Our Parents did it Differently, How Will Our Children Do it?
Whenever I see my Father typing an email to somebody or struggling to watch a video on his computer, I wonder how he has gotten along until now. I’m sure others of my generation have felt similarly about their parents. We have at our fingertips a multitude of communication vehicles that are largely foreign to the previous generation. And watching the previous generation try to use them can be somewhat painful to watch.
Watching him ‘hunt and peck’ for the letters on the keyboard, carefully composing his email with correct grammar, spelling, and all the formality you might expect in an actual paper letter, I can’t help but wonder how different his life and work must have been. I mean, just the idea that that someone can go through life and a career without learning to type completely mystifies me.
Perhaps it would be different if he had spent his life digging ditches, building houses, or delivering mail, but he had a desk job his whole life. He spent nearly 30 years as an Engineer, which I suppose is more of a numbers career, but I would imagine it would require at least some typing.
I work in technology. So, perhaps I am slightly ahead of the curve. But, to me and much of my generation, typing is a basic skill. We take it for granted. I was taught to type in high school and continued through college. It wasn’t a skill I practiced because it would help me with my school work or help me get a job – It was how I communicated socially…with everyone. Instant messengers, email, MySpace, blogs, facebook, it all required typing. If I wanted to talk to my friends, I needed to type. With my generation, being able to type became a foregone conclusion.
My dad was never taught to type and never had a need to type. So, he never learned and probably never will. I still love him. Things have just come a long way. Technology is different now than when he was my age. It makes me wonder how things will be when the next generation comes along that is so far advanced from anything we are today.
Perhaps every generation experiences this feeling that their parents lived and worked in some strange rudimentary world. As our technology advances at an accelerated pace, I’m guessing this sentiment grows more pronounced.
Looking forward, here are a few things that indicate where I think we may be headed:
Just about everyone I know has an iPhone. It’s already such a great piece of technology that’s changing things as we speak; many websites are creating versions of their site, specifically for the iPhone’s screen size at 480-by-320-pixels. Take a look at Fox News for the iPhone, eBay, or Realtor.com, just to name a few.
Shopping sites are starting to make iPhone portals, such as Amazon and eBay, which a great idea if a consumer is out and sees a product advertisement, they can go online immediately and place an order. I found this article on a new barcode that is being developed. It uses the camera that is already built into the iPhone as a barcode scanner. It will scan a barcode that might be on a billboard or a bus shelter advertisement.
Newspapers, I think, will also be a lot different. Many of them offer a complete version of their printed content on their website. Personally, I prefer consuming news via pressdisplay.com, which offers a great interface for news. It’s everything an actual paper is, without the cost of printing, paper, recycling, etc. You can get any newspaper in its entirety and just as you would see if you picked up one from the newsstand. I’m sure we’ll see ever more methods for consuming news in the future.
So, perhaps these examples offer a glimpse of whats-to-come. Feel free to reply with your discoveries and predictions.