Being more or less tech savvy since I was not too old, I wouldn't really say that any technological invention has changed my life. However, there are those which have enhanced it. There are those which have made it so much better. There is one device born out of technology which has seen me through many phases of my life and been friend, mentor and helper. I'm talking about the personal computer, which I attribute to Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (founders of Apple Inc.) and with it, the Internet, attributed to Tim Berners-Lee of CERN.
To begin with, I won't talk about the laptop that I own now. I'll talk about my first computer which my father bought me when I was 12. It was an assembled machine with a Pentium 4 processor, a sexy looking tower and a traditional white HP monitor. The five years that I used it and modified it gave me the love that I now have for computers. The moment I had it in my apartment in my study, I rushed off to borrow games from friends and in no time at all, I was racing through NFS Underground and emulating Max Payne through the various levels of the games until I finished them and started on more. Games turned into movies and music and those turned into porn. Slowly, they all amalgamated together and due regards to my excellent school, also came the knowledge of MS Office and HTML. I was hooked. I learned, I played, I watched. I lived. By the end of the five years, as I was to join a premier engineering institute, my choice of discipline had become Computer Science, preceded only by Aeronautical Engineering (which I'd wanted to study since I was small but couldn't because I didn't make it to an IIT). So it was Computer Science and Engg at an NIT. Not too bad!
My first year was terrible in the sense that I didn't have a computer with me in my hostel room. In the second year, however, my dad bought me my very own laptop which I still own. It is a Compaq Presario C785TU with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM. I won't go into the technicalities but I'll say that I wanted this particular model because the time I bought it was the Windows Vista era and that operating system was doing terribly. This model gave me the choice of starting from scratch. I put in a pirated Windows XP and dual booted it with a Fedora Linux distribution. It's been a year and a half since I have had this baby and the XP has now turned into Windows 7; the Fedora has turned into Arch Linux; the software has become more customized; the games replaced a little by C programming archives and more movies and music. If someone was to be given this laptop for a detailed perusal, that person would be able to unearth the depth of my very personality. It embodies me. The way things are organised, the way passwords are used and created, the kind of movies and music I have; my pictures with my girlfriend, my blog posts and other creations and so on. It's all on my laptop.
The Internet is another technological marvel which along with my computer (obviously) enhanced my life to myriad levels. I always use Google to gain knowledge about anything and have a permanent email account with Gmail (thanks to Larry Page and Sergey Brin for creating Google) ; I am socially active on Facebook (thanks to Mark Zuckerberg) and of course, my blog, Writering!, on which this post exists. It is and always will be an essential part of who I am. My writing defines me in so many ways. But what good would that be if none were to read it? Writering! has played a major role in helping me write better and discover myself, connect with fellow writers and best of all, led me to fall in love.
My life is written, not in ink, but even better, in electronic form on the servers of Blogger. I create, I recreate and I peruse through it all and I wonder that I owe so much to technology even without thinking so. There are people in this world, in other parts of India, in Australia that I'd never have known and made friends with if not for a computer and the Web. I would not have met the girl of my dreams if not for a computer and the Web.
Life Changing Device? Yes, these two things have changed so much about me that they are now fully integrated into who I am and would even decide who I might be, for a few to understand and for all to see.