It’s almost scary in some ways how technology has changed our lives.
I think back to when I was in college, back in 1993, and I first heard about this thing called “the internet”, and a company called AOL – actually, they were one of the “big three” back in the day, which was AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe. They all ran off of dial-up connections, and were very slow compared to how connections are these days. Back then, I remember on my AOL account, they charged $4.95/hour to use their connection. Essentially, I would compose my e-mail messages, connect, do a send/receive, and then disconnect before reading my mail – it was expensive back then! After a time, they went to $19.95/month for unlimited use, and it was really cool as long as you had a local access number to connect with (can you imagine THOSE long-distance charges?).
Computers were slow as well, running about 25-66mhz, and the color palette was nothing to sneeze at either, but we were still in awe by what we had found. The game consoles seemed to have more oomph than the computers did, so we played Sega Genesis/CD most of the time until later on when Playstation hit the scene some time later. In those days, everything seemed new and fast, but if you look back on it from today’s perspective, it was very slow, clunky, and just not all that impressive. Of course not! We judged those systems now by today’s standards.
Then again, anything you look back on seems antiquated, as opposed to the very first time it came out when you were younger – it’s the whole perception thing.
Cell phones were BRICKS back then – remember those? No touch screen, no apps, no texting even! They just made calls and took calls – from a phone the size of a cinder block! Some phones even had to have a bag you carried them in, slung over your shoulder (kinda like the old camcorders – remember those, kiddies?). Those old phones were powerful though! You could stand in the middle of the Nevada desert and get a signal, but alas, cell phone companies have since blocked those analog signals, so now they’re pretty much just a novelty brick that looks cool.
Remember when if you wanted the “arcade experience” you actually had to go to an arcade? In those times, no home system could hope to match the power of the arcade machines, so you readily trotted yourself down to the local arcade or pizzeria to get a fistful of quarters to plunk into those hungry machines for a few minutes of electronic enjoyment. Sadly, those days are gone. Home machines far outweigh the arcades in terms of sheer horsepower and ability, so now you don’t even need to go anywhere – just fire up your console or PC of choice and game away.
Keeping in touch is a lot easier nowadays than it was before too. Back in the day, you would have to write a letter, drop it in the mail, and wait for them to get it, write a response, and then send it back to you. If you called someome, you had to worry about how much you were racking up in long-distance charges to speak with anyone outside of your local area. Nowadays, you can call across the country and talk as long as you want for a pittance. I would imagine pretty soon, it’ll be the whole world – it’s getting closer! In a lot of cases, you don’t even need to do that. You can text someone, use e-mail, or utilize any number of social media outlets to connect with people anywhere! Sometimes it can be a detriment, because rather than writing out well-written postings that you can read, people put up memes or tweets, which don’t say anywhere near as much as a story would…….and “text-speak” – oh shudder……..don’t even get me started on that. Srsly!
There are a lot of advances made these days that make the world safer, better, faster, more connected, and more well entertained……….but have these changes taken anything away from us? Well, we don’t tend to go out and see people as much as we used to because we can just “ping them online”. We don’t play games with each other by going out because we can do online multiplayer instead. Good, bad, or indifferent……….take it for what you will and perceive it however you wish. Progress marches forward, as does change. What we do with it will determine how things progress for people as a whole.