As someone who was born during the era of radios with vacuum tubes, TV sets with small round screens, and 78 rpm vinyl records, I can say that the technology of the just concluded decade has nothing less than life changing.
When radios changed from vacuum tubes to transistors, they did become smaller and cheaper, but it didn’t really change my listening habits. We still had the same old country music, blues and gospel stations to listen to. TV screens eventually got larger and square instead of round, and black and white was replaced by color. Unfortunately, the shows got dumber and more boring, and commercials took up more air time, so ditto – change, but not really what I would call life changing technology.
Remember when video tapes came out? Back in the late 1970s, and at first there was Beta, then VHS eventually replaced it. Caused a real dent in my bank account, and it did change my movie watching habits, but not by any real large degree of magnitude. HBO came along, and now we could watch R movies at home instead of the dingy movie house down town, but you had to stay up until the wee hours to do it. So, again, no real life changing event.
This past decade, though, has brought changes of a galactic magnitude. How has technology changed my life? How has technology changed your life? There have been so many innovations since 2000 it’s hard to decide where to start. So, let’s just take a few of the new technologies and I can illustrate how they changed my life dramatically.
I’ve always liked music, and I like being able to listen anywhere. I don’t like hauling bulky things around, even pocket-sized portable transistor radios, and I don’t like inflicting my noise on others. So, until invention and marketing of the iPod, I confined my music to home or hotel rooms. This little device totally changed all that. I can now carry it in my pocket, and it’s so small it is unnoticeable, and with the ear buds, I can listen without disturbing others.
The first mobile phones were modeled on the military radio, or walkie talkie, and were a real pain to deal with. With computers making office work easier, it was tough being on the road and away from your computer. Thanks to this little device – I can never decide what to call it. It’s more than a telephone, or a PDA. It’s like having an office in your pocket. Connect anytime, anywhere and read your emails, check your calendar, even download information from Web sites. Honestly, I don’t know how I survived without it all these decades.
I absolutely hate shopping, and have often done without going out because I hate to go to the store. I also have certain tastes that need specialty stores to satisfy, and those stores are only found in large cities like New York. Since I don’t live in New York, I often had to stock up when I visited the Big Apple. With Internet shopping, books, rare tobacco – whatever, it’s now just a mouse click away. Oh yes, and I moved from the wired mouse to the Bluetooth enabled variety, and what a treat that is.
Portable GPS devices
I travel a lot, often by car, and until invention of the portable GPS, my back seat was taken up by maps of the various places I had to visit. Crumpled, and impossible to refold to the original shape, they were a mess. Now, I just have that one little device, that speaks to me with an Australian accent, mounted on my dashboard, and I never have to worry about being lost.
The decade ending December 31, 2009 was one of life changing technology, with innovations that have changed our lives in ways we have yet to fully appreciate.