Tag Archives: The Life Digital

Chapter 1: The Walkie Talkie Incident

walkie talkies

As you all know, I’m writing a book chronicling my journey as a certified digerati.

It’s been a minute since I’ve updated you, so I felt it appropriate to devote today’s post to my non-blog related rambling.

I shared my intro in my last exercise, and I’ve got the first chapter in the works.

I’ve been messing around with various opening chapters for The Life Digital, and have settled on this:

Chapter 1: The Walkie Talkie Incident.

Here goes.

My earliest recollection of being gadget obsessed was 1976, when I was in the first grade.  Sean Leary brought in a brand new walkie talkie for show-and-tell.

I had never seen such a beautiful piece of technology.  It was sleek, black and shiny.  There were buttons, dials and a long silver antenna, which expanded and collapsed into itself.  It was a thing to behold.

It crackled to life when he turned it on.  It’s shiny newness would have been enough for me, but then I heard it’s Siren song and it took me over the edge.  The clean crisp sound of disembodied voices (interference) floated from its speaker.  He turned a dial, adjusted the channel, and lowered the volume to an obedient hum.

Right then and there I had to have it.  The exact details are still a bit sketchy, but before the end of the day, the walkie talkie was mine.  I had liberated my precious from Sean’s sweaty palmed brutish tyranny.  The power of the crackling voice box was mine!

In the fleeting moments that passed, I imagined myself in all kinds of adventures with my prize.

“Mrs. Williams is pulling out of her driveway. Over.”

“Roger that. What’s your 20? Over.”

“Three clicks to the North. Over and out.”

Did I even know what a “click” was?

No matter. Me and my disembodied voice, inseparable forever.  It never occurred to the six-year-old me that you need two walkie talkies for the adventures I imagined in my future to occur.  Or that the device’s owner was not as daft as I.

I don’t know how or when, but by the end of the day, Sean Leary discovered his beautiful walkie talkie missing.

And alerted the authorities a/k/a our jailer – Sister Brian.  Oh wait, did I mention I went to a Catholic school?

Nigerians looooovvveee Jesus.

Anywho, Sister Brian enlisted us all to help Sean find his walkie talkie.  We were all asked to look under our desks.  Back in the day, your desk was a chair, tabletop, and cubby (underneath your seat) in one.  The undercarriage was used to store your texts and notebooks.

One by one, we got out of our seats and checked our respective cubbies for the walkie talkie.


Then, Sister Brian asked us to check our backpacks and jackets in the closets, in the event that one of us had inadvertently placed the walkie talkie with our belongings.

Again, one by one, we filed to the back of the class and furtively searched for the walkie talkie.


Ha! I was going to get away with this!

Fantasies of sending clandestine messages to unknown compadres flashed through my mind.

“Blue Falcon, what’s your twenty? Over.”

“Gold Leader, I’m twenty clicks to the south bearing down on your position. Over.”

“Roger that Blue Falcon. Over and out.”

Again with the “clicks.”

My daydreaming was interrupted by a voice.

“Stephen? Can you help me?”

“Yes, Sister Brian.”

Together Sister Brian and I walk out of the classroom.

Mind you, I was Sister Brian’s assistant and routinely helped her with the odd task now and again.  It never occurred to six-year-old Stephen that the jig was up and my malfeasance had been discovered.

When we arrived in the hall a few feet away from the classroom door, Sister Brian proceeded to pat me down NYC stop-n-frisk style.

I was shocked!

With the aplomb of a beat cop discovering contraband on a suspect, Sister Brian calmly retrieved my Sean’s walkie talkie from inside of my pants.

The bulge in my pants must have been painfully obvious.  To everyone but me, of course.

Damn Toughskins!

Thankfully, the shame of my crime was mitigated by Sister Brian’s tact.

We returned to the room, with Sister Brian crediting me for the walkie talkie’s discovery, and The Walkie Talkie Incident ended without incident.

Until I got home, of course.  Where Uneze tanned my hide.

It was then, nursing my bruised ass – and ego – that my lifelong digital journey began.

Inauspiciously, I’ll admit.

But a start’s a start.

I had the bug and things could only get better.



Filed under books, technology

Stephen Chukumba. How I became a Digital Kung Fu Master.

CAUTION_kung_fu_master_by_whopper1989Remember how I told you I was writing a book?

The Life Digital. Atari to iPad: Growing Up In the Digital Age.

I even gave you a brief intro.

Well, I had an epiphany the other day: I’m full of shit.

My book’s title is full of shit, actually.

It’s so boring.

It is.

I bore myself just thinking about it.

And I bore myself anew every time I read it.

The Life Digital.

Where do I get off?

Atari to iPad.

Just go for the most obvious crap why dontcha?

Growing Up In A Digital Age.

Just hitting puberty Stephen?

It’s descriptive, sure.

I mean, if you read that title, you can figure out what’s between the covers.

But would you really read it?

I wouldn’t.

Well maybe I would, but I’m biased.

