Damn it! I can’t finish my book, the battery has died!

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(ORIGINAL POST DATE: Thursday, April 21, 2011)

I don’t remember when technology entered my life as a regular, every day thing. However, I do remember being a child and going into our dresser to get summer clothes from my parents room and there on the desk was our giant green screen computer complete with a giant printer with the paper that had the edges that you had to tear off. Cell phones didn’t exist. You had one phone line in your house and it was a rotary dial phone, none of that touch tone business. Looking at the technology that I use today, I can’t even begin to comprehend how far we’ve come. Then I start to wonder, well when did all of this start entering my life? I don’t remember most of it, it was just something that happened and really what was expected after a few years of invention after invention.
Computer days in elementary school were a 1/2 hour of Number Munchers or the infamous Oregon Trail. Those mere 30 minutes where we could venture to Oregon and hope we wouldn’t catch a disease on the way!

Enter Middle School and the important question “Whats your ICQ number?”

My brother and I had one hour each online. This was back when we still had one phone line and that is how you connected to the internet.  Obviously this started many a sibling battle. My time was spent chatting with my maybe 10 friends with the internet and computers out in the middle of nowhere and playing online checkers or creating my online “Hogwarts” school on one of those free web page servers. Go ahead, judge me. I was 12.

Still no cell phones. At least in our neck of the woods. They probably existed in the larger cities but were the size of a small baby.

Then came Napster and mix CDs instead of taping songs off of the radio. I still remember sitting in my room late at night listening to the radio and quickly hitting record as my favorite song came on. All for my particular use in my bright yellow Walkman.

High school started. Teachers started implementing mandatory typed papers. Unless you still didn’t have a computer, which was a regular occurrence at our school. AOL. Email.

The technology takeover truly began in college. I got my first cell phone…. a month and 1/2 after starting college. My mom was annoyed with me never being in my dorm room so that she could call me on the room phone.  Professors were emailed instead of visited. No longer did you need to actually attend organization meetings (although they were mandatory). You could read the meeting minutes online when they were emailed out that same evening. You didn’t have to visit your adviser to register for classes, that was all done online.

Then came the need to have music, movies, and TV instantly. Netflix! no longer do you need to leave your apartment to watch the movies or rent them! They can be delivered to your door or streamed instantly to your computer! Hulu and Fancast! You can watch all of the latest episodes of your favorite shows the very next day!

Smartphones! Why should you carry a planner with you? Just add that app. Need a grocery list? I’m sure there is an app for that too! MUST UPDATE TWITTER AND FACEBOOK! Sign on using your smart phone!

Technology develops so rapidly that if we don’t have it now, we get angry. The world wants their iPhone 5 right now! But wait? Why buy that when you can get an iPhone 6 in a few more months!

I spent a good year and 1/2 living almost entirely without internet in my living quarters. For 2 months I was on Semester at Sea. We had 120 minutes of internet time for those two months. After that, you had to pay for more minutes. We did have email though. It was glorious. No one sat online. Time didn’t fly by while you read facebook status updates and your twitter feed. We made friends. We had social interaction with our peers and traded thoughts and ideas. person to person. Computers stayed off. Journals were hand written with the feel of the ink against the paper.

Then I came back to the states and moved into an apartment alone. I couldn’t afford television or internet. That is what the university library was for. I could get all of my work done there, watch some shows late at night and then return home to sit and read if I wanted to instead of wasting time surfing the internet. Ruining my sleep with bright screen lights before bed. I finished a lot of books during this 9 month long internet hiatus.

Books? Who reads books now? Soon you will be able to “take out” books on your Nooks and Kindles from libraries. Our kids won’t need to read our beat up copy of The Lord of the Rings; they will have access to our digital libraries. No notes in the margins or dog-earred pages in the digital age!

I don’t remember when all of this started. It just happened.


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