There are so many things that technological advances have added to our lives. I know many of them I take for granted. My 96 year old grandmother has seen so much change in her lifetime and I often wonder at her perspective on it all. I asked her once if she could name a thing or two that she thought were the best things she's seen become commonplace in her lifetime and she answered with "indoor plumbing" and "washing machines". My grandmother was a mother of 6 so both of these "bests" seem quite fitting. :)
But, since I've always had indoor plumbing and a washing machine handy, I was trying to think what I'd consider my top two things. I'd certainly not be very happy if I had to head to the outhouse or wash my clothes in a bucket with a scrub board, but I don't think that either of those things is something I'll ever have to revert to doing. I'll bet, if you've read my recent blog posts, you'd think I'd say the Kindle or the MacBook. :) Well, I think I can certainly say that many of the cool gadgets I use every day are in my top 10, I think what is at the top of my list is of a slightly different, although related, caliber.
First, the explosion of services that allow me to do many of the tasks I used to have to do in person to be done over the internet. Banking. Shopping. Research. I can't remember the last time I went into a bank. The closest I've come is the drive-thru ATM. My paychecks are deposited electronically, I pay all my bills with internet banking. I can order books, clothes, toys, gifts, movies, music and even order my groceries and have them delivered to my door. I can research any topic with ease and get piles of information (admittedly, some not so good) within seconds.
Second, how easily and readily I can communicate with anyone, anywhere. I have my mobile phone, internet phone, land line phone, email, blogging... The ability to connect with people is so easy. Some people feel that we've taken it too far and that the pervasive use of communication technology is taking away from the time we have instead of adding to it. I think any tool or technology can be misused so that it leads away from the problem or situation it was invented to help. But, in general terms, having this particular technology available (in my opinion) makes communicating and staying connected with people so much better and easier.
There are so many things that advances in technology bring and I can't really imagine all the things that I'll see in my lifetime if I live to my grandmother's age. But, I have to say I'm glad I'm part of this generation and not my grandparent's generation who had the experience of visiting outhouses and doing wash by hand! If the worst "remember when" I have to share with my daughter is that I once only had a corded telephone, that's OK by me.