June 29, 2010

Technology We Take For Granted

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Ten years ago I was a young 30-something, enjoying life as a working woman. No more school! No more homework! But it seems like it was about 10 years ago when technology really started to take off. So it was a good thing I didn’t have all these other things going on so I could really embrace technology and the changes it would bring about.

Nowadays we take most tech stuff for granted. Think about this, though, a mere 10 years ago I could be typing on a laptop but I’d be listening to music on this thing called a Sony Walkman or even the Sony Discman, possibly my ‘boom box’ but definitely it wasn’t digital.  If was was on the internet it was likely DSL, and it was s l o w compared to today’s standards.  And, dare I say, there were people still on dial-up!  Just 10 years ago.

Dial-up? BabyGirl will never know the joyful whooshing sounds of dial-up.  Sony Walkman? One of those should be in the Smithsonian next to a dinosaur! Listening to music required one to actually go to the music store — most of which don’t exist today — and buy an actual CD or, gasp!, a cassette tape. Download was not a verb in our everyday language.  Actually, I don’t think download was even a common everyday word.

A decade ago there was nothing that began with a lowercase i and was associated with Apple Computers. Yep, Apple Computers. Not just Apple. There was no iPod, iPhone, iDrive, iSight, i-anything. We were more like the inhabitants of Gilligan’s Island. No phone, no light, no motor car not a single luxury. Sure, mobile phones were around but compared to today these phones of the past should be on Antiques Roadshow.

If you wanted to watch a movie you went to the local Video Store. Video store, that even sounds funny. Today you don’t have to leave your house, much less get dressed or shower. Hulu, NetFlix, TiVo, DVR were nothing. The only way to time shift was to rent a movie for way too much money and make sure you got it back on time and hope that it didn’t have bad tracking or if you were lucky enough to find it on CD that it didn’t look like it had been used as a scratching post by a pack of wild cats.

Google existed. It wasn’t the juggernaut of the interwebs that it is today.  But it was well on it’s way.  Google, the word, had existed for quite some time. But the company, very new. Search engines were limited, email was proprietary, document sharing was impossible in an online setting. Now, Google is a verb. As in, “How do you get to Sesame Street?”, just Google it.

A decade ago, if you wanted to talk with someone you had to dial long distance and hope they were home, not busy and would be willing to chat for a few minutes. Long Distance rates were high, there weren’t many choice and the thought of calling outside your local calling area on your cell phone often brought chills. There was no way you could interact with hundreds of people at one, like we do today with Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve come a long way, baby!

What technology changes do you think have impacted you most? The least? Would you go back and change how you used technology a decade ago?

Sara

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