For those engineering professionals who will be enjoying time away from the office during the holiday season, here are some recommendations for TV shows to binge-watch:
Plot: Since the late 1970s, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wrote the future of computers with a battle between the Mac and the PC on the main stage. Their rivalry was so spectacular that it almost embodies the entire digital revolution. Both men dropped out of college and changed the world with their ideas, and even though they were adversaries, they always retained a high level of respect for each other.
The rivalry between Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple was monumental in the tech world. In this documentary, Gates was described as “The Nerd” who was more focused on coding programs and simplifying how to use computers for regular consumers; while Jobs was described as the charismatic “Hippie” whose marketing skills built up Apple as a lifestyle brand. This is a great watch for engineers who are familiar with these two tech legends and want to see how their competition made Apple and Microsoft the prominent brands that they are today.
Plot: Go on a decade-by-decade voyage of discovery through life-changing inventions, like the radio that made the world smaller, the machine gun that made it more dangerous, or the parking meter that made it more expensive. Witness the discovery and creation of billion-dollar inventions and financial disasters – all players in the most innovative century the world has ever known.
This 10-part miniseries produced by The Discovery Channel features the inventions from the 20th century that had changed the world. From the invention of the airplanes in 1900s to the Hubble telescope in the 90s, we get to know how the invention was made and the creators behind them.
Plot: Prototype This! was a TV series that claimed to “look into the viability of gadgets and technology seen in science-fiction movies”.
Produced by the Discovery Channel, Prototype This! follows a group of inventors which include an electrical engineer, a material science engineer, a Hollywood special effects designer, and a robotics expert create offbeat, fictional concepts into engineered products. Some concepts they tried to fulfill include a truck that can beat traffic by rising itself up, and a sleeping pod that gets a person up and dressed for work in under a few minutes. This is a fun show to watch how ideas go from design to prototypes to testing.
Plot: This is an HBO comedy series that follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer Richard and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush. They live together in a Bay Area startup incubator loosely run by self-satisfied dot-com millionaire Erlich, who lets them stay in his house rent-free in exchange for a stake in the projects they invent there. But when Richard develops a powerful search algorithm at his day job, he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between his boss — whose firm offers Richard an eight-figure buyout — and a deep-pocketed venture capitalist.
Based in the titular region of Northern California, Bay Area engineers can relate to the offbeat, eccentric yet stressful start-up environment that Silicon Valley is portraying. Though the personalities of the characters are meant to be comical, their representation of engineers turned into entrepreneurs is a fascinating watch.
Plot: Mo Rocca of “CBS News Sunday Morning” hosts this series that celebrates inventors, including historic pioneers and forward-looking visionaries of the present. Each week, the story behind a really great invention plays out, including the passion, price, and perseverance behind the items. Featured segments include “What If It Never Happened,” “The Innovation by Accident” and a focus on “junior geniuses,” who are contributing to the ever-changing face of technology.
Innovation Nation looks deeper into ground-breaking innovations such as the Model T car assembly line, and futuristic concepts such as food 3D printers and underwater drones. With topics ranging from cloth that generate electricity to mainstream humanoid robots, Mo Rocca is able to interview the modern-day inventors behind these products and get to know how they conceived of it.
We hope these recommendations help you relax this holiday season!
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