Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When will Skype be a thing of the past?

My granddaughter, who is only three years old, has learned to Skype—mostly due to her father’s recent deployment to Afghanistan. Technology has gone a long way in recent years into areas my grandparents or my children’s grandparents never dreamed of. 

My husband and I watched as my granddaughter bounced from one side of her living room in Tennessee to the other, showing us a large array of toys and stuffed animals. Then she took us on a tour of her bedroom, digging out buried treasures from under her bed, flipping switches on every musical toy she owned.

At times she wasn’t much more than a blur of garbled pixels, but the fact that technology spanned twenty-two hundred miles and let us get a glimpse of her everyday life was priceless.

However, technology is moving at the speed of light.  Items we believed to be indispensable thirty or forty years ago, are now nothing more than a piece of history collecting dust.

Transistor radios:  At night I’d sit on our back porch and slowly turn the dial, trying to pick up radio waves that drifted in the sky. Only these weren’t local stations.  Some, depending on things like cloud cover, would come from thousands of miles away.

Slide rulers: I never got the real knack for using them, but by sliding the middle of three rulers back and forth, anyone could do mathematic equations such as multiplication, division, roots, and trigonometry.

Vacuum tubes: Prior to the early 1970’s and before semiconductors, you could open up the back of a television or radio and find an array of vacuum tubes. They were a mystery to me, but my father was an expert at swapping them out for new ones.  I’ve learned they can still be found in some audio equipment such as guitar amps, and high-end audio components due to their reliability. 
So maybe I'm wrong.  Perhaps some of the technology we have today will still hand around for awhile.

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