Monthly Archives: April 2012

Connectivity

Looking at the way technology has advanced over the course of history, it seems almost logarithmic. The more advanced we are, the faster we advance. Why do we develop technology? People got along just fine thousands of years ago; even without the modern conveniences we, nowadays, just can’t live without. The answer is, we are “spoiled.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that is a bad thing.

Back when I was in high school (I know, not all that long ago), the only time I used the internet was on the school computers, and that was a dial up connection. We just didn’t have internet at home, and we weren’t the odd ones because of it. Now, if you don’t have internet at home, you are considered “behind the times.” In ten years, we have gone from dial up connections on a home computer (now considered archaic) to 4G cell phones at our fingertips, anywhere we go.

A couple of years ago, my cell phone started going out. It was time for a new one. I had a basic phone, with none of the bells and whistles. There was no camera, bluetooth, or internet connection. I had the ability to call and text, that was about all I needed. My wife tried to talk me into getting a smartphone. I argued back, I didn’t need one. I finally broke and got an android. Now my android is going out, and it is a major inconvenience. When did this happen? Why am I so reliant on my phone? The answer: because it is convenient. If I am looking for something, I can pull up Google to find the address, then use the GPS to guide me there. I can call, text, e-mail, or Facebook someone all from this tiny computer that I carry in my pocket. 50 years ago, if you would have mentioned carrying a computer in your pocket, you would have been laughed at. 50 years before that, hardly anyone knew what a computer was.

Why do I feel the need to be so connected? Most of the time, anyone can reach me, at any time, no matter where I am. It’s great for emergencies. If my car breaks down, I don’t need to hike several miles to get to a phone (something I’ve had to do in the past). If something happens to my family, they can get in touch with me almost instantly. In the past, it could take weeks to get in touch with someone. The post riders would carry hand written letters across the countryside on horseback. Later, the letters would travel by railroad. With the invention of the telegraph, the information traveled by wire, in a series of dots and dashes. Every advancement made things a little faster, all the way up to now, where it happens in microseconds. If it keeps going like this, will I eventually be able to reach you yesterday? (Sorry, bad joke)

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