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Revolutions usually leave ancient institutions tottering, societies shaken, the streets awash with blood. But what Walter Isaacson calls the “digital revolution” has kept its promise to liberate mankind. Enrichment for the few has been balanced by empowerment for the rest of us, and we can all – as the enraptured Isaacson says – enjoy a “sublime user experience” when we turn on our computers. Wikipedia gives us access to a global mind; on social media we can chat with friends we may never meet and who might not actually exist; blogs “democratise public discourse” by giving a voice to those who were once condemned to mute anonymity. Has heaven really come down to our wired-up, interconnected Earth?

What Isaacson sees as an eruption of communal creativity began with two boldly irreligious experiments: an attempt to manufacture life scientifically, followed by a scheme for a machine that could think. After Mary Shelley’s Frankensteinstitched together his monster, Byron’s bluestocking daughter Ada Lovelacedevised an “analytical engine” that could numerically replicate the “changes of mutual relationship” that occurred in God’s creation. Unlike Shelley’s mad scientist, Lovelace stopped short of challenging the official creator: her apparatus had “no pretension to originate anything”.

A century later, political necessity quashed this pious dread. The computing pioneers of the 1930s, as Isaacson points out, served military objectives. At MIT,Vannevar Bush’s differential analyser churned out artillery firing tables, and at Bletchley Park, after the war began, an all-electronic computer called the Colossus deciphered German codes. Later, the US air force and navy gobbled up all available microchips, which were used for guiding warheads aimed at targets in Russia or Cuba; only when the price of the chips dropped could they be used to power consumer products, not just weapons.

 

Isaacson’s narrative engrossingly tracks this transition from missiles to playthings, or from tools to toys; at the same time he’s aware that the quest was metaphysical, as it had been for Ada Lovelace. Punch cards were fed into clunky early computers like “an offering to the priests who shielded an oracle”, and when Steve Wozniak built a circuit that could outwit the phone company, he celebrated by placing a free long-distance call to the Pope. Isaacson compares the development of the internet – a collaboration between governments, academic researchers and underground hackers – to the building of a cathedral: there can’t be a single architect, because the structure is pieced together by so many teams of specialised workers. But rather than glorifying God, this immaterial edifice celebrates the collectivised memory of human beings, stored in the secular Bible of Wikipedia.

Elsewhere Isaacson uses more inimitably American analogies such as community barn-raising, or the quilting bees that brought together womenfolk on the prairies, and spreads the credit around the country, not allowing primacy to Silicon Valley. Much of the intellectual action happens at the Bell Labs in drab New Jersey, where the transistor was invented; Isaacson also commemorates a long line of midwestern tinkerers, bricoleurs who spliced valves and wires together in their basements during the long, dark days of winter. The internet becomes, in this reading, the last and most generous of America’s bequests to us all. Despite military urgency and profit-mongering, Isaacson believes that the altruism of scientists – who freely shared information and who even, before Bill Gates’s proprietary takeover, made computer software available without charge – put into action a civic creed propounded by Benjamin Franklin when he claimed that “to pour forth benefits for the common good is divine”.

Heartened by the pursuit of electronic happiness, Isaacson is too high-minded to notice the proliferation of online porn, and he ignores the “dark internet”, where terrorists exchange encrypted missives. He has faith in Wikipedia, which is vulnerable to meddling by troublemakers and liars, because he shares the “cheery optimism” of Ward Cunningham, who thought that users would respect the interactive software he designed because “people are generally good”.

Isaacson’s book is about abstruse intellectual insights, but those eureka moments happen to an almost novelistic cast of gawky nerds, unsocialised wonks and blissed-out hippies, with at least one spoon-bender and a campaigner against commercialised software who looks and sounds like a fulminating Old Testament prophet. The buddying-up of man and machine produces some wry comedy, as one infatuated engineer beds down in a laboratory with his fridge-sized computer, like a cowboy curled up in the hay with his horse. Another wild-eyed geek expostulates, Isaacson comments, with such hectic verbal speed that he seems to have hit his own fast-forward button. These geniuses appear to subsist on a diet of pizza, and in the case of the young Bill Gates, a whirring brain stayed in motion thanks to a daily intake of 16 caffeine-fuelled Cokes.

 

 

 

 The ‘painfully shy’ Larry Page, co-founder of internet search engine Google. Photograph: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

Sorting through this company of monomaniacs, Isaacson finds a recurring pattern, a binary pairing of opposites. Some of his characters are visionaries, others are technocrats; successful innovation mostly occurs when they team up. Apple happened because the “demon-driven mesmeriser” Steve Jobs made common cause with Wozniak, “an angelic naïf who looked like a panda”, and Google was begotten by the equally ill-adjusted partnership of slick Sergey Brinand painfully shy Larry Page. Hollywood casting directors must even now be speculating about appropriate odd couples for a film of Isaacson’s book.

