As technology becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, it becomes harder and harder to imagine life without them – even though some of these technologies have been around for less than a decade.
In honor of Thanksgiving, we decided to take some time to appreciate those technologies that make our lives easier – most of the time.
It catapulted the @ sign from an obscure symbol (though rich in history) to iconic status. Email allows us to send messages without having to worry about the problem of logistics or synchronisation - but can result in a loss of context and information overload. We love it because we don’t have to pick up the phone every time we need to communicate with someone – but we hate it when we get back from a long weekend and our inbox is flooded with messages (and SPAM).
The technology itself seems almost archaic now, but imagine calling someone who is hard to reach – again and again and again – only to be met with endless ringing. (Actually, my father refuses to have both voicemail and text messaging – his theory: “What? If I see a missed call from you, I’ll just call you back.”) While text messaging is certainly taking the lead, voicemail is still widely used in the professional world. (Or, as I’ve experienced lately, a crucial part of the voicemail-email-IM combo.) Plus, voicemail allows us to use our favorite phone feature: CFwdAll > Voicemail.
Facebook is only 6 years old – and yet everyone under the age of 19 can’t imagine a world without it. Social web has presented a whole new lexicon – we tweet, we follow, we unfriend, we poke. And while Facebook is a great way to re-connect with your high school classmates that you never wanted to see again, and Twitter is a great way to see what @ConanOBrien is up to, it’s definitely made life for an IT professional a bit more difficult – policies must be created, sites are blocked, viruses are uploaded, and legal action is taken.
No more pulling out a map or atlas when you’re lost, or printing out GoogleMaps directions that direct you to jetski across the Pacific Ocean (see #43). GPS devices correct us when we make a wrong turn, can talk to us like Darth Vader, and don’t yell at us for not asking for directions.
Ok, so maybe we’ve turned into the smartphone zombies Windows Phone 7 claims us to be, but smartphones are pretty sweet. They’re not even really “phones” anymore – how often are you actually making a call when you pick it up? Most likely it’s to check the weather, answer a text, get on Facebook or take a photo. Plus, nobody misses T9 texting.
So while you’re looking up how to carve a turkey on your iPhone or using your Garmin to get to Grandma’s house, remember to pause and be thankful for the technology and devices that make our lives both easier and crazier. Above all, remember to be thankful for the family members, friends and co-workers that put up with us using them.