It's the dawn of yet another age in the world of electronics. Best Buy retail stores announced today that it has pulled all analog television sets from store shelves. Why did they do that you ask? (go ahead...ask) Because Congress has set February 2009 as the month and year when U.S. broadcasters will switch to digital signals. The original date was Dec 31, 2006, but through a loophole that I'm sure only Congress could have devised, that fateful date was reset. Ah yes the wheels of government moving at pace only a banana slug could be proud of!
So this got me to thinking, as most things do, about what other electronic wonders have bitten the big one. Now bear in mind this is the perspective of someone at the ripe old age of forty-one. For those of you that are a bit more, shall we say, "seasoned in life" (aka older than dirt) you may have many others. Feel free to share.
One of the more recent items to go deep six was the floppy disk. (no sexual reference intended) I remember my brother Mark having a Commodore 64 computer that used the 5 1/2 inch floppy for all of it's memory. Doing anything on it was quite slooooooow.
How about the rotary phone. I think its demise came when that modern "convenience" came around known as voice-mail. Press any number, it doesn't really matter. I can hide in my mail box as long as I want to.
The music industry is no stranger to technology improvements. Cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, or how about reel-to-reel? I vaguely remember seeing R2R, but I don't think our family owned any. Lest we forget the dying but not completely dead ALBUM. 78, 45, 33 1/2 Maybe it's nostalgia but there's still something special about listing to a well used LP with its unmistakable pop, pop, skip, pop.
Then-VHS (beta doesn't count), Now-DVD, Next-Blue Ray, The best thing about DVD's is the ability to put add on material at the end of the movie such as a gag reel. With the crap that Hollywood keeps flinging at us lately this can actually be more entertaining than the movie itself.
The list could go on and on.
Then there's all the items that have been invented or changed in an effort to "improve" our lifestyle. Some are viable, some not so much. Microwave vs stove top; good for reheating, but for general cooking, no thank you. We have food processors instead of knives. Electric razors instead of blades. Not bleeding under the chin is a good thing. How about debit cards instead of cash. Sure they're convenient, but when you count out dollar bills it seems to resonate more than a quick swipe of the plastic.
There are so many things going on in the way of technology I'm not sure we appreciate the new things so much anymore. Take for example something like space travel. It used to be when an Apollo flight took place everybody stopped to watch or listen. Now I'd be surprised if many of us could remember where we were when the last shuttle took off, let alone when it happened.
I'm certainly not trying to poo poo all things tech. Take for instance, when I hit Publish Post, through the magic of the net, everyone in the world will have access to it. Wow that's impressive.
So I guess if there's a point to all this rambling it would be this: Sometimes it's good to just slow down and enjoy the simple things. I don't think any electronic input can equal the sound of a child giggling, watching a bird in flight or the power of a waterfall.