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Such alliances often prove shaky; Isaacson shows a rift opening between libertarian hackers who shared information without fees and plutocrats who copyrighted their discoveries and sat back to enjoy the spoils. Despite his tribute to human benevolence, he treats the evolving industry as an exercise in social Darwinism, which is why he pardons both the vituperative arrogance of Jobs and the monopolistic agenda of Gates.

Looking away from America, Isaacson smiles at the unworldliness of British contributors to the revolution. Alan Turing, for instance, told his mum that he worried about the morality of selling his decrypting technique to the government, and later the gentle, humble Donald Davies allowed a go-getting American to take credit for their research on data networking, only denouncing his colleague’s grandstanding when on his deathbed. Tim Berners-Lee amazes Isaacson by being “averse to personal aggrandisement”, and when travelling on business “accepts a much wider range of hotel-room facilities than a CEO would”.

By way of restitution, Isaacson singles out the achievements of unheralded women, recruited in the early days to punch cards – a task thought to be merely secretarial. The patron saint of his story is Ada Lovelace, who was incongruously honoured by the US defence department when it named its high-level object-oriented digital language after her; one of the book’s heroines is the feisty, salty-tongued Grace Hopper, who long before Bill Gates recognised that “hardware would become commoditised and that programming would be where the true value resided”.

Isaacson has such total trust in our newly webbed and convivially networked world that he invited corrections to some of his chapters by posting drafts on sites such as Medium, where “one excerpt was read by 18,200 people in its first week online”. A modest request for help, or perhaps the shrewd start of a pre-publicity campaign? I’m less inclined than Isaacson to trust “the wisdom of crowds”, but there’s no arguing with the result: this is the defining story of our era, and it’s here told lucidly, thrillingly and – because the bright ideas generally occur to human beings with the quirks, flaws and foibles that accompany overdeveloped intellect – above all, amusingly.

 

www.theguardian.com 

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14 Things People Who Feel Comfortable With Themselves Do Differently

COMMUNICATION MOTIVATIONBY MARWAN JAMAL

It`s the ultimate dream to feel truly comfortable with oneself; to do, say and believe exactly what you like without bitterness and without worrying about what others may say.

To feel fully comfortable with yourself is a long road that requires not only tens of hours of working on yourself but also knowing exactly what you should do.

In this article you will learn about what self confident people do differently, and how they feel comfortable with themselves.

Read till the end, know what you need to do, share it when you like it (and I`m sure you will) and don`t forget the most important thing – do it.

1. They are only nice to the nice

“The persons whom you cannot care for in a novel, because they are so bad, are the very same that you so dearly love in your life, because they are so good.’

– Anthony Trollope

I can tell you be kind, be good to others and always see what is good in people, but that`s NOT how life goes on everytime you do so.

Many people lie, some people cheat, others steal, kill, stab in the back, make fun of you or make your life misery,

On the other hand, there will be those who love you, those who really want to help you and those who will always support you and believe in you.

To feel truly comfortable with yourself you must know who deserves your support, love, kindness and respect and who deserves your neglect, hate or punishment.

Behind everyone a story or need, read people well, know what they want and what moves them, don`t let anybody put you down or make you feel bad about yourself, and for those who bring the best out of you; show them your love, your kindness, trust and unconditional support.

Always be nice, but keep an eye on people. That`s how confident people do.They have a brain, and they do the thinking.

2. They are not attention seekers

Craving for attention is a sign of insecurity, it simply means someone either didn`t get the proper attention in his/her childhood or got a plenty of it during that time to the extent that always being the center of attention has become an addiction to him or her.

Those who are comfortable with their themselves do seek attention – like any other human being – but they are not dying for it.

They don`t talk too much to impress every single person around, they don`t fake a lie to grab attention, they don`t act a -know it all – and they don`t always buy the newest or the most expensive gadget just to get people to talk about them.

3. They are bold

“Freedom lies in being bold.”

– Robert Frost

This is who a I am, this is what I believe in and as long as I`m convinced with what I do, I don`t have to change it for the sake of you.

This is how confident people feel.

4. They are not afraid to lead

You have to admit it, leadership is scary.

Nobody wants to be the center of everybody`s attention, nobody wants to be judged and since most people think low of themselves and their capabilities then everybody will tend to avoid leadership so that they don`t get exposed.

Only those who are confident in their own skin, believe in their skills and believe in their plan who will have the courage and ambition to lead when nobody else will.

“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities; because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

– Winston Churchill

5. They believe they are wanted

Everything starts with a belief even if it was a fake one.

There are clues for almost every belief that you want to put into your mind this includes the belief of being liked/wanted or believing you are an outcast…. In both cases; what you believe will turn to be true, and this is what confident people believe in.

Having interest in your own self, not over judging, not beating yourself up for a mistaken behavior and gathering clues for being wanted is what you need to build up a high level of self confidence.

It`s the corner stone you need to have before looking for people to get interested in you. Just start changing the way you look at yourself. The more worthy you see yourself, the more worthy others will see you.

