From Parlor to Palm

With the speed by which the world of communication is
changing, every once in awhile I stop and try to take it all in. This is one of
those times.

Back in 1987, while Bon Jovi was replacing Debbie Gibson on
the radio and I was just getting rid of my amber computer monitor, I remember
talking with some friends about the state of entertainment and information at a
radio gathering. We were talking about where technology had led us and where it
was headed. The days of the family huddling around the radio in the parlor were
well behind us, radio and TV had made an indelible mark on all of us. We had
all had made enough “mix tapes” and boy weren’t those CD things cool, and the
internet? Hey, it might just take off.

After many beers and some very in depth thinking (tequila
shots) we were sure that there would be one “box” where you would receive all
your entertainment and information including TV, Radio, Music, News, etc. You
know, the “console” on high-tech steroids. You remember the “console”. Radio
(AM and FM!), TV, record changer, and 8-track all in a “luxurious piece of
furniture”. Many even had a remote. Remember that loud “snap” when you pushed
the channel button. Of course that’s really where the computer is…almost.

But back in ’87 (insert “old-timer” voice here) we had no
idea that brick we called a cell phone would evolve into the very same thing
and fit into the palm of your hand. Clearly, we would have needed many more
beers to even start that discussion.

Imagine where we are going, not to mention how fast we’re
getting there. Our kids can “text” faster than they can type (and some faster
than they can think), e-mail is easier to get than a letter, pay phones are
harder to find than Debbie Gibson music, and we can listen to what we want when
we want. You can watch TV or surf the net (Of course, better TV and speedier internet
is just around the corner.). If you’re lost, just open your GPS (now I really
don’t need to stop for directions) and if someone wants to find you, your phone
can be located the next time you use it (Yeah, the Bourne Ultimatum made me a
bit paranoid. You?).

What kind of habits do you have? The phone can relay your audio
and video usage without you doing anything more than standing near a radio or TV.
Family photos, more addresses than a Rolodex the size of a Volkswagen, your
financial records, and a Village People ring tone, all right there in your
hand. You might even be reading this on your Smartphone. And have you been to a
concert lately? The folks that make Bic lighters are pissed!

Whether you think this is a great way to save time, or just
a big intrusion on your life, you have got be amazed. Of course, our kids know
no other way…imagine what they’ll be coming up with when they are hanging
around talking to friends in 2017. “Hey, remember when we use to gather the
family around the old Nokia?”