Thursday, January 6, 2011

Further Forays Into Technology

I remember vividly sitting on a bench with my grandfather in Ft. Tryon Park on a particular Sunday in my early twenties (Sunday mornings back then were leisurely affairs that always involved bringing the children to spend time with their great-grandparents up in the park - When did they become all about household chores such as laundry and shopping? Oh, right! When I stopped being a stay at home Mom ;) ).

In any case, the conversation in question centered around my grandfather's recounting of how in his youth, he had built his own transistor radio. He told me of the sheer excitement and magic of discovering and being a part of this new and wonderous technology.

We began discussing all the changes he had seen in his lifetime. Then, in my youthful foolishness, I said to him, "But Opa - I'm never going to witness these kinds of things, because there's nothing left to invent". When I remember that moment - and I often do - I don't know whether to cringe at my naivete or laugh at the irony.

You see, I've become the old grandparent on the bench. Not only have I witnessed unimagined technological advances in my lifetime, but I've watched many of those breakthroughs fall by the wayside and become utterly obsolete. Needless to say, I've adjusted my opinions a bit since that sunny day in the park. Radio? Records? 8-Track (please, please don't say, "Huh? What's that?"), cassette, walkman, CD, discman, ipod, iTouch, iPhone.....

I recently got an iPhone. One of our young Shabbos guests sweetly said to me, "Wow! G6! That's so wonderful!!! Not everybody your age would be so brave as to try to work with that!!!!" (Feeling old much, am I?)

But I must tell you that although I'm not in the slightest bit daunted by it, I AM pretty impressed with certain features though.

Who knew that the iPhone actually learns your lingo? The more you use it, the more it learns. Its built in auto-correct feature will offer to finish typing words for you when it thinks it recognizes what you are typing, in order to save you keystrokes. Less than a month and my iPhone already recognizes all the names of my family members and ... what else...? The word Shabbos! :D

My iPhone knows exactly where we are. Even when I don't. It can give me directions, point me towards mizrach and give me all the zmanim on any given day for the exact spot I am in (MY FATHER WOULD HAVE LOVED THIS!!!!).

I can't wait to deposit my first check via the iPhone! (Seriously, I'm all aflutter.) I will simply photograph the front and {signed} back of the check and send it off! Now what's coming next?


BLD said...

You can also look into it and see if your tefilin/tichel are straight.

ProfK said...

It also works perfectly to hold a book open to the page you are on if you need to answer the door.

You missed one of those older inventions--reel-to-reel tape. I still have my dad's tape machine purchased in 1957. I figure if I hold on to it for a while yet some museum might pay money for this "historical artifact." And then there is the projector that plays 8mm film.

FBB said...

This is such an interesting observation.

Though, I wonder if our technology changes are as drastic as the ones from previous generations.

It's more like our technologies have evolved and in the earlier generations the actual product was invented.

The walkman to the ipod is definitely a change, but not really that drastic. They're both portable private music devices.

Cell phones I would say are more drastic, but they too came after cordless phones. A generation that went from one phone per house (or a few houses), to phones that can be answered on your ear is quite a jump.

Avram said...

I still remember when your grandfather was amazed that we could pick up the phone and shop from a catalog. The idea of everyone having a home computer never even came into question, much less shopping online. And now you can shop online from your phone!

G6 said...

FBB - I'm not sure I agree with you. Although inventions naturally tend to build one another, I'm not sure how you can claim that there is nothing new.
Microwaves, sattelites, nanotechnology, bluetooth technology, touch screen technology - I can't even BEGIN.
Now, those of you old enough to remember (and secure enough to admit it) and who watched the old TV show "Get Smart" will fondly recall his 'shoe phone', which was intended to be the height of ludicrousness at the time. Today? It's possible. (Maybe the 'cone of silence is next, LOL).
Avram - Only shop via phone? My iPhone can scan the bar code of any product and then proceed to tell me where I can get it for the best price. If the store I'm in isn't the cheapest, I can leave.

Hasya Ya'ara said...

Modern Technology is leaving me far behind. Sometimes, I do not feel ready for it all.

wolfman said...

i dont think you were being foolish at all. If you consider how little world changed until almost the end of the second decade of the 20th century and look at all the advances SINCE your comment anyone at that time and place would have said the same thing. Your grandfather surely was born in a world of outhouses and dirt roads with difficult communicationa and very difficult travel. after living through a moon landing, intercontinental jet flights and telex and facsimile machines, not to mention all the "little" inventions we dont even consider anymore (telephone, electric washer/dryer, air conditioning etc etc)it is understandable that people would assume that the world had seen all the inventing there was to invent.My grandfather had one of the earliest "cam-corders" whch consisted of a very large video camera and a separate carry along "VHS" system, my father once commented to me that one day video tapes would be the size of a cassette tapes, i was incredulous at the thought but even he could not have conceived of DVD's and certainly not mp3's etc. The world has changed more in the past 90 years than in the previous 1800!

Yekke Wannabe said...

You could be the only one with an iPhone that doesn't text.

YW said...

Speaking about this tech stuff I showed my 91 year old friend from shul on my phone his block that he grew up in Germany and where he went to school and where his mother took him swimming in the water and where he was when he fought in the U.S. army. He was amazed to see that all the stuff is out there and i really enjoyed hearing him speak about growing up in Germany.