6. They ask.

“If you don`t ask, the answer is always NO.”

– Nora Roberts

Those who believe in themselves do whatever they can do to get what they want and where they want and a BIG part of this process is having the courage to ask for what they believe they deserve.

Confident people are less sensitive towards rejection because they know it`s inevitable and that it`s better for them to accept and deal with rejection rather than sitting there and do nothing but wishing.

“You cannot avoid rejection, but you can always try to have a better chance.”

That`s what they believe in.

7. They don`t beg.

“You will never gain anyone’s approval by begging for it. When you stand confident in your own worth, respect follows.”

– Mandy Hale

When there`s a will there`s a way, so why beg?

Confident people don`t beg, neither for love nor money…. Nothing.

There`s always another solution, and there`s always someone else to love.

Money will make you happy, love will make you happy and so respect and self satisfaction.

As long as you believe in your own skills, and that there`s always a way around then never tear your dignity apart. You may be happy at the moment, but the bitterness will always last.

8. They lie less

“Some lie to deceive, some lie to achieve while others lie so people don`t think less of them.”

I`m not going to talk about the first two types; I`m leaving it to your own morality, But if you want to feel comfortable with yourself then DON`T fear telling the truth about yourself, your identity and your mistakes.

The more you lie so people can like you, the less you will like yourself…. Confident people don`t do that.

9. They are not afraid of competition

The more your skills develop, the more confident you become and the more advanced you like your game to be and that`s how those who are comfortable with themselves deal with competition.

The more thrilling the competition, the better the victory will taste.

Don`t let fear get into your own heart, you are just competing with humans.

10. They keep their promises

“You lose a lot when you don`t keep a promise.”

– Author Unknown

In life you may lose a thing, you may lose someone but your greatest loss is when you lose your own self trust and not keeping up with your promises is the shortest way to do that.

When you don`t keep up with your promises you simply let weakness take advantage of you and it will take you double the energy and more promises to keep before you start believing in yourself again.

For those who are confident in their own skin a promise is not a word they give, a promise is a commitment that affects their self esteem and how they respect themselves.

For the confident; it`s either you have the courage to say NO, or have enough self respect to keep your words.

Once they say “I will”, it`s done.

11. They are not afraid to smile

The easiest people to read are those who put that angry “Don`t touch me” face on their heads.

Those who are comfortable with themselves are not afraid of what people may say about them.

They believe in their own skills and they are overconfident with the idea that they are liked which helps them act calmly and induce a comfortable atmosphere around themselves, thus getting more fans and admirers.

Always know this;

Your smile is your charm. Your confident, amazing smile will bring you more friends, more fans and more money.

People who fear to smile or act comfortably around others do so because they fear that other people won`t take them seriously or think they are too kind or too stupid.

If you are sure about your skills, if you know when, where and to whom you should give your charm and if you trained yourself to put a confident, sexy smile on your face and be willing to show it more often then I guarantee your life and your level of confidence will be sky high.

Your smile is precious, just try it out.

12. They have tolerance to different opinions

Only the insecure who are not sure of his thoughts and beliefs will always fail to have a proper conversation with anyone who shares different beliefs.

And only those who are comfortable with themselves respect themselves and respect their minds to the level that makes them change their beliefs if they are strongly convinced.

Truely confident people may hate what you do or don`t like what you say but they will always believe that their rights to say and do what they like stems from your right to say and do what you like, as long as you don`t offend or hurt somebody for sure.

13. They are assertive 

They know their own rights and they guard them at all costs.

They have the right to be treated fairly and with respect, they have the right to do, speak, dress what they want and they know how to set the proper boundaries that define those rights in the eyes of other people.

Remember:

“What you allow is what will continue.”

– Anonymous

14. They can look you in the eye

People simply don’t make eye contact anymore.
– Eric Kripke

Once you feel comfortable with yourself you will confidentially communicate with any person you want.

A big sign of someone who is comfortable with his or her own self is the ability to maintain a good eye contact.

The more confident someone in himself (or the less he has to hide) the less likely he will avoid eye contact.

Most of the time, he or she will not see him/herself as a recipient who is waiting for other people to judge, instead he sees himself as the one others want to attract or the one who is trying to figure out who are those he is talking to.

Now it’s your turn

You have read, you have recognized and now is the time to start working things out,

You probably didn`t pick this article unless you really want to feel more comfortable with yourself and around people and you will probably bookmark so that you can read again later, but later mostly never comes.

So, here`s a deal:

I want you (after you share this article) to pick up a single trait from the 14 traits listed above (just one) and to work on it for the next 30 days.

I want you to think of it, to live it, dream it and take action towards it, I want you to imagine your life with a new skill that you deeply need and to start working on it until you see results.

And once you get there, you`re gonna be …. you know that song of Drake, yes UNSTOPPABLE.

Go for it and give it a try, it`s only one life to live, and you don`t want to live it with misery and sadness.

Enjoy your day

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