Sunday, January 3, 2010

A decade of change


I was recently describing to my 11-year-old son how, when I was pregnant with him, I rented a pair of pagers so if I went into labor and wasn't with my husband or couldn't reach him by phone, I could page him.

Of course if I were in such a situation today (won't be, but if ...) I'd just call my husband's cell phone, or email him, or send him a text, or I'd reach out to one of the dozens of other people I could contact in a split second to hunt him down or come by and help me.

Communications technology and daily life has changed so much in a decade. (Do people even use pagers anymore? Would a child today actually know how to use a rotary telephone?) In 2000, when the magazine I worked for set me up so I could log into the office from home on nights and weekends, it was a two-day undertaking that involved DSL lines, unreliable connections and lots of oversized computer equipment. Seven years later I wrote a book while sitting in a rural Maryland coffee shop with my laptop and a wireless modem.

The attached list, 50 Things That Changed Our Lives in the Aughts, was compiled by Jocelyn Noveck of The Associated Press. It's an interesting recap of the decade's technical and cultural advances (and regressions?), such as blogs, Facebook, GPS, Wikipedia, Twitter, YouTube, iPods, Apps, Reality TV. Most of the list can be shared with your kids.
 

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