52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Technology

In my 36 years on Earth, technology has changed more often than my daughters while playing dress up...okay not really, but close!

For the enjoyment of music I have seen the death or dying of the 8 track (though I think my dad may still have his in storage), LP's and albums of all kinds (to those younger than I, these are called records), cassette tapes and players like the Walkman, and even CD's are slowly fading into history.

All of these have given way to the birth of MP3 players (I have the Sony Walkman). Scared to think what is coming next. (Microchips embedded in us so we can just channel what we want to hear??)

For movies, I have seen the sad demise of drive in theaters, Beta and now VHS, and even DVD's are on their way out. What's taking over? Blu-Ray and streaming video, not to mention wireless apps (applications) for handheld devices which make viewing much more portable. Thank goodness movie theaters aren't a total thing of the past. Movie Theater Popcorn is just NOT the same when it's made at home!

Telephones gave way to cordless phones, which gave way to cell phones. Car phones are now applications embedded in cars made to synch (synchronize) with your cell phones. Long gone are the bricks of old that we carried around while chatting. And chatting? That's almost a thing of the past as well, replaced by texting (I am NOT a texter...just call me! It's so much faster to say what needs to be said, and you'll be able to hear in my voice whether I am happy or upset!)

I have seen the mainstream birth of the PC and MAC, AOL and chatrooms (that's how I met my husband of 12 years!) These have opened up a whole world of digitized information, making almost everything available at the touch of a finger.

Hand-written letters and cards...not anymore...thank you email and e-cards (so much for personalization!) Email too slow? Then use Facebook. Facebook too slow? Then use Twitter!

Radio now has satellite and high-definition options (I have no idea what high-def radio is, but I know it is available).

 TV is now digital so I have to buy a special antennae just to watch the channels that should be free...otherwise I have to pay for satellite dish or cable. Remember when cable was just for those exclusive channels like HBO and Showtime? Hey, but nevermind! We have NetFlix! Almost anything we want to watch streamed right from our computer to our TV, for a fraction of cable costs! Or better yet, I can watch episodes of most of my favorite shows for free on the Internet!

Video games have gone from arcades, to Atari and Nintendo systems, to XBox, Playsation, Wii, etc. There are handheld or wireless devices, and some programs even mimic your movement now using a smart camera detection system! Kinda creepy, but actually really fun. And guess what? Don't know how to play the guitar, bass or drums? Don't waste your money on lessons...just play Rock Band!

Thank goodness that there are still a variety of board games available. The day those are gone will be a sad day, indeed.

Books! I love books! And now you can get them in e-editions for your handheld reader (they say that the e-readers are more environmentally conscious than printing a book...but they are thinking in the short term. When an e-reader craps out on you, not all of it is recyclable. Not to mention the hazardous waste created by making them and disposing of them. Besides, there is just nothing that can replace a book in hand...the smell, the feel, the reminiscence!)

And lastly, language. Our language has had to keep up with technology. Now we use words like apps, synch, etc, and acronyms like LOL, LMAO, OMG, WTH, and more. Forget proper punctuation and grammar...things of the past! By the way, don't bother to learn how to spell...just use your spellchecker!

There have been so many technological changes in my short life, but boy do they make me feel old! I enjoy much of what has come about. The convenience is wonderful, but at what cost?

People today are so plugged in and tuned out, that the human connection often suffers. Also, a piece of history is lost at each juncture of change. Not to mention that in a lot of ways technology has made us lazier, and sometimes even dumber. And in my opinion, entitled and impatient, too.

I make my children write thank you letters, they get grounded from technology first, before friends and playing, they play board games, we visit our library often, and we own lots of books...real ones!