Technology Advances Transform Our Lives
At the beginning of each year, I create a new folder on my computer to hold the coming year's columns for The Pilot.
This year, as I typed in "Pilot Columns 2010," I realized that it was the start of a new decade. We move from the 00 years to the 10s.
Some are calling the previous decade the uh-ohs. From the beginning of the decade, with the introduction of global terrorism, to the end of the 00s, with economic tribulations, there were many problems and missteps. But if you look at technology during this decade, rather than troubles and tribulations, you will see a slow evolution of growth and advancement.
In my New Year Pilot column for 2001, I made some predictions. Here are the predictions and the results:
n The Internet will be faster for many. During the past decade, millions of new Internet users were added to the online community. Millions more upgraded their Internet service to the faster broadband service. Some are even using high-speed fiber optics to access the Internet. (Unfortunately, not in our neighborhood.) The Internet has become so much a part of our lives that the word "Google" has been added to the dictionary.
n Home networking will make its appearance. Both Microsoft's Windows 7 and Apple's new Snow Leopard operating systems have home networking built in. Both companies are offering family packs for three home computers. Millions of families now have two or more computers in their homes.
n Music will continue to merge with the computer.
The iPod was introduced in 2001 and you know the rest of the story. People everywhere have wires hanging from their ears as they listen to digital music.
Millions have digitized their music collections on the computer and download that music to their portable players. It is even becoming popular to use iPod docks or media extenders to listen to the digitized music throughout the home. Millions are also using their computers and Internet radio stations to listen to music from around the world.
n Digital photography will become a popular hobby. No one will argue that digital photography has become the norm. I haven't seen a nondigital camera in eons. When the flashes go off, whether it's at sporting events or a birthday party, the cameras are all digital.
n Wireless and portable will be hot. Millions of people access the Internet from their portable netbooks, laptops and/or smartphones. They can use WiFi in places like Starbucks and Panera Bread. Some also use a cellular connection to hook up just about anywhere. Wireless and portable are the hottest things out there today.
n Internet appliances will face a shakeout. You might remember the push for Internet appliances back in the year 2000. They faced a big shakeout and have re-emerged as the netbooks, which were one of the most popular types of computers in the last few years.
Several things that I did not talk about at the beginning of the decade have also changed our lives.
Everyone from Luddites to great-grandmothers are now using cell phones. Some of you, like me, have even given up your land line and gone all cellular. And millions of you now have smart cell phones such as the iPhone that let you surf the Web, play games, get satellite directions and play music.
Television has undergone a huge transition. We now have televisions that are larger and thinner than we ever dreamed of. We have TiVos and video recorders that let us replay live television and time-shift our viewing to suit our individual schedules.
Hi-definition televisions and Blu-ray players produce amazingly detailed pictures. With the introduction of high-profile 3-D movies such as Avatar, we may even be moving into a three-dimensional world for both movies and television.
We don't want to forget about the many wildly popular Internet sites that have become a vital part of our world. We now have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can connect with friends from around the world, get a minute-to-minute rundown of what everyone is doing and see videos of everything from dancing cockatoos to how to stuff a turkey.
Yes, our lives have certainly changed in the last 10 years. This brings us to ask, "What technological advances will better our lives in the next 10 years?" We may have some big breakthroughs. Perhaps we will find the cure for cancer. Or maybe we will find a way transport objects on beams through the air. Or maybe someone will come up with a viable flying car.
There may or may not be any really big breakthroughs in the next 10 years, but you can bet on one thing: Technology will continue to transform our lives in ways that none of us can even imagine.
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comments on today's column. Please post them on the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/happycomputing.
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