Who is Boswell I hear you ask? I think two words come to mind Enigma and Anathema. He is part musician, part filmmaker, technologist, and artist. In someways you might even call him a creative nerd. He somehow dropped out of Music in college and came away with a BSEE.  He is also a Producer and movie director. Other than that, well Charlie is just a regular guy!

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I’ve known Charlie Boswell for several years, he is just one of those people that once you talk to leaves an indelible impression. Over the past few weeks I have spent a good deal of time talking with the man that is the human equivalent of the Energizer Bunny. They have been wide ranging conversations, way too much to condense into a single article under the guise of an interview.

The conversation always centers around his personal mission of making the technology culture respects the end user.  He is known in the industry as AMD’s CEO. (Chief Empathy Officer).  Making certain the creative content customer is represented within AMD’s culture.

What I found refreshing in my discussions with Charlie Boswell was that he and I share very similar views on many things.

We both have a love hate relationship with technology.  Boswell, who grew up in Walt Disney’s home town of Marceline Missouri has in his DNA respect for the customer’s experience.  He maintains Walt’s true genius was not the animated cartoon but rather Disneyland where technology is invisible along with its culture.

I spent over three decades in the nerding business and each year seemed to bring greater levels of complexity to achieve a result. This makes no sense, it is using a type of reverse logic, the more powerful a technology becomes then the harder it is to produce an end product! I go to Disneyland to be awed by the experience, not swamped in the technology.

Boswell maintains, if we’re all so brilliant then why can’t anyone use this stuff?.  Why do you have to understand technology in order to use it? This makes perfect sense to me. I don’t need to understand steel forging to use a hammer

The man in the street, the musician, or the film maker wants that end product, rather than earning a PhD in astrophysics. Yes they want the best possible end product, and with all the great computing power available why is it so difficult? A good personal example is dealing with pictures. 99% of the time I want to do only three things, compress them for use online, change the physical display size, and crop them.

Adobe Photoshop gave me a headache, Gimp gave me a migraine, my solution is to keep and old Windows box around that has the over 10 year old Microsoft throw away Picture Manager on it. It is not high tech, but it took 10 minutes to conquer and it works!

Charlie Boswell shares my frustration. He is in a unique situation where he sees the potential benefits that technology can bring to everyone, but is also acutely aware of the learning curve issue.

Musicians want to make music, film makers want to make films, only nerds want to propagate yet more nerds! Boswell feels that many if not most artists now conform the aesthetic to what the computers will allow. Boswell feels this is humanity adapting to the technology culture. He calls this a dangerous planetary trend.

It is Global Nerding

So concerned about this phenomenon Boswell has set up a website about it globalnerding.blogspot.com. Boswell let me know that he is not here to do the simple pot shot culture bash like the typical greasy jaded technology curmudgeon, rather he seeks to help work toward a solution.  The Cloud is his focus.  He feels that the end user experience has been so abysmal, the user community is fleeing to the cloud like people escaping Earth in the science fiction classic ”When World’s Collide”.  Humans are sick to death of  both crappy technology and its culture and want to focus on the TASK and not the technology.   The smart phone showed them the way.

This is going to be a must read series of articles. Charlie is all about bringing the power of technology in a package that people can use.

Charlie works with many different projects, from enhancing the Gaming experience, to video production for musicians like Dweezil Zappa, movie work with award winning Film Maker Robert Rodriguez, and a host of other very well known people.

While I decry the world or nerdery, I an a recovering nerdaholic, and do occasionally fall off the wagon. Earlier this year Charlie Boswell was invited to speak at the Media Summit in Abu Dhabi. It was a co-hosted session and his partner in crime was Jules Urbach, Founder and CEO of OTOY.

While industry symposiums rarely make for great home entertainment, this particular session did. For anyone looking to leverage the power of computers in the entertainment world, this was a great presentation.Of particular interest was the Q&A session at the end. The questions were hard hitting and thought provoking. One was even political. The global politics of leveraging the cloud. It was such an important subject that it deserves an article of its own.More soon.

Simon Barrett

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