The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill., Bill Flick column
Jan 27, 2013 (The Pantagraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
As a man in his 50s, let me just say I've seen some amazing technological advances in my lifetime.
When I was a kid, our phone was connected to a wall and my sister and I had to take turns waiting to use it.
We turned on the TV, had to wait a minute for it to "warm up" and the color was so awful, Ed Sullivan's face was either asparagus green or so crimson, you wondered about his blood pressure.
We had one car ... for the entire family.
We even had to make our own ice cubes!
(This is all the truth, kids ... I would not kid here.)
But only a few dozen years later All of life is different. Change itself is ever-changing.
In fact, the other night during all the inauguration proceedings, a CNN panelist asked a question I'd not pondered: Technologically, had Barack Obama's first four years also witnessed the biggest changes in the history of simple, everyday American routine -- thanks to all that has come into prominence, like everything wireless, online shopping, Google, the "explosion" of web sites and (drum roll here) the "smart" phone.
As a curmudgeon and longtime crank, all I will say is this: Of all the tools of innovation since the '70s, I don't think anything is as big as that little "smart" phone.
They used to talk about how amazing a personal computer was.
But have you thought about your phone lately
On my own phone, while still just a novice, I now keep a weekly grocery list and what I need at the drug store or Sam's. It stores hundreds of phone numbers, has a calendar that logs all my times and dates, keeps my music and let's me roam the Internet. It has GPS, gives me the 15-day forecast, allows me to post on Facebook and awakens me each morning with harp chords in the key of B-flat.
It has a dictation app in which I speak into my phone and it transcribes my voice and sends whatever I said to my computer at the newspaper office downtown. It counts my calories and finds me the nearest restaurant, service station or hospital. I can play Yahtzee, check my stocks, make a bank deposit, see what's on TV, watch a show, figure out my restaurant tip or simply wave my phone at Walgreens or CVS to get a discount.
With one finger-punch, I can see -- at this very moment -- the location of the "Blue E" bus from B-N Connect Transit that passes near my home, or instantly check on a movie at any theater in town -- and get a preview, too.
I can read stories in this newspaper, map my walk or run, check my heart rate, hold my phone to the sky at night and have the constellations identified, use it as a flashlight or wall level, check my flight on a live radar or ask for the price of that home for sale over on Inglewood Lane.
I can take pictures and, with three little lenses (telephoto, macro and fisheye) I bought myself for Christmas, can also get a better photo with my phone than with my camera.
I wonder how incredible a kid must have felt when his Dad came home from work one day on his horse and exclaimed, "Hey, I have something out front that's weird but cool -- it's called a car."
I wonder how amazed folk must have been when in the '50s he pushed aside a radio and, via something called "television," got a moving picture.
And now, here I am, with a "smart" phone.
What'll they be doing by the end of Obama's second term Taking chest x-rays Pre-programming my car for the drive to work Warning me of a heart attack (Thursday's "Rock Center" with Brian Williams had a feature on an app) Writing this column
(OK, you can hope, right )
Hey, as they joke on that TV commercial, did I even mention I also can make phone calls with it
This column Just for fun, it was sent to the newspaper Friday -- using my phone. Amazing times.
Bill Flick is at firstname.lastname@example.org
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