The point is, every time I sat down to write, I looked at the title and it gave me writer’s ED.

I just couldn’t get it up.

No amount of mental Viagra could help me.

I simply couldn’t muster the desire to write.

I was flaccid and needed a boost.

And then it came to me.

Stephen, you’re not just some dude who lived in a digital age.

You’re a walking embodiment of it.

The Don Dada, in fact!

Maybe you don’t have Bill Gates money – yet.

But you know that shit is coming.

So you better re-title your as-yet-unwritten memoirs better than The Life Digital.

Rename the book?


I’ll rename the book!

I’ll make that shit sexy!

Give it a title I’d wanna read.

And write.

So this weekend, I did some soul searching.

Who am I?

Tall. Check.

Handsome. Check.

Intelligent. Check.

Well endowed. Check.

But that’s besides the point.

Who am I?


Ok. Now we’re getting somewhere.


That’s right, I eat cell phones for breakfast.


Damn skippy I’m tech!

And right then, I found my voice – and my new title.

Walk with me, now, and tell me you think I’ve struck gold:

Stephen Chukumba. How I became a Digital Kung Fu Master.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

I know, thanks.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about my life?

Especially when it’s chock full of the interesting tidbits that made me – me.

Oh! The places I’ve been.

The things I’ve seen!

The dude calls himself a kung fu master!

Yes. I’m referring to myself in the third person.

For all you would-be entrepreneurs, DKFM will be a rags-to-riches story from someone still in the ‘rags’ stage.


It’s the acronym for Digital Kung Fu Master.

The short title.

Please don’t let the absence of riches fool you.

I am a master of this digital shit.

I’ve just been wearing the garb and trappings of a plebe as cover.

Think Shaolin monk begging among the townspeople.

Oh, he looks shabby.

But he’ll bust that ass if shit gets too hot.

Ya dig?

That’s me.


I don’t wear my digital kung fu on my sleeve.

I let it seep out in my little blog posts here and there.

A few know I’m a digital black belt, but they don’t let on – do they bugs?

Anywho, that’s my new title, and I should be able to crank out some chapters.

Now that I got my mojo back!

Hiiiyyya! (said making a karate chop in the air)

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Filed under books, branding, social media

The Life Digital. Atari to iPad: Growing Up In the Digital Age (an introduction)

Atari to iPadYou know I’m writing a book right?

I posted about it a minute ago.

And true to my word, I’ve been working diligently to bring this bastard to life.

I started with a few chapters.

Got stuck.

Ditched ’em.

Started again.

And then it dawned on me – most books I’ve ever read, have some sort of introduction.

So I thought that I’d start mine with one.

Mind you, this is a work in progress.

So if it seems kinda short.

Or rambly.

Or totally incoherent.

Indulge me.

As I’ve never written a book before, invariably there will may be (poorly written) fits and starts before I hit my stride.

Forgive me.

Here goes nothing:

According to geek legend, 1969 was the year the Internet was introduced. Although I was just an itch in my dad’s nutsack in ’69, it was an auspicious year nonetheless.  My dad and mom just had their first kid, my sister Beatrice, a year earlier. But Uneze wasn’t having a wife that wasn’t popping out kids.  And like the researchers who introduced the internet to the world, my dad introduced his spermatozoa to an egg inside my mom, and I was conceived. Although the Internet wasn’t really mainstream until a few decades later, it’s introduction at the dawn of the 70s was a powerful sign for the decade to come.

I was born on April 21st 1970. According to Wikipedia, that was the 111th day of the year. 111 is a toilent number. A perfect number. So I was born on a perfectly numbered day, in the dawn of the the Internet. It wasn’t like I was born on the day the internet was created. That would have been something. But being born in the wake of it’s introduction clearly had a powerful impact on me – if only viscerally.

And I wasn’t alone. While computer and engineering geeks at universities across the globe were inspired by invention, they weren’t the only ones fussing about with wires and circuit boards. Pockets of garage warriors and hobbyest were tucked and tinkering away in clandestine labs all over the world, making the gadgets that I would come to fall in love with through the years.

I’ve touched and been touched by many of the technologies, analog and digital, trends and advances made over the past 40 years. And I’ve experienced many of them as a consumer, insider and observer. These gadgets and gizmos have directly and indirectly impacted me and conspired to form the person I’ve become today: techie, guru, advocate, evangelist, fan.

As a result, I’ve lived my life on the leading/bleeding edge, always on the look out for the next big thing. That next phone, app, technological advancement or signpost signaling yet another leap forward. From the Atari gaming console I begged our parents to buy, to my iPhone 5, technology has been an integral part of my life.

This book will examine the tech trends, hits and misses from the last four decades from the perspective of someone who has lived and continues to live in it, through it and with it. I’m going to examine the technological advances that have occurred, big and small, and show how these advances have changed us – made us who we are today.

I hope you’ll find some wisdom in these pages. If not, maybe you’ll enjoy the walk down memory lane.

So what do you think?


Filed under digital advocacy, technology