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Opinions are fun. My friends tell me I am someone with lots of opinions and that's fine since I don't get mad at others when they disagree with me. In this same spirit I am interested in hearing yours views as long as you are able to share your views without boiling over. I look forward to hearing from you. I tend to write in the form of short essays most of the time, but contributions do not need to be in this same format or size. Some of the content here will date itself pretty quickly, other content may be virtually timeless, this is for the reader to judge.

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Wrapping up 2009                                                                                     Print this essay

Posted at: Dec/29/2009 : Posted by: mel

Related Category: Historical Insights,

These things are kind of fun to write. In the theme of fun I will make a best effort at avoiding being verbose.

Change is inevitable, how many times have we heard that…but that is the nature of humanity. We are continually changing our world despite how much we also resist change. Seems like yesterday that we were all worried about Y2K and how our technology driven world would be coming to an end. The world did not end and neither did change. Here is my summary list of changes in this first decade of the new millennia (in no particular order).

1.) Travel: remember when getting through an airport took only minutes. I recall a time when I could leave my shoes on as well. Thanks to terrorism you can’t even bring a bottle of water with you anymore.
2.) Cell Phones: I don’t know the numbers but 10 years ago you could find people who did not have them. Now my kids have them and I know households who have discontinued their land-lines.
3.) Fighting Fat: Being fat has never been good, but look at how we are now fighting it. Many airlines charge fat people for two seats, New York City has banned “trans fats”, and Alabama made the news for taxing overweight state workers.
4.) Blackberries: I have great childhood memories of going out with friends to pick this summer fruit. Considered an essential tool now by many I understand there are 10’s of millions of these little handheld devices in use. It’s not fruit anymore.
5.) Digital Cameras: 10 years the digital camera was a niche market and Kodak was a major corporation dominating the chemical based film industry. My collection of film cameras are all considered passé and you would be hard pressed to find anyone including your grandmother who doesn’t own and use a digital camera.
6.) Google: I know, Google has been around since before millennium...but they have transitioned from one of many to the dominate search engine in our internet world. How often do you answer a question with “I’ll just Google it” making them a cultural verb.
7.) Celebrity Chefs: Cooking shows have been around for a long time and have always been informative. Now we have Celebrity Chefs as hosts and media stars. The industry has even spawned competitive cooking shows. Who knew the Food Network could be such a force and cooking could be so entertaining.
8.) Facebook: I still don’t get the fascination with knowing that someone just brushed their teeth and all the other mundane details people seem to write about. Social Networking may be considered by some to be a passing fad, but Facebook brags that they currently have over 300 million users globally. It may be a passing obsession, but a lot of folks have jumped on for the ride.
9.) Reality Television: 10 years ago Reality Television was a few alternative programs wedged between music videos on MTV. The phenomenal rise of Reality Television even if the reality is choreographed in many cases continues to amaze me.
10.) Apps: “There’s an app for that!” The rise of the iPhone by Apple has become a touchstone for the whole technology and gadget industry. I should include here a reference to the iPhones older brother the iPod which is still very popular technology.
11.) BLOGs: Personal logs where you share your thoughts, log your events, and communicate for all to see. On the down side, privacy is gone. On the upside we all get to practice our writing skills, and sometimes learn something interesting.
12.) Twitter: This new entry into the social networking realm shows that you can talk about anything as long as you do not exceed 140 characters.
13.) Texting: “Hope u r rding this”. We go from BLOGs to Twitter to texting. How to say more and more with less and less. Actually I find all of this kind of humorous. In my youth I learned Morse-code. Like everyone keying their code we learned to communicate in shorthand that dropped nearly all the vowels and as many other characters as we could get away with. This is all very similar to the same style used in the era of the Telegram when you paid by the character. It is amazing how many new things aren’t really new.
14.) GPS: Being lost is ancient history. Leveraging the technology of an array of satellites once only available to the military you can use a handheld device to know where you are and where you are going to within a few meters virtually anywhere in the world. Yep, it’s true the technology existed more than 10 years ago, but now it is mass produced and affordably available to virtually everyone. Anyone remember the talking car the Jetsons had?
15.) Starbucks: Tough times have forced the closure of some of their stores, but it still seems like you can find one on nearly every corner. As a non-coffee drinker I have never been able to understand the obsessive behavior driving people to pay $4 for a something-something-latte. It was not that long ago that a cup of coffee was 50 cents.
16.) Going Green: From reusable grocery bags to compact fluorescent lights, the environmental concerns of the 1970’s has finally moved from being a fringe behavior to the mainstream. Green is not just a color anymore.
17.) Connectivity: The internet, email, instant messaging, BLOGS, twittering, texting, cell phones, blackberries, voice mail, and iPhones. There is no escape and no place to hide. If you boss wants you while you are on vacation, you better respond…you can’t say you didn’t get the message.
18.) Information Overload: For many years if you wanted to be informed you needed to read the newspaper and visit the library. With the explosion of the internet and all the related technologies the rules have changed. When is too much too much and how do we decide when we have heard too much? Worse yet, with nearly everyone able to publish, how do we discern fact from fiction and not over react?
19.) YouTube: Seems like the right time to mention this video sharing site. Started in 2005 it is now considered a factor in political campaigns. I guess you have not really arrived until that embarrassing video of you has been downloaded by 1.2 million people.
20.) Tattoos: Body art has spent most of the last 200 years being associated with fringe and outlaw groups. Long the staple of prisons, biker gangs, and a sailors weekend liberty ports, you can now find tattoos from butterflies, to Chinese characters, and virtually everything else you can imagine appearing on business executives and soccer moms.
21.) Wii: There have been a lot of advancements in the last few years with respect to video game technology, but I mention the Wii because of its physically interactive nature. You could actually work up a sweat playing a video game! You may never need to leave home again.
22.) Too Big to Fail: Who knew … and what a scary concept.

