Technology is really a Hell of a thing...
Before he died in the mid nineties my father would tell me stories about his childhood in a world where cars were somewhat uncommon to see, there were
two radios in his hometown and television did not exist yet at all. I can vividly remember, as kid, hearing him talk and being totally unable to
imagine such a primitive and distant world. The kicker was when he discussed not even having a refrigerator in his house as a kid - informing me they
had a strange cabinet in their kitchen and that an ice man would come, once a week, to toss a HUGE block of ice into the bottom of that cabinet.
He might as well have been regaling me with tales from the Bronze age - because, to me, both periods seemed to be more alike than the world around
me... The world that I knew. After all, we had a car - as did every person on our street! Just as everyone had a television! Ours was wicked! It took
up the entire living room wall! The darn thing had a fancy, high end radio that picked up both AM and FM stations - the FM in stereo! Oh and it had a
built-in record player as well! It even played all three speeds ( 33 1/3 / 45 / 78 rpm ) - so every single album and single in the house worked on it!
But don't get distracted here. The real star of the show was the TV! Not only was it COLOR but also a massive NINETEEN INCHES!
( This is me regaling you with tales that might as well be from the Bronze age - because... )
Fast forward a couple of decades from that wall length abomination of a "home entertainment system" and we find ourselves in the early to mid
nineteen-nineties. I have just purchased my first Pentium home computer and I am stoked! Months of scrimping and saving my hard earned cash went into
planning this purchase. Getting my ex-wife to agree to not flat out divorce me over buying it involved full-on wars so brutal in their nature that
they are still the stuff of legend in my family. But I had won those wars and was reveling in the spoils of my victory. Spoils that had not come
easily or cheap. This thing was state of the art and had set me back just a shade under three thousand dollars. But the specs it sported were worth
every single penny: That glorious system came, out of the box, with a 25 MHz 486sx processor! Smokin' fast! Obviously a system with that kind of
horsepower would require enough memory to keep up, and this one came through with 512 megs of RAM and a MASSIVE 50 Mb hard drive! This freaking thing
even had a CD player in it! Man! Talk about cutting edge! I'd started off with a home Pong game in the latter part of the seventies... I'd had TV
based computers, video game systems and even a couple of legitimate home computers before buying this one - but all those things were childrens' toys
when compared to this thing. I mean this thing had a built in 14.4k modem and the damn monitor supported something like 16 colors and a resolution of
640x480! It was seriously no joke!
Now fast forward a couple of decades from that overpriced potato I was so proud of and we find me sitting here typing this. Sitting on my monitor
riser is what I think of as a really nice phone. It's a Samsung with solid specs and an absolutely outrageous price to performance ratio based upon
what I paid for it. Certainly it's not top of the line - but it is the nicest cell phone I've ever owned. Oh, and this phone that I got on sale for
$50 bucks ( 75% off of the regular price ) has 4 times the cores and about 48 times the per core computing power of the home computer I just
discussed. Same story with RAM and ROM storage. Compared to even this phone that 1995-ish PC would literally work better as a portable space heater
than a computing device.
So it follows that I probably rely on my phone for everything right? Nope. Compared to my current PC and even my two tablets, the phone is weak sauce.
Hell, the three older PC's that currently reside next to my build table, unplugged and waiting to either become spare parts or maybe novelty items (
home theater, physical firewall, router, project box ) smoke the phone in power. This phone, that would have been considered science fiction level
futuristic even fifteen years ago is now so mundane that, to me at least, it's still essentially just a phone - albeit one that texts and has a bad
habit of beeping when I don't want it to.
These days I find myself telling my own kids stories about that nineteen inch TV and the world I grew up in where playing outside was the only option
and where the day my dad brought home Pong changed my life... and they give me the same look I used to give my dad when he would tell me about not
even having a fridge in his house as a kid.
And I'm OK with it. Partly because I am mature and experienced enough to understand that this is the natural progression. This is what it is to get
old. Partly because I know that it won't be long before my grandkids are looking at my kids with the same disgusted and unbelieving looks about what
life is like today. And Hell... it won't surprise me a bit if my grandkids stare blankly at me as I tell them that, by God, I refuse to get any
damned implants and don't care if they want me to be able to talk to me just by thinking of me! They can take the time to call me on a device or type
out a message. Otherwise... Humbug!
In the end... I think the scariest thought is that museums probably, right now, definitely include the stuff from my dads childhood. The non-electric
"ice box". The ancient radio that he had to visit a neighbors house just to hear... those 1920's cars he would see from time to time. I also guess
that much of my own childhood is probably sitting in a museum right now. The original Pong machine... the damned 9 foot long 19" TV. Even that 486sx
I bought as a younger adult at a time that truly doesn't feel like it was so long ago.
How long before this phone merits a shelf in the "tech of yesterday" display? How long before I wake up and realize that I'd feel more at home in a
museum than out here?
Technology is really a Hell of a thing.