Recently, I had work done on my car. It was a weekday, which means that I had to find a place to check email and do some work. So I dropped the car off at the garage and found my way to the closest place that (a) serves breakfast and (b) has free WiFi.
As I flipped my laptop open and connected to the WiFi network, I remembered the days when WiFi didn’t exist. You had to get a colleague to give you rides to and from the mechanic. That made me realize how easy it is to take things for granted.
Life is good. Let’s appreciate some things we often take for granted.
There was a time when the Internet and the web didn’t exist. Later, there was a time when you only had Internet access at work. Then came dial-up modems. I remember the day I got DSL installed: I didn’t think a web page could load any faster.
Today, we have WiFi in businesses, we have 4G data in the palm of our hands and if we pay for it, we even have WiFi when we fly across the country.
2) Abundant computing power.
It’s been said that today’s smartphone has more computing power than the world’s top supercomputer of 25 years ago. Computers have become so powerful that technology was invented (virtualization) to take advantage of excess computing cycles.
My first computer was an IBM PC, back in high school. Back then, the “mega” in “megabyte” had yet to exist. Also, fast runners could complete a mile before a computer booted up.
Image via: Wikipedia.
Thank you, U.S. Department of Defense! Your Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was instrumental in building the Internet.
Later, you gave us the Global Positioning System (GPS). I have a horrible sense of direction. And I’m not the stereotypical guy: I ask for directions (often at gas stations). GPS first came to life on the dashboard of our car. Now, we have fully functional GPS apps on our smartphones.
Facebook has its ups and downs in the court of public opinion. Privacy changes, the roll-out and withdrawal of Beacon, etc. I use it to stay connected with family, friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, high school classmates and college classmates. There’s no other social network (or online service) that makes this possible. Thank you, Zuck and team.
5) Individuals as publishers.
It’s never been easier to share your thoughts and expertise and find an audience willing to listen. Blogging, microblogging, video blogging – it’s free, it’s easy and it’s fun.
I used to publish a New York Yankees blog. I sent a posting to a local reporter and got selected as the “Blog of the Week” in his Sunday column. What a thrill! Through blogging, Twitter and other online platforms, I’ve learned a lot and met a great number of great people.
6) On-demand media.
My kid’s generation was born into a world of on-demand media. Once they reach grade school, they’re using their parents’ iPads to consume content any time of day, from wherever they are.
I remember the day when the “prime” in “prime time TV” really meant something. On-demand media amounted to your VCR. Today, content is available in many forms, on whatever device we want it.
Life is good. Let’s not forget that.