When I was 5 years old we had a phone like the one pictured above.
Like everyone else, we didn’t own it, we leased it from Bell Telephone.
By the time I left home at 18 to go to college, it was still the same phone.
And it worked in the same way.
Last month, I went down to the ATT store in chinatown (the best in NY), and traded in my old
Blackberry Edge 8800 for the new Blackberry Bold.
I opted against the Blackberry Storm, but I am still torn between Blackberry and the iPhone. Maybe I will trade in the Bold for the iPhone. I am not sure.
Now, there was nothing wrong with my Blackberry Edge. It is not as though the trackball fell off, or a few keys fell out (as often happens in my dreams). No. I just felt it was time for an ‘upgrade’.
The 8800, of course, replaced a Treo 800, which in its course had replaced a Treo 750 which had replaced a Treo 650. Prior to the Treo there had been a run of Nokias. And before those, in the dark realm of history, had been a run of those Motorola flip phones. God only knows what I did before that, but I have a vague recollection of a pager… but one you could text on.
This is the run of our technology today.
Faster and faster replacements.
I am writing this on the new Mac Book made out of one block of aluminum, so they tell me. That replaced a black mac book which was made out of something else, and that replaced a silver mac book, which replaced a titanium mac book, and so on, all the way back to that orange thing that was made out of plastic, which replaced the Sony which replaced the IBM, which leads all the way back to the TRS 100 I still have in my closet because it is the only computer that runs on D batteries, if you can find them, and who knows what could happen in the event of a global disaster.
Does this make sense?
Like the phones, the upgrades on the laptops keep coming faster and faster and faster.
This is all, I think, a function of Moore’s Law, which says that microprocessor speeds will double and costs halve every 18 months. This has held true since 1965 apparently, and seems to have no intention of going away. And as each doubling of so large a number results in so much larger a number – faster chips for half the price, the technologies that get swept into this continual recasting get larger and more complex.
HD cameras that sit int he palm of your hand and cost a pittance. Drives that hold terraflops and cost less than a donut. Phones that do everything from email to video to GPS. In fact, I hardly ever use my phone for an honest to God phone call anymore.
We are riding a hockey stick of technology.
That is, we are in the sharp upward curve of transformation vs. time. Faster and faster, steeper and steeper.
Where does it end?
Do we reach a point where the continual acceleration of technological change and the endless need to upgrade and replace no longer makes any sense?
Do we achieve a point where the day after I have bought the blackberry Bold there is a new blackberry released which obviates my old one?
And does it really obviate it?
I mean, the Treo, the Nokia, the Motorola… all of them still worked just fine.
And they still do.
If I could find the right charger to go with the right phone. I saved all those as well. You never know.
It is not as though the Treo stopped working.
And the Bold seems to work just fine.
And did I really need an iMac cast out one piece of aluminum?
Sometimes I feel like going back to the old dial up phone and just living with that for a while.
Except of course, I hardly ever call anyone any more.
All I do now is text.