Friday, July 14, 2006


I am typing this on a new laptop, a MacBook. Certainly a slick little machine. I'll say this for Apple: Their stuff looks great. Even the packaging is designed to look good. My first Apple was a Mac 128. How many years ago was that?

Sixteen years ago the National Academy of Engineering announced the ten greatest engineering achievements of the past 25 years. At that time I listed in a Globe column what I took to be the ten best engineering achievements in my own life:
--Voyager II, the little spacecraft that could.

--The compact disc.

--The Sony Discman.

--My Fuji Ace lightweight 12-speed bicycle.

--The Macintosh Portable computer.

--The ATM.

--The New York Sunday Times.

--The rechargeable power screwdriver and multi-use "drywall" screws.

--The Gillette MicroTrac disposable razor and aerosol shaving cream.

--The solar-powered calculator.
Sixteen years later it all seems rather quaint. The only items that are still front and center in my life are the ATM (now available, I discovered recently, in the most remote villages in Turkey), the New York Sunday Times, and the rechargeable screwdriver. That Apple Portable! What a bust! And it's amazing to think that only sixteen years ago the internet wasn't even on my list.