Saturday, September 10, 2005

The iPod, humility, and Talat Mahmood

I plugged my iPod into my sound system and asked my parents: "any requests"?

"What have you got", they asked me, a little skeptical that I would have something that would appeal to them. "A whole lot", I said, thinking of the 30GB hard drive almost full of music, "just try anything and I'll see if I have it".

Pretty soon the room was filled with the sweet melodies of Talat Mahmood from the 50's, my parents were clearly in a time-zone very different from the present, and the kids were being shushed so we could all enjoy the glorious melodies.

And then, my mom got up, calmly went over to the iPod and turned up the volume from the clickwheel.

And suddenly you realize - it's not the technology, it's not the coolness, it's not the marketing, it's the connections between people.

The ability to have 5000 songs in the palm of your hand is amazing; but it's the ability to set any mood instantly that's really the pull.

The elegant interface is a marvel of engineering and beauty; but it's the ability for anyone - geek or not - to stay in control of the experience that makes it a remarkable thing.

The sound quality is out of this world; but it's Talat's timeless voice that is making our afternoon so special.

It's about us, it's about people, it's about connecting and bringing goodness to life, it's about technology becoming invisible - just showing it's face for the briefest possible time to help us, then blending gracefully into the background. Like people, humility in technology is a beautiful thing.

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