What happened over the past 10 years? We came into the 2000’s with a budget surplus, a couple more buildings in Manhattan, and we were well-liked around the world. Suddenly, nothing seems the same and technology is changing by the day. We got rid of a few things over the past ten years, as well; some good, some bad. If you can think of any more, I’ll make another list. Here are five of those items that are now obsolete:
First they showed up as eight inches, then we shrunk them down to 5¼ inches. Finally, we got them to a mere 3½ inches and now…floppy disks are no more. The advent of the USB port has given us the thumb drive – a miniature hard drive you just plug into your computer and take with you anywhere. These hold gigabytes worth of information where the floppy disks barely will hold a handful of documents and pictures. Sadly, the passing of this computer product will stop comedians and their technology-related erectile dysfunction jokes.
Dial Up Connection
Believe it or not, there was a time in America that people would use a phone cord, plug it into their outlet and lost the ability for the phone to ring. They would then sign online, there would be a dial tone, some electronic noises, invariably a busy signal (and the process would start over again), and then you’d be online! Of course, you wouldn’t be able to download iTunes or any videos, the connection was too slow. Today, approximately 1.45% of the people are using dialup.
Losing Touch With Your Friends and Family
Back in the day, we had to use the telephone or write a letter to get in touch with our friends from high school or a family member that lived in another state. The other option, at least in the town where I grew up, was to go to the local watering hole on Thanksgiving to see who was in town. This all changed with the creation of the social network. Web sites like mySpace, and now Facebook, have helped to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in years. Facebook even has a way for you to make announcements about your life that can be commented on so you don’t even have to talk!
Long Distance Charges
What is this? We used to get charged extra money if you were a couple of towns over from the person you were calling. This could be an extra 10-15 cents per minute! The days of the $200 phone bill were not uncommon. Then, the commercials started: If you dialed in #13180379874829782989278917 before each call (simple, right?) you could cut that cost in half! This past decade, as cell phones became smaller than a breadbox, roaming charges started disappearing, and U.S. penetration neared 89%, the long distance charges faded away all together. Now if they can just expand nights and weekends to be free of charge all of the time.
Right to Privacy
Our last President thought this was a good idea. The Homeland Security Act, in an attempt to make us all safer, was quickly ratified and took away our personal freedoms like the right to privacy in the guise of protection. Put into law in 2002, following the 911 attacks, we forgot the warnings of past President Eisenhower when he warned us of the “military-industrial complex” and that if we were going to rely on the government for security, we were going to allow ourselves to be imprisoned. We now have lost certain rights: such as private phone conversations and access to our bank and medical records to a government sworn to protect us. It seems in 21st century America, security trumps freedom.