Roger had a list the other day of technologies that USA Today touted as the most important to come along since 1982, and he gave his opinions/thoughts on each entry. I figured, hey, why not do the same!
Don't have one. Someday I'm sure I'll get one, because there really is some convenience there, but I'm in no hurry. Plus, for all their usefulness, they're also too damned everywhere and they seem to turn otherwise-normal people into rude boors who think that their own personal connectivity to anyone and everyone is more important than being polite to people who are physically there. (And I have no interest at all in the iPhone. In fact, that one iPhone commercial that starts with "Suppose you're watching Pirates of the Caribbean...." actually annoys me. I can't take seriously the thought that watching movies on a screen the size of an index card is now supposed to be a good thing.)
I plan to buy one sometime in the next few months -- probably September. I just want to be able to write at my desk, as opposed to the family computer table, or to actually take the thing out to do some writing. I love to write in cafes and such places; cacophony and people-watching juice my creativity.
You know, I don't get the Blackberry, and I'm not even sure what the hell it does. Seems like a combination phone-and-palm pilot thing. No need for one at all.
4. Debit cards
Cool thing, but I don't have one.
5. Caller ID
Meh. I grant its usefulness, but for me, it's not that important, since we don't answer the phone anyway.
I love the DVD. I love them more than kittens. And I, for one, am flummoxed at the idea that we need a new and better format already.
7. Lithium rechargeable batteries
I like rechargeable batteries. They're neat. What else to say?
I don't own one. I suppose I'll get some kind of digital music player someday, but it's just not a priority. The CD is fine for me.
9. Pay at the pump
This is certainly useful, even though I pay with cash for my gas almost exclusively.
10. Lettuce in a bag
Now we're talking! I hate chopping lettuce, but I love being able to have a tasty salad in seconds.
11. Digital cameras
I love the digital camera. I love being able to make my own prints, to get photos directly onto the Web and the blog, and so on. (Note to self: Get off thy arse and pony up for a pro account at Flickr.)
12. Doppler radar
I suppose, although sometimes I think that the only reason it was invented was to give TV news shows an opportunity to do some masturbatory advertising: "You saw the approach storm FIRST on Channel 2' LiveDopplerTwoThousand!"
13. Flat-panel TVs
Yup, I'd love one. Our current computer monitor is actually a flatscreen, and the first time I watched a DVD on the computer, I was astonished at how much more movies look like movies on the flatscreen LCD monitor than on my standard cathode-ray-tube teevee. It'll be a while before we get one, though -- maybe whenever it is in the next couple of years when the TV signals go all-digital.
14. Electronic tolls
Sorry, but screw the tolls. Seriously. Especially here in New York, where tolls go to provide funding for the "Thruway Authority", a governmental body whose only job is to oversee the New York State Thruway. What is so damned special, though, about I-90 in New York that it requires an entire bureaucracy of its own?! I'd just ditch the Thruway Authority and just turn I-90 over to the Department of Transportation.
Really? This is the Wonder Bread of technological innovations. It's everywhere, and yet I can't tell where it's made anything better. I've been in on many a potentially-fascinating lecture that, distilled to a series of slides on a computer, became "Meh".
16. Microwave popcorn
I confess: I love microwave popcorn. I also love regular popcorn, but I almost never pop it the right way anymore. (By the way: the best traditional corn popper I've ever discovered is the Chinese wok. Works better than those electric corn poppers. And air-popped popcorn is the tool of the Devil.)
17. High tech footwear
What is high-tech footwear? Scientifically-designed Air Jordans? I'm a Birkenstocks-and-overalls type, and I buy my shoes at Target and Payless.
18. Online stock trading
Sure. Because the world needed a way to take capitalism and give it a stiff shot of meth.
19. Big Bertha golf clubs
I don't know a thing about these, but if they help me putt my ball past the big windmill on Hole Six, bring 'em on!
20. Disposable contact lenses
I don't wear contacts. My glasses are only necessary for reading and computer stuff, so these have no effect on me at all.
Meh. For this kind of thing, I prefer a treadmill with a programmable hill-resistance thingy. (I've actually been doing a lot of walking lately, because I've decided that I've backslid on my health long enough. I take the personal CD player and hit the road for an hour, most days. No idea if I've lost any weight yet, but time will tell when my clothes start feeling looser.)
No opinion whatsoever. Don't have it, no plans to get it anytime in the foreseeable future. Sounds cool, but so do lots of things.
I like liquid hand soaps just from the neatness angle -- no bar of soap oozing all over a soapdish on the bathroom counter -- but I don't much care about the anti-germ thing. The idea is to get germs off your hands entirely, after all, so bar soap works fine for that.
24. Home satellite TV
Heh. We're using rabbit-ears.
Huh? This is better than the compact disc? I had some fun times at a karaoke bar in college (never sang myself), but come on. The CD made music sound so great, and setting aside all the crap about record companies charging absurd prices for them, the CD is terrific. I still have the first CD I ever owned (Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie), and it still sounds great. Since I got my first CD player for Christmas in 1988, with that disc being one of several my parents threw in to the package, that means I've owned that disc for eighteen-and-a-half years. Will MP3's still be the way we're listening to music in 2025? Somehow I doubt it.
What about widespread GPS technology? Or the friggin' World Wide Web? Yeah, the bones of the Internet existed before 1982, but not the Web. And I'd cite digital visual effects in movies. Lots of people complain about rampant CGI in movies, but frankly, the crap-to-goodness ratio back in the days when effects were models and matte paintings probably wasn't any less than it is now.