Stephen Fry: Technology
Stephen Fry: Technology
Stephen Fry (Author and Broadcaster) gives expert video advice on: Would you describe yourself as a geek?; Are you an early adopter of new technology?; What's your favourite piece of kit at the moment?
Would you describe yourself as a geek?
My friends call me a geek. And I think they call be a geek because I offer a service of rescuing corrupted files and helping them setup the computers, even, I have to confess, the computers of which I disapprove - the Windows-style ones; I help friends who have them because I'm endlessly curious about the nature of the operating systems and the way they work, and how the computers work, why they go wrong and helping people with that. I can't claim to be the most, cogently brilliant geek that was, but certainly, compared to my friends, I'm the Einstein of computing. Most of them are completely illiterate, really, about the very basics of how these things work. It's a bit like a car: these days, all you have to do is know how to move around in traffic. You don't have to know how the engine works.As a geek, I'm someone who's interested in how the engine works as well as driving it.
Are you an early adopter of new technology?
I think I was the second person ever to have a MAC in England; Douglas Adams being the first. And before that I had BBC computers, the Micros – The Acorn Micro and the Sinclairs and all those sort of things, I had a short time with the Apricot. A lot of these brands no longer exist, of course. So from the very earliest, I've been really interested in new technologies. In those days, you really had to program. As far as the Internet is concerned, I think, I was the first person I ever knew on the Internet, which is not to say I was the first person only before the World Wide Web existed. It was a strange, very nerdy world. The only person I could send e-mails to was someone like myself, interested in new technologies; so it would be some specky person in Washington and we'd talk about tweaking our subnet masks, and writing these little interSLIP scripts which would try to leap on to the Internet.
What's your favourite piece of kit at the moment?
My current obsession is mobile phones. I have probably 24 Smart phones, of one kind or another. I'm building the ideal one in my head. I had the enormous pleasure of playing with Johnny Ive's iPhone. He's a friend of mine, I'm proud to say, the designer of Apple's famous products: the i-Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, which as we speak is not yet on the market. It is shortly coming in the market in America. And, you know, there is always something missing from every Smart phone. So I spend my life moving SIM cards in and out, recharging them, syncing them up this way, that way, trying to do, all kinds of things with them. I find it fascinating, my current obsession. It's pathetic. I should get a life. What are you going to do?