Good Intentions With Inventions

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, October 27, 2011

The other day I was watching some video gone viral of an infant who had grown up in the iPad age attempting to scroll a magazine. It was funny, as the child's tiny hand whisked across the magazine again and again in an apparent attempt to change the screen.

To him, that's the way things are supposed to work.

The late Steve Jobs and the like have changed how we live.

While I don't have an iPad, I can't help but wonder at the changes that have already occurred in recent years and the joys (?) children of today will miss out on like…

Letters. It sounds almost funny that a letter can bring joy. Almost no one, it seems, writes them any more. Now we write what we write on a computer or some keypad gadget, Facebook it for all of our friends and family, or email it. It's quick and easy (and frequently grammatically challenged) to get it out on the worldwide web, but gone from memory with the press of a delete button.

Soon, I fear, there will be no more permanently penned letters for future generations to share, though I'm certain they can be archived and forwarded as a PDF file.

Three Channels. Back in the day (now I am sounding old), TV viewers had three options in this neck of the woods: NBC, ABC, and CBS. Children today have an all cartoon channel, teen shows, tween shows and everything in between shows. We were stuck with three stations with network and local reruns trying to meet the needs of all viewers. Maybe that's why we played a little more outside, built forts and climbed trees. We just didn't have enough things on TV to watch.

And TVs. In just a few years, no one will have a TV that isn't HD, flat screen and a bazillion megapixels. It's probably hard to find a home now that hasn't made the switch. Don't you (those of us who remember) miss the bulky tube-type console models that took up the living room floor? It seems like only yesterday…and, in reality, it may have been just yesterday that those old fashioned units were pushed into retirement. Those dated TVs that once sold for hundreds of dollars are frequently spotted next to green box waysides awaiting final burial. And VCRs and tapes-have a hard time giving them away. No, folks nowadays can check out movies through a game console on line and digitally record things. No tape, no DVD necessary. And, sadly, few of today's kids will ever know what it's like to rewind a tape to return to a rental store or physically change the channel on a TV by turning a plastic knob.

Video Games. A single bar, a square ball and a knob that went up and down. I remember my first video game. Had to have it, and received it for Christmas when I was a mere youngster. It was a single console that offered such thrilling games as handball, tennis and hockey. Oh, rather than figures on the screen to manipulate, we had mere dashes of lines controlled by two players out of a single console. And it was such fun. We had to wait for the next generation and stick figures and individual controls.

Today children have hand-held gaming units that can supply hours of fun, game systems that echo the physical moves of players, and players can design their own on-screen characters.

Oh, we could go on about how much things have changed from rotary to cell telephones to computers with spinning tapes that once filled rooms to memory on a stick.

Much has changed technologically-changed all of our lives for good. It all seems rather drastic, of course, but, perhaps, nothing is quite so new. Every generation probably feels the same shift. I'm sure our parents must have been astounded at our adaptability to their changing world, too.

But they just didn't have the option of posting such silly videos on the Internet.