NOTE: The following article has almost nothing to do with genealogy. However, I find that most genealogists are also “micro-historians” who study their ancestors’ lives as well as the world in which they lived. Changes in technologies obviously had a huge impact on the lives of our forebears.
In this article, I will describe a new technology that probably will create equally big, or even bigger, changes in the lives of today’s families. I will suggest these changes should be recorded and preserved for our descendants to read and to better understand the changes we witnessed. Who is best qualified to record today’s changes? I will suggest YOU are the best person to record and preserve these revolutionary changes to our families’ lives.
The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
In case you have been hiding under a rock for the past 30 years, I would like to mention that the entire world has gone digital.
Here are just a few examples:
1. Old fashioned mail (often called “snail mail”) has not yet disappeared but has been dramatically reduced in the past 30 years. When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter (on paper) to a friend or relative, stuffed it into an envelope, addressed the envelope, placed a stamp on that envelope, and then delivered it to the post office?
2. Telephone communications have almost all been converted to digital communication, called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Your local telephone company has either already converted everything to VoIP or else is in the process of phasing out the remaining non-VoIP equipment. If you call a telephone across town or across the world, the conversation probably is converted to digital and then is transferred via VoIP connections.
3. If you have a cell phone (and who doesn’t have a cell phone today?), ALL communications to and from today’s cell phones are handled via VoIP. Most of the cellular companies phased out analog equipment several years ago.
4. Television is almost fully converted to digital. Do you remember the mandatory conversion a few years ago to high-definition television sets? Yes, those are digital television sets.
5. Are you watching Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney+. Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, or other streaming video services? Yes, they are digital and the video is typically delivered via the Internet, not over the air from a local broadcast station. These streaming video services probably should be called TVoIP (Television over Internet Protocol) although that term never caught on. Even so, streaming video services are a popular method of sending digitized video over the internet.
All these services, and more, have revolutionized our everyday lives. Perhaps even more impressive, all this happened in less than 30 years, starting with the invention of the World Wide Web in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. (See Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_World_Wide_Web for the history of the World Wide Web.)
So what is the “next big thing?”
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