25 ways technology has changed our lives
Why mail picture postcards to friends and family during your vacation, and take the chance that it will arrive after you’ve returned home or never arrive at all, when you can so easily take photos with your smartphone and send them instantly with a text or email message or share them on Facebook?
Video: Accidental inventions
Fold a map
Few people these days bother with traditional road maps when they can use apps such as MapQuest and Google Maps to figure out where they’re going, or the GPS systems in their cars or on their smartphones to help them get there.
Cash a paycheck
There used to be long lines at the bank every Friday as people lined up to cash their paychecks, but today most employers deposit wages directly into their employees’ bank accounts.
Invest in a set of encyclopedias
There was a time when a person could make a good living selling encyclopedias, and many families were proud to provide their children with such a comprehensive source of human knowledge, but the Internet made paper encyclopedias obsolete.
Buy a newspaper
For hundreds of years, newspapers were how most people learned what was happening across town or around the world. Today, we still crave news but we get most of it online, instantly and, in most cases, free of charge.
Listen to portable cassette or CD players
Who needs all that hardware? Rather than haul around a few tapes or CDs and a clunky machine, we can store thousands of songs in our pocket-sized smartphones or MP3 players, or tune into Internet services such as Pandora or Spotify for even more musical choices.
Remember that neat trick of dialing *69 to find out who called you? Today, billions of people have caller ID as a standard feature on their phones.
Scholars have been mourning the lost art of conversation for years, and now letter writing is going the same way. With so many people communicating through email, instant messaging, text messages and social media, few of us choose to write letters anymore.
Do research at the library
Public libraries are great community resources, but technology is changing the role they play in our lives. If kids go the library to do their homework now, they bring a laptop computer and use the library’s Internet connection to do their research online, which most of them could do just as easily from home. So they’re really just there to hang out with their friends.
Consult the Yellow Pages
The idea of a printed telephone directory to help customers locate businesses seems almost quaint in an era when so many companies have their own websites and consumers post reviews online to help other people determine which business can best meet their needs.