Saturday, June 24, 2017

What's a land line, Grandad?

And, what's a phone booth?


We never had a party line in our house, but my wife had one as a child.  Things change all the time.  One force for change that is mentioned all the time is invention, innovation, especially in the field of electronic communication.  The iPod, the iPad and the iPhone are often mentioned but another force that may well be even more powerful is profit.  If I sell widgets, I make a little money each time someone buys one.  But if no one is buying, I will have to design widget 2.0.  In fact, with modern accounting and data processing, I may move to version 2.0 way before sales have dropped to zero.  As an alert modern trend watcher, I will know when successive data points on the sales graph indicate a definite downward trend.  


It's true that your modern smartphone is a mini-computer of great power and versatility.  We have the saying these days "There's an app for that" and whatever "that" is, there may well be an app for it.  Counting steps, measuring the distance of your walk, communicating with your friends and buddies, paying bills, getting a recipe for pesto - it is not easy to find an activity or a goal that is completely unrelated to the thousands and thousands of apps, those mini-programs that may be a self-contained game or may have any other job or ability.


There are many complaints and fears that everyone is turning into a screen watching zombie.  If you are afraid that the teenagers can't stop looking at their screen, you are out-of-date.  It's no shame to be out-of-date.  We all are, in one field or another.  But take a look at your senior citizen friends.  They are using the latest app and playing the latest game, too.


So, the times are a-changin', as they always are.  You may have a tough time finding a turntable, a wringer or phone booth, these days but don't get too depressed about all the changes.  Some of your best doctors and plumbers have not retired yet.  Some of your favorite programs are available to stream (What's streaming, Grandad?) and it can be fun and profitable to learn to find what you like on YouTube.


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