Apple is the new NASA

When I was a kid, the future was filled with optimism. The year 2000 was 10-20 years away and it was this magical goal we were working towards. I was obsessed with astronauts, especially those in NASA that got to ride in the space shuttle. While I never made it to spacecamp, I envied the kids that did.

Then the shuttle blew up, the year 2000 passed without flying cars, and 9/11 sparked another world war. Leaders talked about the past, not the future. Optimism was dead.

I never stopped looking for that optimistic future. It's something every tech nerd craves and I think that's why we got into the technology field to start with: to make the world better. Anyway, today I realized why I transformed from longtime skeptic of Apple computer to total fanboy in the past three years.

Apple creates technology that makes things better. Portable music, wireless networking, laptops, photos on your digital camera, video on your camcorder, movies on your TV, and now the dreaded cellphone. These are all things that have been a hassle for some time.

I don't know a single person that likes the phone they have. Everyone feels like a victim of both their phone plan and their phone hardware. Cellphones seem to be one of those things that barely works given all the drawbacks. The iPhone isn't just a new gadget. It looks like something that will transform the way we think about cellphones.

Today I realized the feeling of optimism that I held dear when I was a kid -- that everything was going to work out and be better for everyone when I got older -- isn't captured by the folks at NASA anymore. It's the people at Apple that provide that.