I wonder if electrical/electronic gadgets of the past were as hard to accept as those of today. Was the electric light bulb feared? Messing with God's business? Unnatural? Only for the rich?
What about the telephone? Who were the first users of the phone - men or women?
Radio was free, once the radio set was purchased. Wonder which came into wide use first - the telephone or the radio? I would think the radio. It brought music, entertainment, news.
The first time I talked long distance I was in high school, and my parents and I called my college-age brothers who had summer jobs at Hot Shoppes in Washington, D.C. We considered long distance calling as too expensive.
We've been into the information age for several years now. Some people latch on to every next new thing, while others have never touched a computer. Workers learn to use computers because their jobs demand it.
In 1969 my fellow troops were repairing computers that cost thousands of dollars, weighed hundreds of pounds, were programmed by punched paper tape. A few years later I bought my first hand calculator, originally $200 but marked down to $50 by Sears. The only thing the Army computer did was to calculate artillery range by triangulation. The cheaper handheld did square roots, trig calculations, and much more. Now you can get a good calculator for less than $5.
No computer today should be considered as a long-term investment. Just as many people in the 1950s traded in cars every year or two, computers should be handed down to friends and family every three years.
It's disappointing that more people aren't using computers and internet. Informational technology should be more readily available. Thanks to the extreme competition, computer technology improves as prices go down. Unlike the old companies such as Xerox and IBM, which stifled competition and kept prices high, the new giants are in competition with each other to continually improve products and decrease prices.
I attended my local Historical Society meeting today, associating with friends who are intent to preserve the stories of our community, but I left with some sadness, knowing that much of our history is disappearing, while technology is there to help save it. Students and young adults are drawn to the technology, but our most historic generation is lagging behind. Their wisdom and experience are needed to connect with today's tools to communicate, inform, share, and digitally preserve history. I hope that gap will be closed and soon.
William A. Ricks