Douglas Adams, author of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, was famous for his love of technology. In his personal life and works alike ran a deep appreciation for science and its effect on society. In the posthumous collection The Salmon of Doubt, Adams famously summed up his view of how humankind deals with the introduction of new tech:
"I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."
Adams' interest in technology lasted beyond the age of 35, until his death in 2001 of a heart attack at the age of 49. Given his love of technology, it's fitting that Adams' last post on his message board revolved around his excitement over installing a groundbreaking piece of software: Mac OS X.
On April 25, 2001, a formerly Mac-hating user asked Adams about his thoughts on the newly released operating system. The user had seen a demo that inspired him to buy his first Mac, but wanted the opinion of a long-time Mac fan like Adams.
In keeping his enthusiasm for technology, Adams provided a giddy response:
I was going to wait till the summer to install it, but I succumbed and installed it last week. It takes a little getting used to, old habits are hard to reform, and it's not quite finished (what software ever is), and much of the software that's out to run on it is Beta.
I think it's brilliant. I've fallen completely in love with it. And the promise of what's to come once people start developing in Cocoa is awesome...
What strikes me most about his response is that even while installing a software that was, by his own admission, still a long way from being finished, Adams could only think about the future. He didn't talk about the bugs or problems, all he saw was the promise of what was to come. Even when chatting with fans on his message board, Adams promoted the same love of technology and thirst for the future that drove so many of his books.
It's fitting that his final word to fans was a positive view of a still-developing technology.