Low times at high tech

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Microsoft is dumping 7,800 workers from its payroll, a significant number of layoffs but not as drastic as the 18,000 jobs slashed last year.

That comes to over 25,000 getting pink slips at the company that used to define high tech in America.

Major players in the high tech field come and go.  Yahoo was the big boy for a while.  The company once bragged that it was capitalized more than General Motors.  Now, it doesn’t even rank in the top 10.

Microsoft still has more than 100,000 on its payroll but the company is not the major player it once was in a technology marketplace where times change quickly and the top players are shuffled.

In tech circles, Google and Apple are the major players now.  Both owe much of their market dominance to smartphones:  iPhone and Android.  Smartphones also contributed to the free fall at Microsoft, where the Windows phone is an afterthought and much of the recent job losses and write-downs at there come from the purchase of Nokia and problems.

Apple is also a big boy in what I do. As a photographer and videographer, I depend heavily on Apple Macs.  A Mac Pro runs my photo and editing setup. There’s a MacBook Pro in my shoulder bag.

I edit photos in Photoshop and create video clips in either Apple’s Final Cut Pro X or Adobe’s Premiere Pro.  I design publications in Adobe InDesign.  Many of the web sites I have created over the years came out a program called Dreamweaver.

During my time in Washington, a Blackberry controlled my messaging with instant email.  You don’t see many Blackberries now.  BH Media, which owns The Floyd Press, The Roanoke Times, The Richmond Times-Dispatch and many other papers around here and in the country, uses iPhones.

My iPhone makes phone calls, takes photos, shoots video and does more.  Some of my photos in newspapers now come from an iPhone.  So does some of my video work.

No Apple watch yet.  Probably won’t be one.  I’m old fashioned when it comes to timekeeping.  A mainspring-driven chronograph sits on my wrist.  It depends on motion of my hands and body to keep running and it does the job nicely.

Yes, a $19.95 Timex quartz plastic watch keeps time more accurately than a Swiss timepiece that costs a lot more, but my dad wore a Breitling during his Naval service during World War II.  I wear one today and I reset it each morning to the exact time from the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

Just call it tradition.  Not much of that in the high tech world nowadays.  Too much change.  Too much shifting.  The “next big thing” is always hovering just over the horizon.

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