How a computer empowered its users to change the world
Apple Computer will celebrate its 30th birthday on April 1. Over the past 30 years, a world that had no personal computers, no internet and no e-mail has transformed into a world empowered by technology, a world wherein a person could envision a better way and - using the Mac - manifest that change.
A box full of transistors, a graphical user interface and a philosophy fabricated in a garage 30 years ago changed the world by opening portals to new realities and enabling millions of frustrated people to become maestros, transforming the planet into a finer place for all.
Now, every man is a publisher and an international news source. Now, every woman has access to the secrets of life and health.
And now, bullies, criminals and officials of questionable integrity are exposed and brought to justice as informed and empowered people exercise support for right over wrong. The tools to accomplish all this are simple, inexpensive and available to all. Provided, of course, you can get your hands on a Mac.
Macs are not the only personal computer but they are responsible for the graphical user interface and the philosophy of personal empowerment. And it is Apple's birthday, after all.
So I have a gift for Apple Computer - one that I am sure will delight Apple's founders and make them proud. I have a list of friends who, by using some passion, good sense and their Macs, have actually changed the world.
- Larry Dossey, thoracic surgeon, author and humanitarian, noticed that sick people who were prayed for recovered much more quickly. He wrote several books about it on his Mac, which caused the idea to be tested in clinical trials, where it proved to be true and consistent. Over the years, and at great risk to his career, he demonstrated that prayer need not be denominational or even religious to work - just sincere. He also demonstrated that, if you pray for the cancer, it, too, will get stronger - so look after your friends and avoid making too many enemies.
- Bonnie Horrigan, author and publisher, was aware that there were no peer-reviewed medical journals for alternative medical researchers to publish their clinical studies and that the mainstream journals were not about to publish the competition. She started a new journal - Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine - then another - Explore: Journal of Science and Healing. Now medical doctors can recommend natural cures instead of pharmaceuticals for their patients. These journals have effectively separated the wheat from the chaff for alternative medical treatment in the United States.
- Andy Rechnitzer recently passed away but this Mac-head was the first person to dive to the incredible depth of 5,532 metres and was in charge of the dive that went to the bottom of the Marianas Trench (10,912 metres), a feat that has yet to be equalled. An incredibly courageous scientist, he pioneered the technology necessary for safe scuba diving and discovered many new species of fish. He also explored the deepest depths in the furthest corners of the world to increase our knowledge of our environment.
- Larry Nordel, a high-school teacher, set the standard for teaching science to teenagers in the United States. He won Science Teacher of the Year in every category available to him including presidential honours. The result is that many of his students have gone on to become remarkable scientists, changing the world when and how they can.
- David Riley took yoga and acupuncture into clinical trials and demonstrated that they were effective in treating polio patients (Hatha yoga) and migraine headaches (acupuncture). He has numerous other trials in progress, all monitored on his Mac.
These friends are all Mac users and have all had a hand in changing the world. I know many more who will eventually make their mark. And I have an impressive number of friends who use Macs who are very creative people.
If you do not know any remarkable Mac users check out this link which lists famous Mac users: www3.bc.sympatico.ca/greenacres/macusers.htm.
There is a quality about Mac users that ties them to me, celebrity or not. I did a survey years ago in which I asked a number of friends who use PCs what was unique about Mac users. Interestingly, they all gave me the same answer: 'Mac users are just nicer people.'
I think that says a lot about Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and the 30-year old Apple Computer.