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How Far Have We Come in Fifteen Years?

Flickr Photo by penpalme

I was thinking back to the year 1998. That’s the year I launched my web site, A lot has happened in the world since then. The 9/11 attack, the first black president, recessions, terrorism, a couple of wars just to name a few. With all the turmoil in the world we often look to things that are stable. Things we do in our daily lives that give us a feeling of normalcy.

What were some of the most normal things in 1998, here are a few.

  • Going through airport security with belt and shoes in place.
  • Rewinding your VHS movie before returning it to the video store.
  • Giving my seminars and workshops from an overhead projector with acetate slides.
  • Imagine calling your friends or family from a phone attached to the wall.
  • Saving my most poignant, savvy thoughts and articles to a floppy disc.
  • The joys of waiting for dialup to connect to the Internet.
  • Rockin’ the house on my Sony Walkman. Sweatin’ to the Oldies.
  • Finding my way to a friend’s house required a paper map or some kind of map program print out.
  • Music Videos? MTV was the only game in town.
  • Paying bills in person or snail mail. Back when the Post Office was profitable.
  • All your great memories could be saved on the nearest disposable camera.
  • Business travel was conveniently done by phone or with the help of a travel agent.
  • Don’t get me started on Y2K.
  • You never missed a message if you had a landline answering machine and a really cheesy message. Beeeeeeeeep.
  • Need a business? The Yellow Pages was where you needed to go. No phone book, good luck with information. Dial “0.”

Some Final Thoughts

High speed Internet, HDTV, cell phone videos, music CD’s. How did we ever get along without all this stuff? 3D HDTV is here and companies are looking to provide movies, TV shows, and music all on demand to any one of a hundred different devices. In the future we are going to have to plan actual blocks of time to — think. Otherwise our days are going to be filled with a constant barrage of info.

Going camping without a cell phone? Unthinkable. What if you twist your ankle? How will the rescue chopper ever find you? Looking back at the last 15 years I can only imagine what the next fifteen will bring. It seems that the more we try to simplify our lives the more complicated they become.

No matter how smart my phone is there is still a dummy pushing the buttons. But I’m getting better — I can actually make a call now. Tomorrow I’m going to learn how to hang up. I guess progress is a good thing. So why am I nervous?

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