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Blogger, Coder, Futurist: Michael McAnally Describes This Life

Proud to have a Guest Post today by San Francisco’s own Michael McAnally,  Founder, Futurist, Entrepreneur and Science Fiction Blogger who goes by the pen name Michael Blade. Mike lives in San Francisco as CEO-Dev of Touch Voice. He has apps in all major app stores which help thousands of speech impaired individuals and are used in hospitals and care facilities around the globe. Welcome Michael and thank you!
Michael McAnally

181,400 Mayfly years ago

Yes, I’m a dreamer and very proud of it!

I was born before the Smart Phone, before the Internet, before the Microwave Oven, before the Touch Tone Phone, before the Answering Machine, even Voice Mail. Before the VCR, CD player, Blu-ray, Netflix, before we landed on the moon July 20, 1969 (and we actually did, I saw it on TV [live black and white video feed] as a kid that day at my grandparents house). I hope to live long enough to see a stable human colony established on Mars!

I just realized by millennial standards I might actually be considered old. Yet, I’m okay with that, the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years old, give or take half a billion, so relatively I’m not even a few cells old.

Am I slowing down? I do know I’m somehow creatively smarter than your average joe (apologies to those named Joe). Why? Simply because I try harder, I don’t accept the status quo by default, I question everything I can until I run out of energy, and sometimes not even then. But over the years have I become much less arrogant? Humbler in disposition? I sure hope so for everyone’s sake! I do have a good sense of humor, and I can even laugh at myself occasionally.

Honestly, I could never have imagined writing something so personal, putting it out there about myself, posting it up for all to read. I really must say, I really have come a long way baby from that introverted, and frightened young teenager afraid he was so different others would notice and criticize him, or maybe even beat him up.

I’m approximately now 483,840 years old in Mayfly life times. The Mayfly lives 24 hours. That’s 483,840/12/30/24 hours (so if my age is so important, you do the math, please don’t forget to take into account the date this article was written).

My story is unique as all stories are. I started out as one of the “original computer coding nerds” when it wasn’t so cool (even worked for DMV at one point, and wrote video games, had a Radio Shack Model I, Vic 20, Commodore 64, then Amiga, built my own PC compatibles, now own a Macbook and code an Arduino). Suffice it to say I know a lot about computers, I’m even a computer science dropout, something many of us did back in the late 80’s (as “in good company” reference see: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates). Some lines of my code, probably over thirty years old, still executes on computer systems! I’m sure much more of it has been trashed or updated as well . . .

I have remade myself many times into a blogger and now entrepreneur. Along the way I have worn many hats; I’ve called myself a hacker (ethical hacking only), business analyst, solutions architect, network engineer, webmaster, designer of custom virtual worlds. I can honestly say over my 34 year career I have forgotten more technical computer knowledge than most average level programmers currently know today. I literally have coded in archaic programming languages now almost forgotten. (IBM 360/370 Assembler Language, COBOL, Fortran, Pascal, C, Basic, Pilot, RGB II, Z80, 6502, JCL).

Does this mean I don’t learn new languages? Exactly the opposite. (SQL, Perl, Visual Basic, Java [Servlets, JSP, EJB], ASP, PHP, Javascript, Android, Swift, now learning WebVR). The reason I have to forget things is so I can make room for new skills. My neural net, my connectome is complex and diversely connected.

I have even written short science fiction stories and now have my own indie comic online for free. I love using Photoshop regularly and editing and uploading interesting YouTube videos. I have real world experienced in UI/UX design.

Recently I have written Mobile Apps which help the speech impaired to speak, like the software that Stephen Hawking uses, but different still. This is the one thing I am most proud of because it helps so many people who really need, and use it daily. It hasn’t made as much money as I would like, but that’s okay . . . it’s still a win-win and really helps those who have lost the ability to speak.

So, what’s the point of my story?? I don’t know, I still don’t know? Each time I think I have it figured out, something new comes along, an idea, a technology, a different approach or solution, a new problem to try to solve. I guess that is what it really is about for me, change, revolution, reworking the old into the new. Saving the good things, tossing the bad and useless. I have met the most amazing people, some I have even helped to make a little famous. Am I famous, no. I’m comfortable with that as well.

So, if it is not about age, or experience, or becoming famous, then what is it all about? Money, really?! How shallow . . . What is that magic spark, that brilliance, that for me makes life so much worth living? That makes me want to get out of bed every morning, rather than pull the covers over and go back to sleep?

For me, I think it has to be wonder. Amazement, excitement at the potential for new technologies. I guess that is why I love science fiction so much, that future just can’t get here fast enough for me. Even though I know I never will, I want to walk on the surface of another planet circling another star, look up and know how far I have actually come. That’s why I became a serial entrepreneur, I wanted to bring that future just a little closer, just a little sooner. Yes, I’m a dreamer and very proud of it! If you have read this far, you should be too.

I guess in writing this, in explaining myself to others, I have discovered myself once again. That is the way to introspection and the ability to shrug off harmful criticism, but also the way to accept and learn from it, iterative self-improvement. In writing this and your reading it I hope I have helped you as well.

My story is not over, it is really just beginning. Filled with a new determination, soon a new purpose will follow

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