April 17, 2010
I was sitting here just a few days ago reading the news and my mail. I was struck with the thought that these simple tasks have completely different meaning to me than they did to my parents. My parents would have been holding a newspaper to read the days news. They would also have been opening envelopes to get to their mail. In my case, I am simply clicking on a computer.
This is really nothing new. The internet has been around long enough now that it is almost commonplace. Every living generation has experience with the world wide web. But our technological evolution has not stopped there. That computer that we are used to is quickly becoming obsolete. I can now check my mail, read my news and so many other things right from my cellphone. It is this fact that has struck me the most. I am using the latest technology to watch the progression of the next great gadgets that will eventually take over. I used my iPhone to read a minute-by-minute blog of the release of the iPad. This iPad is sort of the iPod/iPhone on steroids. It has the potential to be (in CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs’ words) a “game changer”. We can now use one device to carry a library of music, movies, games and books wherever we go. Add to that the ability to surf the internet and make phone calls using voice over IP solutions like Skype, and you have one heck of an accomplished toy.
All of this truly astounds me when I think of it on a time line. I simply look back to my high school days. CD’s were just hitting the market. DVD’s were still several years down the road. Cellphones were available, but so restrictive and expensive that only the elite could expect to have one. Today, my kids use iPods to listen to digitally downloaded music. Movies are DVD’s to them, but quickly being replaced by digital downloads as well. My nine year old has been told that she has to wait until she turns ten before we will get her a mobile phone. My 14 year old might go into some sort of shock without her phone (which is rarely even used to have a conversation, it is all text messages in 2010).
So, in roughly 20 years we have seen a complete overhaul in how we live our day-to-day lives. We rely more and more on these budding technologies to manage our time, entertain us and ultimately do our jobs. Although I spent the first half of my life without these electronic marvels, the last half has seen me dive headfirst into the computer generated pool. If I awoke tomorrow and found myself in, let’s say 1986, I am not sure I could adapt and survive. How would I let all my Facebook friends know that I was 16 again? And ready to par-tay!