Thursday, June 19, 2008


The next generation will likely never know what a rotary phone is, much less a "landline" as it is defined today. No wondering how to call long-distance without an operator (an innovation from the 1960's), no wondering how to self-install a phone in the house (an innovation from the 1970's), no marveling at how phones work without cables & wires (an innovation from the 1980's), no wonderment at how a phone takes more than voice calls (an innovation from the 1990's), and no bewilderment at the amount of information & services available instantly from the touchable screen of a mobile phone (an innovation for the 21st century and beyond).

As one who has worked around wireless and telecommunications for several years now, I contemplate the progress of these technologies within the context of the ever-changing face of society. What our experience has become is the currently acknowledged "way we do it around here". In the next couple of decades, these methods and tools will become as archaic as the switchboard operator is to my generation (and a contemplation that can still befuddle those over 100 years old, some of whom might have never dialed the prefix '1' before a long distance phone call).

We are of a generation that no longer has any living connection with the Civil War and, very soon, World War I also (an article from the Tampa St. Petersburg Times recounts only one US veteran left from the "war to end all wars", as far as can be discerned by records and investigation). The feverish pitch is picking up to save what is now left of the stories of the "Greatest Generation" and the WWII veterans that helped to make the US the superpower that it has become.

What becomes of these lives we lead as so vital today is nothing more than tired stories for future generations that will struggle to relate. Contemplate we must, but trudge on we will, for the progress of our generation will sustain us and relegate us all to the same dustheap of history to which our forefathers have already contributed.
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