Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Overheard on CNN.com: 'Woz' speaks

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Seems like we are in the 'Annoying Age' where we are learning to teach computers to do a lot of the things we used to do, but we are still doing a lot of the things computers should be doing now. My finger hurt! I have to constantly repeat myself to the computer! The next generation will luck out. Computers can do everything for them; they can then start the slow process of turning back into monkeys. Either that, or we get big green heads and move on to Mars." -- kilmoturtles

 

CNN toured the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, with Steve Wozniak, who spoke about his tech obsessions and the perils of technology. Readers were pretty split over the geek icon and one-time "Dancing With the Stars" contestant. Some were awed by "Woz" while others said he is from a bygone era. One point of contention was Wozniak's discussion of the problems with technology, chiefly the effects of automation in one's life and the potential for the dumbing down of society. Check out readers' reactions to this and other stories on CNN.com:

 

Apple's Steve Wozniak: 'We've lost a lot of control'

 

Karloff1313 urged people to "put down the technology and pick up a pen to work on your writing skills. Judging by comments written on the Internet, many people are dearly lacking in writing and English comprehension skills." guitarharry wrote, "As a former teacher, I have to say that Wozniak is on the right track. All the computers and other gizmos that have come out in the last 20 years have their uses, but at the same time, students seemed so consumed with and distracted by technology, especially by their smartphones, that they are losing ground and becoming intelletually second-rate: they can't read, write, or do math because they have grown up depending on machines to do much of that work for them."

 

For other readers, the story evoked computer nostalgia. Muddyshoes said, "Woz is one of the last of hobbyists who are starting to die off who created computers mostly because they were fun. He and [Steve] Jobs were the perfect combination to revolutionize computers for the home. This isn't about Apple products being good, or bad or expensive. This is about the history of every computer in use today, whether it's a desktop computer or smartphone. Woz was at the beginning of all this." But one commenter noted that Wozniak seemed like he had plenty of gadgets. "Sounds like The Woz is the one who will have a problem putting the gadgets down and backing away," said drldeboer, who then added, "P.S.: All hail the Hackintosh." celticwitch said, "Sounds like sour grapes to me. Woz dumped Apple and they became successful without him. They became successful because there are a lot of people out there who like uninterrupted workflow and return on investment when it comes to their electronics."

 

Readers remember Elizabeth Edwards for her grace under fire

 

We received an outpouring of comments following Edwards' death from breast cancer. Several of the responses were highlighted on CNN's This Just In blog. We in turn received even more comments.

 

Kasia Wojtowicz wrote, "I dont know what it is, but I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mrs. Edwards. There is just something about this story that caught my attention and is not letting go." Cindy Fleet addressed her troubles with her estranged husband, former Sen. John Edwards: "Elizabeth, you showed us what grace under pressure really is. You showed us it doesn't matter how much money you have, you are still vulnerable to the pain of betrayal. How sad that the man you chose for a life mate chose to conduct himself in such a disgusting manner." Many thought of loved ones they had lost. Vincent Bett said, "I lost my dad to brain tumor at age 20 and i still feel the pain and loss to this day. I agree with you that we sholuld value our parents at all cost. I would do everything to get my dad back."

 

SpaceX craft splashes down in Pacific after successful launch

 

The launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket into the Pacific Ocean was, for many of our readers, a sign of the beginnings of a potential commercial space travel industry. Most of the readers lauded the arrival of private development after NASA's work, with a few dissenters as well.  Chimmichanga wrote, "The Internet started out as a government project decades ago and then went private. The space program started out as a government project decades ago, and now it is going private. NASA's seed is turning into a tree." mrgadfly was less optimistic: "In other words, the United States government is in such dire straits, economically speaking, that it must take the 'bus' instead of driving its own car now, and it must 'rent' instead of owning its own celestial real estate. Meanwhile, Americans continue to believe that their nation is a superpower." Commenter Frankly2010 toyed with the metaphor, saying it's really about businesses making cars to improve on the governmental bus: "The sign of a nation's greatness is not what it's government can do at massive expense, but the heights that it's private citizens and businesses may reach in their own endeavors. This is the United States of America. Here, you can start your own business to cut grass, or you can start one to go to freaking SPACE."

 

Kathy Griffin booed for Bristol Palin joke

 

The story generating the most comments today was a Marquee blog post about a joke by comedian Kathy Griffin about Bristol Palin. Griffin's remarks about Palin's weight got many readers upset for one reason or another. krg said, "I am glad our men and women in uniform have more class than this comedian. Nothing is funny about making fun of a 20-year-old single mother who has to deal with hate from some people because of what they think politically of her mother. Thank you troops!" Cec wrote, "I like Kathy Griffin, but this joke was a low blow." KeyLimePie took the position that many others took: that you can expect to be scrutinized when in the public eye. "Too bad if Bristol is only 20. If you're old enough to be on 'Dancing With the Stars,' then you're old enough to be the butt of jokes on late-night TV. You know what you're signing on for, especially when you're not a good dancer. And Bristol's mother didn't have any problem subjecting her pregnant teenage daughter to the public eye when she ran for vice president."

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

2 Comments
December 9, 2010
Click to view saturn7's profile

readers were split on the geek icon?? some saying he was from a bygone era??? wow, what a bunch of self righteous ingrates this country has produced, and totally lacking in a full understanding of how technology has developed over the last 40 years or so. And yes indeed, with all the advantages of technology and instant access to information, ironically so there has been an undeniable dumbing down of the general populace of the US, especially the youth.

December 9, 2010
Click to view Gilasevi's profile

I agre with you saturn7 on the self righteous ingrates view.

 

I do think that on the other hand we have the 'tech-tainment' devices as a result of their efforts. It's as if the iPhone and similar devices, are the fruition of what they intended. Either that or their initial pioneering has become a monster they cannot control anymore, like a Frankenstein of technology.

 

There is in someway, in my view, that perhaps also, Steve Jobs, The Woz, really don't dictate computing, its been or we're in the midst's of a 'take over' by real geeks who are creating online soc.ial sites.

 

Geekery such as soc.ial sites for the most part don't really benefit society that much. Sure, instant communication, etc. but in my view, there's a vacant feeling aftertaste to it all. A vapidness.

 

And this is the danger, that these sites distract, produce interactions with no boundaries. Anything goes, evident from all the cowardly trolling that happens in in many soc.ial sites. Thus, this shapes cultures, shapes generations to live as if interacting in real life like they do on the internet.

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