Of course there is also the phenomenon of Online Dating, DVR’s, Flat Screen TV’s, Sexting, Ugg boots, and Wikipedia. I am sure you could point out 20 more social, technical, or cultural changes of the last decade I missed. I started my list 3 days ago and don’t know if there is any such thing as complete.

What were the words of the Chinese philosopher “may you live in interesting time”.

Comments (2)                                                                                                                                                    [Add Comment]



I fondly remember picking blackberries from the side of the road at a gas station in Oregon where we stopped on our way to the World's Fair in Spokane lo these many years ago, but as to this decade...

I did hold out for half the decade before getting cell phones, and I'm still holding off on the blackberry/iPhone craze. When I see a kid with a headset on and a cell phone in one hand as he skateboards down the middle of the street, I can only think accident waiting to happen. I had one boss who was peeved that I waited until 8 in the morning to tell him that I had a plumbing problem at home and wouldn't be in, saying that he was available 24/7 by cell phone. I told him I hoped he didn't sleep with his cell phone, and that I wasn't calling anybody at 3 in the morning unless they could fix the problem.

Reality television is a product of the Hollywood unions. Reality TV writers (and of course actors) aren't in the unions, so the studios can produce the shows cheaper.

Sharon likes to say that her grandparents were born before the Wright brothers flew and lived to see man walk on the moon. If we're still on this planet in another 30 years, it will in all likelihood be amazingly different. We may even go back to the moon, I hope.

Posted at: Dec/30/2009 : Posted by: Frank Hood


Hey, Mel, very cool personal website. You got it "goin' on!" Love the dogs' pic. Regarding change...I remember when it was "in" for me to wear a man's tie to work because women were working so hard to be "liberated" and "equal" to men...I also changed my own car oil back in those days. However, fashion has swung 180 degrees the opposite direction since Gloria Steinem, it's about heels and even higher heels, that should come with their own health insurance package and an introductory video to podiatrists and chiropractors, by city. Change? Well, I am looking forward to owning a car that doesn't require oil at all. Happy New Year!

Posted at: Jan/03/2010 : Posted by: Glenda

Harold Geneen
In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.
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