I often find myself thinking about the ways in which my everyday life has changed over the past twenty years. Usually, I take a step back and wonder how my mother – who passed away seventeen years ago – would view today’s world. Aside from the geopolitical changes that have taken place in the past twenty years, and the ways in which the landscape of our city has changed with explosive growth and development, there are the wondrous developments in electronics that have changed the ways we do business and the ways we spend our leisure time.
Twenty years ago, I started using my first PC at work. I recall having to put in a floppy disk every time I wanted to do any word processing. It would be another six years before a friend told me about what he thought would be the next big thing – something called the World Wide Web. Today, of course, it’s crippling when my DSL goes on the blink; my work grinds to a halt and I marvel at just how dependent I am on the Internet.
I look around my house and see all kinds of electronics that I couldn’t have dreamed of twenty years ago. Sure, I had an Atari way back when, but I never would have imagined that Pong would evolve into a myriad of video games that my family could play on the PlayStation, Xbox, and GameCube. Yes, I had a VCR, but I never would have conceived that the VCR would make room for the DVD player, and that my TV screen would grow to such large proportions. Nor could I have imagined that my TV would host such a myriad of systems: PlayStation, Xbox, DVD player, and DVR recorder.
And then, of course, there’s the digital revolution in cameras. Not only can I take photos and share them via the Internet, but I can also run slide shows on that same TV. I can take my digital camcorder, burn home movies onto discs and send them to relatives half a world away.
What’s even more amazing to me is that virtually all of the electronics consumer goods that I own have been given to me as gifts. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the bounty of an electronics revolution that I couldn’t have imagined twenty years ago. Which, of course, leads me to wonder what the next twenty years might bring in the wondrous world of electronics.