I am fast approaching the birthday that I at one time could not comprehend: The big sixty. As a Senior, I often reflect on the changes in technology that I have witnessed in my short lifetime.
I consider the first television that I can remember, that small screen in a huge wooden cabinet in the living room. Mom might let me stay up late for, as she called them, educational programs. Otherwise I was off to bed at 8:00. The offerings in the late 1950’s were pretty slim in central Indiana. The three networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, plus one independent station meant a choice of four options at any time. The technology at the time was restricted to broadcasting signals from towers. The quality of the signal was dependent upon the location of your home compared to the distance from the broadcast tower. A poor quality picture was the norm for that one station whose tower was furthest away. The Bugs Bunny half hour cartoon program was considered a prime time show. Currently our home has the most basic of cable services with fifty nine choices now available. Satellite TV boasts that more than 200 stations can be viewed when you subscribe to their service. How times have changed.
In 1970 I would never have dreamed that I would someday be able to write a paper for English 101 and have spelling errors underlined for me as I typed. My weekly assignments in that most feared of college freshman classes required proper grammar, spelling, format, and (shudder) a minimum of six references. My English professor, a Rhodes Scholar, also rejected papers that contained corrected errors. Thus, the correction tape on my baby blue Royal typewriter was not to be used. My spell check was the Webster’s Dictionary on the desk. References for each paper were obtained from real books and periodicals from a library, not from a Yahoo search. Microsoft Word, Word Perfect and other word processors were not in my vocabulary. Even today, I marvel at the capability of today’s computers and the programs available. Don’t you just love cut and paste?
Communication with family, friends, and even business contacts is perhaps the single most dramatic aspect of life that has changed with the phenomenal increase in the technology of mobile or cell phones. As a young man I experienced a multi-state blizzard in the late seventies, along with everyone in the Midwest. At the time I was engaged in ranching and farming with my father, who lived a mere four miles away. The land lines were down. Three days later I was able to get to Dad’s place. It is hard today to imagine that total lack of ability to communicate. We are now spoiled.
By the way, I still occasionally turn off the DroidX and enjoy a Bugs Bunny cartoon.