Steve Jobs and Power Outages

This isn’t going to be my main topic this week, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something quickly about Steve Jobs resigning as CEO of Apple. There’s  no one who has impacted personal computing quite as much as Steve Jobs. He didn’t invent the PC, but he contributed heavily to popularizing the PC, which would be enough to solidify his place in the annals of computer history if that had been all he did. The Apple II helped usher in the PC age (you could even argue that it was the first PC), and the original Macintosh was the first PC that had a graphical user interface (GUI) and a mouse. (Even if you’re a diehard Microsoft user, you owe a debt to the original Macintosh, considering that Microsoft pretty blatantly ripped off the Macintosh’s GUI when they made Windows. Of course, Apple ripped it off from Xerox originally, but Xerox probably wasn’t going to do anything with the idea anyway, so it’s okay.)

But Steve Jobs didn’t just set the stage for the computing revolution. He has been one of the leading figures, if not THE leading figure in continuing it. The iPod revolutionized the way people listen to music, the iPhone radically altered the entire cell phone industry and the way people think about and interact with cell phones, and the iPad is in the process of changing the very definition of what a computer is.

I could go on and on about the things that Steve Jobs has accomplished, but like I said, I don’t want that to be my main topic this week. Besides, it’s not like the guy is dead. Heck, he’s still involved with Apple, just in a more limited role. But this still feels like the end of an era. It will be interesting to see what happens to Apple now.

Anyway, on to the main topic of the week. Apparently there was supposed to be some sort of hurricane or something headed to the East Coast of the United States of America last weekend. I dunno, I guess it was kind of a big deal maybe. It didn’t really have much of an effect here, but it did make me think about something that bothers me, and that’s losing power.

I hate it when the power is out. I hate it with a passion. I never used to mind all that much. When I was a kid, it was annoying, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. But things are different now. For one, I now live  in the woods, and thus the power lines leading to my house are more vulnerable to trees falling over and whatnot than they are in other places I’ve lived. So the power goes out here more than I was used to growing up.

Not only that, but I use a lot more electricity now than I did when I was a kid. I’m sure I used more than my fair share of electricity as a kid. I loved watching TV and playing video games. But I also spent a lot of time reading books and playing with action figures and playing outside. Only one of those things entertains me now, and even reading books requires electricity now that I have a Kindle. (Although the battery life on the Kindle is good enough that as long as I make sure to charge it before a storm hits, I’m usually all set no matter how long the power is out. Too bad the screen isn’t backlit.) But the main thing is that I didn’t know about or care about the internet when I was a kid, and now I use the internet almost constantly. And of course, no power means no internet. Which is almost paralyzing to me at this point in my life.

So I live in an area that’s more vulnerable to power outages than where I grew up and I have more hobbies that require electricity than I did when I was a kid. But that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that living out the in middle of nowhere means that we have a well, and having a well means that we have to use an electric pump to get water, and having an electric pump means that if we lose power, we lose water as well. Which means no showers, no flushing the toilet, no washing hands, and, if we haven’t planned ahead, no drinking water. So that kinda sucks.

But, as with so many other things in life, losing power is just one of those things that must be dealt with. Until I get my own wind turbine and solar panels, I’m pretty much dependent on the power grid for my electricity, and unfortunately, sometimes the power grid gets damaged. It’s just something I have to accept, and fortunately it doesn’t happen all that frequently.

Actually it’s pretty amazing to me that we don’t lose power more often where I live. As I’ve said before, I pretty much live in the middle of the woods. Everywhere you look, for miles and miles and miles in every direction, there are trees. Not only that, but there are plenty of places up and down the street I live on where tree branches are pretty much resting right on the power lines. It never ceases to amaze me how often the power DOESN’T go out during big storms. You would think that all these trees would be knocking over power lines left and right.

Well anyway, that’s my blog post for the week. Steve Jobs and power outages. What a combination. I’m hoping to have something a little bit more coherent for you next week, but you know how it goes. Maybe I’ll provide an update about my bold move to sell all of my video games and use the money to buy an iPad. (Spoilers: I have no regrets.) Or maybe I’ll come up with something awesome. You’ll never know unless you come back next week.


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