By Robin Scott
Internet, laptop, smart phone, iPod, MP3, CD, portable DVD, digital camera, Kindle, WebTV, PSP, DSi, GameBoy, GPS, Bluetooth, OnStar, WiFi and 3G. A person can get plugged into so many different devices and all at the same time, even while driving. And “plugged in” is more a relative term, as most of the devices don’t require a plug at all except to recharge long-life batteries. Cell phones have long been able to connect to the Internet and keep contact information and now have Windows and an ability to create documents. They have taken the building out of the office and replaced it with anywhere cell service is available.
Many don’t like the “electronic” age, while others wouldn’t go back even one software update. In the 1980’s personal computers became the norm for business, and by the early 1990’s people were bringing them into their homes. The term “email” took off by the mid 90’s, and the early 2000’s saw the advent of instant messaging. People communicate through email, IM, MySpace, FaceBook, and now they send tweets on Twitter. They have an ability to keep up with friends, family and work more than ever before, but not necessarily face to face.
Technology no longer seems to be limited by even the imagination. The explosion of electronic gadgets has given birth to new ideas and better devices each year. Apple introduced a new iPhone for the third summer in a row and sales during the debut weekend of the iPhone 3Gs were truly astounding. People aren’t turning away from technology; they are flocking to it in droves. When a new smart phone is purchased, the only draw back seems to be how long until the desire to get a newer more advanced phone occurs.
Televisions no longer weigh 100 pounds or take up five feet of living area space. They are also no longer confined to the living room. TV’s are in every room of a home, except perhaps the closets. TV’s are in the car, on the laptop and now even on the cell phone. People crave immediate information that the fast-paced Internet allows. GPS tells a driver when and where to turn and in a soothing celebrity voice. With a smart cell phone that has modem capabilities, the laptop becomes the vehicle’s connection to the outside world while traveling.
Back in the 1970’s when a few movies and TV shows sparked the C.B. radio craze, people couldn’t imagine anything more futuristic. The ability to communicate with complete strangers over radio waves was like something out of a Sci-Fi magazine. Short wave radio wasn’t new, but installing a small C.B. radio into the family sedan was new technology that was all the rage. It was popular at the same time as the 8-Track player, which was also a piece of amazing technology. People who had both were nearly idolized. C.B.’s and 8-Tracks have become extinct to the family sedan, but they were definitely the forerunners to cell phones and CD’s.
Getting on the Internet and searching the phrase, “electronic gadgets” will provide the technological junky with an overabundance of exciting information. Countries that mass-produce electronics such as Japan, China and Korea already have gadgets that aren’t yet available in the United States.
Emailing family and friends and attaching digital photos that were taken only moments earlier will clearly get replaced one day with something even more amazing. People will laugh when they reminisce about the “old days” when they communicated via email on a personal computer. Smart phones have nearly ousted the PC to send email, but it won’t be long before Smart phones are not-so-smart phones and something else takes their place.
If Western Civilization was the era for building beautiful pyramids and the Renaissance was the era for great portrait artists, then the Electronic Age is certainly the era for thinking “outside the box” and pushing the imagination to unbelievable limits. In a matter of seconds, an APP (application) may be downloaded to an iPhone or iPod allowing its user to connect to live police dispatch from Miami or New York, play a game of PacMan, pay bills over the device, or even order a pizza.
In a time when address books are fast becoming a thing of the past and telephones that are connected by a cord are just plain annoying, technology continues to surprise and amaze. Technology may be counted on like no other time in history to grow, evolve and inspire. The minds working toward the next “gadget” must be open to the impossible. When the public embraces the advances in technology, the minds creating the advances seem to work even harder to come up with the next “must have” technological advance. Whether one embraces the technology or shies away from it, there’s no denying its power and impact.