits people take with their mobile phones or tablets – usually after a couple beers.

We are thankful for .net, Netflicks, NetLingo, networks both human and virtual, and Netscape, a web browser that was one of the industry's first initial public offerings in 1995, and which helped pave the way for others.

Speaking of browsers, we are thankful for Explorer, Safari, Navigator, Sunrise and Cruz, all of which have names that make you think you're going on a really nice trip.

We are thankful for Cyber Monday, which follows Black Friday and seems to extend throughout the holiday buying season.

We are somewhat less enamored by cyber-theft, cyber-bullying, cyber-punks, cyber-stalkers, cyber-terrorism and cyber-attacks.

We are thankful for Dogpile, Firefox, Sea Monkey, Flock, Orca, Lynx, Lobo and other browsers and social media that remind us there's actually something called "nature" out there somewhere.

We are thankful for USB, VPN, 4G, http, SSL, URL, SQL, MUMPS, B2B, B2C, YOLO, FOMO, DHCP, CPR and many other computer-age acronyms that few people understand but still use every day.

Finally, and perhaps most of all, thank you for a few days in which we can choose to disconnect and contemplate what's important in life.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

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