In the past few weeks, at least two of my high tech devices informed me that new firmware was available. Firmware is the built-in software that makes the device do what it does. Back when I was growing up you bought a piece of electronics and it did what it did. If you wanted more features you bought a new and improved piece of electronic device. Your TV did not gain the ability to show new channels by adding new instructions to it - it didn't have instructions to begin with in the first place. It did what it did because of the way it was built. Your telephone called people, received calls, and rang like, well, a telephone. Nothing was going to change those things.
But now, electronics do what they do because a built in software program tells it what to do. At one time, even that couldn't be changed. You bought a cell phone and it made and answered calls. Maybe you were able to change what the ringer sounded like, but if it couldn't do that when you bought it, it never would be able to play Für Elise. (Did you catch that Cindy?)
Just a while ago, I placed a disc in my Blu-Ray player, and before it showed me my movie, on the screen I saw a message that told me that new firmware was available - did I want to install it now? On Blu-Ray players this is common as discs themselves become more sophisticated the player needs to know how to play them. To do that, the manufacturers rewrite the firmware and the user can obtain it (in a number of ways) and install it on their unit.
Then the other day I was syncing my iPhone when I got the message that iOS 4.3 was available. Once again I installed the new software adding new functionality to my phone.
But what if you could do the same with people? Think of how that would change how a psychiatrist or psychologist operates. Do you have OCD or clinical depression or are you bi-polar? Your therapist would simply upload a new firmware or operating system and you go on your way - your problems behind you. Alzheimer's Disease would be a perfect case for upgraded firmware.
But what about new firmware for every day improvements. Is your son or daughter not doing well in school? Upgrade their firmware. You have teens? New firmware would have to be mandatory there. Things not happening in the bedroom? Get firmware version 6.9!
What would you like new firmware for?