Ever since I first started using a computer I’ve always used it to stand out by customizing it. When I was almost 16 years old, back in 1992, I joined a 2 month basic computer course in DataPro. It was during the summer after my 10th grade, so school had ended and I would be, in 3 months, going to attend Pre-degree (the accepted 11th & 12th in those days) in a college. But I was restless and needed something to keep me occupied and make new friends as well. So this 2 month course at DataPro seemed like a good option and I had fun there. I got fascinated by computers as well and during my lab hours I would try to make colourful images on MsPaint. Remember that this was back in the Windows 3.x years. I even remember on seeing my designs, a manager of the institute asked me to try designing for sarees!
Everytime I got to use computer for a duration of time I’d end up customizing mine, even if it was in a computer lab and I’d no way of ensuring that I would get to sit at the same system the next day, like in NIIT. In December of 1996 I bought my first pc and was so happy to get some wonderful wallpapers. I’d even start making my own wallpapers, using many images from the internet and doing stuff on MsPaint. I also started making my own desktop themes, with the help of some online tool that I’d downloaded in an internet cafe back in 1999-2003. For many years, I’d spend an hour atleast searching for wallpapers that would show off my interests – my fav football & ice hockey teams, my fav movies & tv series, rock bands & singers, science fiction, actors, actresses, some abstract artwork, nature, cities & places, islands, space – galaxies, planets & stars and some poor women in scantily clad clothing – you know to bring about more awareness to their cause, ahem!
Desktop top themes were great – especially if you can get icons, sound clips for all the alerts that you normally have on widows customized to your fav tv series, rock band or sports theme. What could be better than waking up in the morning, switching on your PC and the welcoming message is the rock anthem that is played everytime your home sports teams scores a goal? Puts you in mood to attack the day. Or the same thing for your fav rock bands as well. For those scifi inspired when you hear that ominous & yet so cool whistling tune that served as the theme for the X-Files as your computer starts – awesome feeling right?
Years later and I bought a laptop mid-2010 and guess what was the first thing I did? Changed the default windows theme to one more of my choice – which was a Star Trek themed one! Cause Star Trek is very close to my heart – it shares the vision of what I’d want the world to be more like and hope for. Subsequent wallpapers were of either a nature, scifi or music theme. And that’s basically what the wallpapers are all about – creating your own identity on your PC/laptop. Showing off a little bit of you. If I could find really cool stickers or laptop sleeves I’d get them too.
The same can be said about mobile phones. I have a Blackberry Curve 8320 and I have mp3s – full songs for my listening pleasure, ringtones, wallpapers and themes. When people call me on my cell today, I hear Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd and they hear Wings Of A Butterfly by HIM. That is me – the music I like. Ofcourse you can keep the latest Tamil movie hit blasting from yours – and I may choose to never call you. Or if you have a boyband or Hindi music number playing as your ringback tone, I may choose to hurl insults & profanities at you as soon as you pick up! But hey, atleast you can customize your phone connection! You could also get customized phone covers & pouches. Some of them are very cool too!
I recently bought a Reliance Netconnect+ USB device for internet on the move and also because I’m now renting a little place in a town closer to my place of work to lower the commute time. Since wirelan cable connections weren’t possible in that location, I choose a Netconnect+ and the USB device makes life a lot easier. I can now access the internet where ever I want (as long as there is coverage) and carry my laptop to cafes, family functions etc. Getting bored during that visit to your relative’s house? Pop open the laptop and stick that USB thingy right in there and check your Facebook updates!
You want to stand out of the crowd, be unlike them robots and have your own thing going, I’d like to keep changing the covers, wallpapers, themes & music. Cause that’s what life is about. You don’t want to be stuck in the same old boring stuff. You want to listen to lots of music, see different images and keep things interesting yet representative of who you are. As a kid you’d stick stickers on your school bag or books or your writing board. It starts from there. Change is good.