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Tue August 24, 2004
A final Postcard from the Digital Age.
By Wally Bock
Wilmington NC – [Click the Listen button to hear Wally's commentary.]
In 1999, the folks at WHQR invited me to do a radio commentary about issues involving technology and society.
This is the final Postcard from the Digital Age on WHQR. It's time for a look back and a look forward.
We've talked about a lot of things in the last five years. There was technology, of course. My first Postcard was about choosing and using technology and the most recent one was about nastyware and what you can do about it.
Some Postcards were about news events and issues. On September 11, 2001, my Postcard about Jack Welch, who had just retired as CEO of General Electric aired just before the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the World Trade Center. I don't think anyone remembers what I said that day.
We also talked about issues like Enron and heroes and infomercials and integrity and the mauling of America. Most of all, these Postcards have been about people like you and me and the things we can do to make sense of this crazy Digital Age.
I got to tell you about people I admired like Marvin Bower and Al McGuire and David Brinkley and my own Father. You let me come into your home and car and kitchen and share what I felt about things that matter a lot to me, like this wonderful country and the freedom we so often take for granted.
Even though we've covered a lot of topics, I've been prone to say some of the same things over and over. They're what I'd like you to remember when you think about these commentaries.
One of my friends recently showed me a cartoon, drawn in that style of the old Sunday funny papers. It shows a woman wearing spike heals, a short skirt and low cut top, leaning back against a building and smoking a cigarette. The caption reads "She hadn't decided whether to use her powers for good or for evil."
Technology is a bit like that woman, but you're the one that gets to make the choice. You can use technology to make your life easier and better. Or you can let the technology you bought and paid for control you. It's your choice.
Remember, too, that the laws of nature, human nature and economics have not been repealed. They've stayed pretty much the same since two cave dwellers sat in front of fire (the hot technology of their day) and dickered over trading stone axes. Any prediction or business scheme that says otherwise is most likely wrong.
The most important part of your life is people. Use technology to improve your relationships with the people that matter to you and your life will be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
Those are the big points. And now it's almost time to go. You probably want to know why you won't be hearing these commentaries any more. The reason is simple.
I've been filling one of the spots on WHQR devoted to local commentators. That's one of the strengths of this station, something that sets it apart from other local stations and other public radio stations.
Well, my friend, the fact is that come September 1, I won't be "local" anymore. The next stage of my life will be lived out somewhere else and so I must give up this privilege and say good-bye.
But I can't go without thanks. I would thank almost everyone at the station, but let me single out a few for special mention. Thanks to George Schneibner who probably often despaired that I will ever get this radio thing right and who works behind the scenes to make sure that all the wires connect to the right things.
Thanks to George and to Scott Simpson for wonderful conversations about radio and the Digital Age and lots more besides. And thanks to Ania and Lin who have done hundreds of little things to make my life easier.
Finally, thanks to you, for letting me talk, for giving me an ear, for being an inspiration and for allowing me into your life for a few moments.
[You may contact Wally via email at email@example.com. There's more contact information on Wally's Web site http://www.bockinfo.com/ And, you can continue to receive Wally's Postcards from the Digital Age via email. Sign up at http://www.bockinfo.com/postcards.htm]
Wally Bock is a nationally known author, speaker and consultant who now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.