10 Weird things to be inspired from
Monday, September 14, 2009 8:49:05 PM
We all have these moments. We see something small and meaningless, that most people don’t even notice. But to us it makes such a profound impact that we are left to wonder if this masterpiece was the product of a great mind or just an accident.
So, here is a list of 10 weird things that inspire me.
10 - Programming
I'm guessing that most of you consider programming one of the most mundane things one can do for a living. Well, look at the picture. Do you know what it does? It balances your checkbook, it allows you to view your family photos and it connects you to your friends. It makes your life better and easier.
But that's only one perspective. The most fascinating thing is what it does under the hood. Each and every line of code triggers a chain reaction of immense proportions. Inside your computer all sorts of things start to move. Electrons flow from your hard drive to the RAM and then to the processor. Stuff happens and suddenly this is no longer a line of code. It is an image to your screen. Being able to do so much with so little effort is something between art and magic.
9 - Ordinary stuff
All things have a history behind them. To illustrate my point here is a coffee bean. It was cultivated and hand picked in Colombia, sent to Italy for processing and packaging and finally delivered in my local coffeehouse, where I can go and enjoy a hot cup for coffee. Through the history it has been used by Aztec warriors before battle and by Muslim monks during religious ceremonies. It gave refreshment to the Italian aristocracy and it accounted for 63% of Brazil's export in the late 19th century.
For comparison's sake, I am 20 years old. I spent most of my time studying, attending school and helping at my father's business. My free time is spent hanging with friends and using a computer. Who do you thing is more interesting, me or the coffee bean?
8 - Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is the center of the computer industry. Period. The vast majority of hardware and software companies we know and whose products we use daily have their headquarters in Silicon Valley.
But what fascinates me is the hundreds of small start-ups that flock there, armed with an idea, innovation and determination trying to make a breakthrough. It's the modern Klondike for us geeks. a place that symbolizes that you too can make a difference, if you are willing to work hard and you never give up.
7 - The last Futurama movie intro
Futurama was an animated show airing from 1999 to 2003. Although it was of superb quality and it had gathered a lot of followers, a series of mistreatments by FOX led to its eventual cancellation. In 2007, it was announced that four Futurama movies will be made. So the fourth movie was to be the last footage of Futurama.
The creators of the show decided to honor it by teaming with Seth MacFarlane to produce what can be best described as the best theme song ever. The hopeful lyrics was a consolation to the fact that this is the last time you are watching a new episode. For the fans, and me among them, it was like the last cup of tea with a longtime friend who is going away. But great thing just don't go away like this. 5 months later it was announced that the show would be coming back, as the lyrics had predicted.
6 - Gary Newman and Dana Walden
You probably don't even know these guys. Neither did I until very recently. These are the 2 FOX network executives that brought back on air Family Guy after its 3 year lasting cancellation. Various people in the industry declared this as a once in a lifetime event not ever to be repeated. Sounds familiar? Yep. These are the guys that also revived Futurama. So, basically, it's a story about changing the world, even in a small way, by persistently refusing to die.
5 - Jack Sparrow's stare
For those of you that haven't seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Here be Spoilers!!! (Arrr)
To recap the story, Jack Sparrow is the captain of the Black Pearl, the most feared pirate ship in the Caribbean. His first mate, Barbossa, gets pissed off and mutinies, taking control of the ship and leaving Jack on a small island. He gives him a gun with a single bullet so he can kill himself when hunger becomes unbearable. Jack, being a creative fellow, escapes the island, finds Barbossa and after a fight uses that single bullet to kill him.
Well, by now you might be wondering what's inspirational about this. Throughout the movie Jack Sparrow behaves like a drunk clown. It seems like everything he is doing is a mixture of luck and divine intervention. But at the moment he pulls the trigger, he transforms. His stare is the stare of a man with determination. He knows what he is doing. He is completing his 10 year goal and he couldn't be more serious about it. It reminds me what it means to have a dream and fulfilling it.
4 - Opera
We all love opera don't we? It's the browser that perfectly blends design, usability and speed (am I in yet?). But there is also another quality, much less cited, that I find important.
Name quickly the three largest software companies in the world. Apple, Google and Microsoft right? Well, Opera competes with all three of them plus the most successful open source project of all time and is doing great. It's the classic David vs Goliath story and I am definitely rooting for David on this one.
3 - BeOS / Haiku
BeOS was an operating system released in 1995. Similarly to Opera, it boldly competed against Microsoft and Apple. In its 6 year run BeOS probably gathered more praise than all the other OSs combined. Sadly, financial difficulties and shady deals from Microsoft led to its eventual demise. But, as I said before, things as good as BeOS simply can't die. In 2001 fans of the operating system began an open source project, soon to be named Haiku, trying to perfectly recreate BeOS. People said that they're crazy. Well, coincidently, today is the day that Haiku has its first alpha release. I encourage everyone with an interest in technology to download and test it. Haiku, may you live long and prosper.
2 - Luxo Jr
Watch this video and try to guess when it was made (no wiki-cheating). What do you think? 1994? maybe 1995? Well it's 1986.
This was a promotional video for a small company called Pixar. Fast forward 25 years and you have arguably the best animation studio in the world. This short film is known for more than a few things. First of all, the technical quality is astounding. In fact Pixar still uses the same tools to create their multimillion dollar movies (obviously improved through 25 years of evolution). Luxo Jr was also one of the first computer generated animations to put emphasis in the story, proving to the world of animation that 3D wasn't just a way to add cheesy flames on the background, but a serious tool for animation, effectively creating the 3D animation industry as we know it today.
1 - Think Different Parody
DISCLAIMER: This last one is so controversial that it demands a disclaimer as big as the description. The following video contains footage of people such as Charles Manson, O. J. Simpson and Adolf Hitler. I neither condone nor agree with their actions.
This video is a parody of the well known Apple Think Different commercial(original). The whole video could be considered as a study of the duality of men. It shows how close greatness is with delirious visions of grandeur. Genius with madness. It is also a critique to our society, which praises its “heroes” for a set of values while condemning its “villains” for the same values. Maybe I am not making a great job explaining my feelings about this video, but that is because true inspiration blows your mind away. How I feel when I watch this video cannot be said in words.
Did the maker of this video had these things in mind when creating this video? Probably not. For all I know it could be a bored guy messing around with his PC. Well, that is the whole point of this list. Finding inspiration in things that were not meant to be inspiring.