Sometimes I don’t realize how far we’ve come technologically until I read something that was written in the eighties or nineties. I’m currently reading a book that was published in the late nineties or early two thousands. That doesn’t seem so long ago. However, people still had house phones then. You could still find a pay phone when you traveled.
Our technology has advanced so far so fast that I feel nostalgic reading this book. The family in the book had one computer for everyone in the house to share, and only one person had a cell phone. No one had GPS. They used paper maps to find their destination.
I can’t speak for everyone, but we haven’t had a desktop in several years. My house hasn’t had a landline for at least ten years. Every adult in my household has their own smart phone and laptop or tablet. When I pull out a paper map, my family laughs at me and brings up Google Maps on their cell phones.
It wasn’t so long ago that people actually called each other in the evenings after work to chat. If the person being called wasn’t home, there was an answering machine to capture the message. It had a little light that blinked to let everyone in the house know that there was a message. If someone deleted the messages without writing down a phone number, we just hoped the person would call back. With our smart phones, we don’t worry about that. If we accidentally delete a message and can’t retrieve it, we still have the number saved in our call log.
The way we obtain our information has changed most of all. I used to go to the library and check out books to conduct research. I searched old newspaper articles on microfiche. I watched the nightly news to stay abreast of the world in which I lived. I still watch the local news, weather, and sports because I like it. All of my local news stations have websites and social media pages, so I don’t necessarily need to watch their broadcast.
I have an Amazon Fire Tablet. I can ask Alexa, which is on my tablet, for the weather forecast anywhere in the world. She tells me the forecast and brings it up on the screen where I can explore it further. This is very handy when I’m planning a long trip because she can tell me what to expect along the way and when I reach my destination. I can ask her for sports scores, and she tells me. I can ask her for a recipe, and she will give me several options. I can ask her a question about a historical event, and she will have an answer for me immediately.
I use my tablet much like I use my laptop. The main difference is that with the tablet I can search the internet or have Alexa do it for me. I usually prefer to perform my own searches, but when I’m in a hurry, Alexa is a life saver. She’s also very handy when I’m writing and need to do some quick research. I can ask Alexa a question, such as the capitol of a certain state, and have my answer within seconds without stopping what I’m doing. I never dreamed of such a thing twenty years ago. Who knew?
E-readers are another technological advance that I never saw coming. I always thought a book would be a book. I resisted obtaining an e-reader for as long as I could. My husband bought me a Kindle Fire for Christmas several years ago. He also gave me an Amazon gift card, so I would have no excuse to refuse to try the new technology.
I had my Kindle for a month before I ever turned it on. I resist new technology for as long as possible. I’m sort of a technosaur. Once I finally turned it on and downloaded my first book, a whole new world opened up to me. I realized that I could buy an e-book for much less money that the paperbacks I normally purchased. I could buy an entire series for a few dollars. Some books were even free. The best part was that I could keep several hundred books on my Kindle and carry them with me everywhere. Another thing I loved about Kindle was that I could purchase books any time from anywhere. I was thrilled the first time I finished a book in the middle of the night and immediately purchased the next one in the series. It’s perfect for long flights, doctor office waits, lunch breaks, and lazy afternoons curled up in a comfy chair.
I have two Kindles now, and my Amazon Fire has a Kindle app that I find myself using more and more. I took my tablet to a recent writers conference and read half a novel on it when my insomnia reared its ugly head and growled at me. I still prefer real paper books, and buy them often. However, it’s much handier to drag a light weight device around with me than a 300 page book when I’m out and about.
I usually resist a piece of technology until my husband breaks down and buys it for me against my wishes. If he spends the money on something, I feel like I should at least try it. Over the years, he’s bought my laptop, tablet, Kindle, and a cell phone for me when I assured him that I didn’t need any of that. He insisted I buy a car with remote start this time, and I told him that I wasn’t that delicate. Well, he was right. I love all of those technological advances that he insisted I try. I’m here to tell you, remote start is just about the best invention of all time.
I can’t imagine what wonders the future holds, but I’m sure my dear husband will make sure I’m not too far behind in giving new advances a try. If he left it up to me, I would live in a little cabin in the woods with virtually no technology at all. He always wants the latest greatest thing, and I always tell him what we have is fine. The result is that the bugs get worked out in the second generation of whatever new gadget he wants, and we avoid the initial problems by not buying the first generation. We are good for each other that way.
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