My birthday was just last Wednesday (I’m not telling my age) and I couldn’t have asked for a better celebration. My “office”, which has the same privacy as Les Nessman’s from WXRK in Cincinnati (dating myself), was covered from top to bottom in decorations to trumpet the day. The gapian crew brought in hundreds of pounds of BBQ for lunch including pork ribs, brisket, and beef – clearly the gang knows what to do for my birthday. Pure joy!
With birthdays comes nostalgia and remembering back to those days gone by – 20 years younger, thinner, a better athlete, and a significantly worse driver. I also reflected back on technology and where it was 20 years ago and where it is today. Computers and the internet are so ingrained in our lives that I can’t believe that schools actually functioned, and I can’t help but day dream of the how texting and tweeting can contribute to cheating. Twenty years ago, my Dad bought an IBM clone that ran on 5 1/4” floppy disks (ha!) and blazed through programs supported by its 10Mhz processor. No gigabyte hard drives or Ethernet connections. I played horrible games, crammed for my SATs, and printed reports on my Okidata ribbon printer.
A look at the past reminds of what is to come for our future. There is no doubt that my children will fall over laughing at my prehistoric iPhone and processor power, and cloud storage capacities will make whatever storage we have today seem microscopic in 2030. I can’t wait to see what is next. But as excited as I am about the future, I am equally afraid of the day when technology passes me by. I won’t be able to use the television remote or log into the Mars Space Telescope streaming channel.
Vivitar recently produced a wonderfully comic infomercial that touts the selling points of film over digital photography. The informercial speaks to the ease-of-use of film (drop the photos off!) and how difficult digital cameras are to use and how small those tiny little screens are. Vivitar’s target audience? The generation that technology left behind and who dreams of the good old days.
Take a gander:
While I look forward to the day I can power up my gapPad and alter the course of satellites orbiting soccer matches in Spain, I am just as fearful that I am the next target group for Vivitar’s 2030 campaign selling printers. “Remember when you could TOUCH pictures of your loved ones? Remember how easy it was to stick a picture on your fridge?”
Facebook increased the size limit of their images to 2048 pixels, which is eight times its previous capacity. There are 8 billion images on Facebook that you can tag, instantly link to your friends, and organized on a cloud server all free of charge. If you can’t tag, share, and organize your paper photos with every person you know, for free, then photo printing might just plateau during the next 20 years…..
During that time, technology will focus on being more mobile, more seamless with the internet and the cloud, and less focused on individual computing and storage. During these next 20 years, me and my printed photos may go the way of film.
I’ll be grouchy, but I’ll cheer up after they cut me my royalty check for the commercial.