How the world has changed

I have often marveled about how my parents and grandparents experienced such dramatic changes during their lives, with all the fantastic advances in science and all the practical inventions which improved quality of life during the 20th century.  Things such as automobiles, airplanes, telephones, electricity in the home, home appliances, radios, televisions, penicillon, and so much more.

When I look back over my 6+ decades of life, I have to say significant advances in science and inventions have continued.  Here are a few examples.

Transistors, leading to integrated circuits, and Moore’s Law–doubling of transistor density every two years.  I recall the marvel of the battery operated, hand-held transistor radio during my childhood.  I, and others, used to sneak these into our school classes to listen to the World Series.  I treasured my 8-transistor radio, which operated from a 12V battery.  Transistors vs. vacuum tubes enabled size and power reductions, greater functionality, and reliability gains.

I remember our family getting our first color TV in the late 1960s.  They were large console TVs back then–pieces of nice furniture.  Today, I have a 60-inch flat screen 4K TV on my wall.  With all kinds of available content, from broadcast TV, to cable channels, to internet (such as Netflix), and DVD players.  And a DVR to record and watch later.  (I remember the marvel of the VCR to record programs back in the 1980s, and movies on VHS tapes.)

We purchased our first movie camera in 1978–8mm Super-8 film, no sound.  The technology wasn’t much different from what my parents used when I was young.  Later we got a VHS camera, which seemed amazing to us, and now we take 4K videos with a digital camera.

For most of my life, if you wanted information on anything you consulted your large set of encyclopedia books in your home, or went to the library.  I can’t even begin to characterize how the internet has changed so much of that, and so much else.  For us,  internet access started with a dial-up service with a subscription to Prodigy Internet around 1990, then America Online, with speeds starting at 1200 characters per second.  If you were online, your phone gave callers a busy tone.  It was amazing to us to get broadband internet around 1998.  Today our internet speed is around 8 million characters/second.

For music, we had 45’s and 33 1/3 RPM LPs.  They scratched and broke and warped easily.  Again, the technology wasn’t much different from my grandparents.  Digital CDs in the late 1980s were a marvel.  Today, CD’s are old fashioned, with MP3 players and so much music online.  Though, I have to say LPs are making a comeback in audiophile circles.

I think this is enough for one post.  I will continue the thread later.

2 Replies to “How the world has changed”

  1. I get to thinking about stuff like this from time to time. The effect of computers, internet, and smartphones is just staggering. Do you remember Prodigy? And Encarta? That was like the barest minimum budding internet stuff and yet it was so amazing at the time.

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