This ‘n’ That
I was thinking recently about how we live in such a technological society these days and how something that is cutting edge one day quickly becomes outdated the next.
I remember when battery-operated, hand-held calculators seemed so advanced. Suddenly we could do all sorts of amazing mathematical calculations on these little gadgets that fit in the palm of our hands.
Wow! Just about anyone could afford one of these. This was high-tech stuff indeed.
Somewhere around that time, everyone and his brother started having CB radios installed in their vehicles, pictured above right. Each CB owner had to have a “handle”, which was like an identifying name. Some were straightforward, and some were just plain funny. Almost overnight we all became truckers.
Except me. By the time I got around to considering installing a CB of my own, the fad seemed to be over. Make that “Over and out”.
In the late 1980s, car phones appeared on the scene. These weren’t cell phones – that was still a good way off.
Car phones had to be installed in a vehicle and that wasn’t cheap. Neither were the phones. I remember because we gave our son one for his birthday, with the understanding that he was responsible for the monthly bill for this gift.
I have to admit there were some advantages to our son having a car phone. If he was going to be coming home late, he had no excuse for not calling to let us know. Even better, if he didn’t call, I needn’t hesitate to call him. And a few times I did just that.
Occasionally, I had to borrow his car. There I was, the typical soccer mom, cruising Palmer Highway in Texas City in a red Camaro, calling up my friends. And that, as they now say, was just how I rolled. Literally.
But, several years later, cell phones appeared on the scene and car phones were out of date – so yesterday! Remember how big those first cell phones were? But we all thought they were the greatest invention since sliced bread. We were no longer tethered to our car if we wanted to make a call while away from home.
The new cellular phones were much cheaper that those built-in car phones and could be used anywhere there was a cell tower. Who cared how clunky they were?
All you could do with them at that time was make telephone calls, but who cared? We were once again using cutting-edge technology. Right up until the smart phones came out.
Now we have iPhones and droid phones. You can get directions to where you’re going, text other folks, take photos, check the internet and talk to Siri – or whoever your phone’s computer is. You can send e-mails, check the weather or the stock market, play games and – are you ready for this one? – use the built-in calculator!
That’s right. We are right back to a hand-held calculator just like we had in the 1980s. But, this time, it comes with all sorts of bells and whistles and costs a bunch of money. Progress can be a mixed blessing.
Contact Nicky De Lange at email@example.com.