Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday you were dialing home phone numbers via rotary phone, navigating Microsoft Word on a pixelated PC computer screen, and researching for your college thesis in real books (you know, before the Internet)? To no surprise, technology is changing—and fast! Everything started somewhere. There was always a first: a first cell phone, a first TV, a first computer, a first camera… But now more than ever, the pace feels nearly impossible to keep up with. We’re moving to an on-demand culture, and with quickly evolving technology, we inevitably must bid farewell to older gadgets. That means society must say so long to brick-like phones, land lines, VHS tapes, cassettes, and a number of bookstores. Here are some of the most noteworthy technology transformations:
FROM FILM TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography was born in the 1800s, using heavy metal plates to produce blurry, low-resolution black and white imagery that could only come to life using meticulous methods in a dark room. A phenomenal accomplishment, this initial attempt to capture our world in a photo is credited for the start of a fascinating revolution. Today’s tech allows photographers to capture life in the most realistic portrayal, bringing viewers into the scene as if they were there when the shutter released. We can flip through photos saved to memory cards, delete what we don’t like, and crop and edit what we see with the click of a button. And when the day is done, we head home to our computers, plug the camera into a laptop, and upload pictures straight to social media. Pretty mind blowing!
FROM ROTARY PHONE TO CELL PHONE
The first electric telephone was first invented in 1876, but long before then, telegrams and other acoustic devices were used to transmit speech. The human desire for communication is innate. Because of its importance in our world, we’ve revamped and reinvented early telephone models repeatedly, and what we have today would have been unfathomable to early engineers. That smart phone in your pocket that can make calls to anywhere in the world, search the Internet for infinite data, take high quality photographs, and play superlative sound? Yea, that’s pretty close to magic.
FROM PC TO MAC LAPTOP
Remember those days when you’d have to dial up a bulky, foot-thick PC computer and wait nearly 10 minutes for the screen to come to life? You’d browse a limited Internet (when we got internet in the late 90s, that is), which took seemingly forever to load, type in sentences that took equally as long to process, and shake with fear that the whole thing might collapse on you at any moment—all projects unsaved. Nowadays when you open up a Mac laptop—thinner than a finger and lighter than an apple (get it, Apple!?)—you’re immediately greeted by a 12-inch retina display. Here, you can browse today’s limitless Internet, upload photos, play music, download PDF files, read books, watch movies, and more. Robots sure have come a long way!
I got so upset when my mom threw out all my old Disney VHS tapes. That said, who likes to wait 10 minutes for a film to rewind before pressing play? (OK, so I admittedly really miss these.) VHS tapes were very sensitive. One little scratch or fleck of dust, and the whole performance is screwed. But with today’s ultra-thin discs that project astounding surround-sound and top notch picture quality, why go back? (Oh, and another perk? DVDs take up about a third of shelf space when compared to VHSs. Check out our other article on how to organize your familial treasures.
FROM CASSETTE TO IPOD
Rewind, fast forward, chug chug chug. You can hear the ticking backwards and forwards game of the cassette, yet you really have no idea where it will land. Will the tape stop at the sentence you missed, or will you accidentally pass it by a minute—therefore making you listen to the whole thing all over again? You want to hear the second track on the album? Good luck. Let’s be honest. Cassette tapes were a total pain in the ass. And while I truly miss my childhood sing-alongs (and yes, I still own them), I’m an even bigger fan of iPod shuffles, Spotify, and CDs.