Thursday, 2 August 2012

Thursday Thought - A continuously wondrous age

Forget for a moment the Internet exists. Can you do that?

Recently when I was talking with my Dad, I suggested I'd love the opportunity to experience perhaps a week of the 1950's - just to try to comprehend what life was really like 50 years ago without the presumptions of today. This could really apply to many decades in history, some of which I think would really enable people to understand why certain achievements haven't been repeated because of the climate of the day (I'm thinking moon landing here...)

These thoughts were drifting through my head has I played with my new toy - a Samsung Galaxy 3. Compared with previous smart phones, this thing is quite big - the perspective shown with the pen here doesn't do it any justice. The screen alone is about the same size as the current iPhone.

In particular, I was having a look at the battery settings, and I took a screenshot because I was admiring the wealth of information provided in that 4.8in screen, and the technology it probably takes to obtain it.

From the top, I have a notification from my wife ready for me to make a move in our scrabble-esque game; a notification to update some applications; my alarm ready to wake me tomorrow; wifi action going on; battery percentage remaining; the time - and this is all in the top line.

I wonder what it takes to gather individual application data regarding battery usage!

Back to my opening line, imagine this device without the Internet - what would you have? Perhaps compare it to the first computer you ever owned (and I'm thinking people of at least my vintage here - remember Commodore 64 or perhaps an IBM XT using DOS 3.x)

I'd see myself holding in my hand a device that can take high quality photos; high definition video; operate various time keeping options; an alarm; a torch; calendar; diary; journal; book reader; road map; calculator; gaming device; audio player... oh, and a telephone!

I wonder what people from the '50s would think of a device that did all that, without even comprehending what all the features having Internet access can provide. Kudos to those in history who imagined a potential world. It's getting harder though - what are we going to have in the next few decades?

Regardless, sometimes I think we have to remember how lucky we are to have what we have.

Happy days,



Paul Moore said...

The thing that always amuses me is how close the original star trek communicators look to a (fairly retro-style) mobile phone. Which can only call one number...

Joel Garry said...

@Paul: Yeah, but one number over subspace!

My first computer was a PDP-11.

I know my family members would be totally stoked with a device like your phone. My parents had the first color TV on the block, the neighbors would come over to watch the only thing in color; Kraft commercials. I remember how cool it was when my cousin built a clock with a plasma display (he still has it, it still works). I still have some techno-weenie stuff of the time: a DeJur 8mm camera, a Super-8, my first calculator (Corvus-500 RPN), an 8mm/Super8 projector, portable fold-up typewriter, Polaroid camera, electric typewriter, pink Princess phone... at least the frickin' phone would always work if it was plugged in and the bill paid, I miss that. I've seen a couple of high school girls on the train out to take pictures with film cameras, one was an OM-2 - I have an OM-1...

Scott Wesley said...

@Paul - I was never a huge trekky, but I know what you mean.

@Joel - sounds like you've got a richer history than I!

@Everbody - with #MSL landing on Mars in the recent days, this posting matched my sentiments nicely: