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Imagining evolution of technology

POSTED: August 10, 2014 1:30 a.m.
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HARRIS' RECENT COLUMNS

In recent days, I have seen pictures of children beginning their first days of school.

I can remember when my youngest began her education. I took a camera and made lots of pictures. Then, I took them to the drugstore, had them processed and ordered double prints so we could send them to grandmothers.

Today, it is all done with a digital camera. I sort of miss holding the picture in my hand and looking at it. Now, we look at them on a screen of some sort.

When I think about the class of 2027, I wonder what technological advances will be developed and brought to the marketplace in their elementary and high school days.

When my daughter began school, I had a bag phone and only used it sparingly. By the time she was in the second grade, I had advanced to a flip phone. Compared to what’s out there today, it was rather large and had an extendable antenna.

By the time she graduated, I was carrying a Blackberry, a device that could surf the Internet, keep my calendar, send text messages and, oh yeah, make phone calls.

I look back on my school days and marvel at what has happened. We had a rotary dial phone and it was in the hall. Some first-run television shows were still being produced in black and white. Shows in color often carried an announcement they were produced “in living color.”

We knew who owned a color TV and made it a point to visit them when afternoon cartoons were on. We only had four channels on TV: the three commercial networks, NBC, ABC and CBS, plus educational TV.

My nephew made the decision to limit his kids’ TV viewing. They don’t have cable and when they are around it, they are astounded by the vast selection. He may be right keeping them away from the one-eyed monster called television.

I remember as we entered the age of conveniences like electric can openers and devices for kids who would bake tiny cakes or create scary rubber reptiles.

A device that has nearly gone the way of the nickel Coke is the old View Master. You looked at beautiful color slides in “stereo,” that is, one picture for each eye. It had scenes of places such as Disneyland and the Grand Canyon. According to the Internet, source of all information, one of the movie studios is considering making a movie about the View Master. Imagine that?

Based on current trials, it is not hard to image the class of 2027 will ride away from high school in a car that drives itself. That might be a good thing.

Texting was a complicated thing when the class of 2014 started kindergarten. Now, it is the only way to communicate with them.

When I visited Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in 1982, it promised flying cars and self-cleaning houses by 2000. I’m still waiting on those.

But when I watched Dick Tracy talk into his wristwatch when I was a kid, I never thought we would have a tiny device that we could use to order a pizza, communicate with friends around the globe and remind you of important appointments.

I won’t send you a text message, but I hope to see you back here next week.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

 

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