Tri-City Ledger -

By Jim Stanton
Guest Columnist 

Technology has come a very long way


February 8, 2018

Thinking back on just how far we have advanced with technology makes me wander what we might see in the next twenty or so years. If you think about it we have made tremendous advances in transportation and communications along with other every day items.

When I was a youngster in the late fifties and early sixties, believe it or not there was still a couple of people in this area that their main form of transportation was a mule and wagon. Of course the roads were really narrow by today's standards, even highway 29 was really narrow and dangerous to travel. People must have been much more tougher back then because air conditioners in vehicles was still a distant dream for most people.

I remember the first cars that I ever saw with air conditioning were the ones added to the car by the owner, and were installed under the dash, they usually took up a good bit of leg room from the people in the front seat. Factory air back then usually ment in the tires. But wouldn't a lot of us love to have some of those old cars today.

We have sure made a lot of advances during the past few decades, now you would almost have to special order a vehicle without a air conditioner if you didn't want A/C.

One thing I remember from my younger days was people talking about flying cars, we may not quite be there now but with the advances in GPS and other electronics we aren't far from it. I guess one thing that was a little to far fetched for our minds back then that I can't remember ever hearing mentioned was a car that would drive itself. But as far fetched as that might have seemed several years ago we are just a step or two away from cars driving themselves now.

Communications is another area where we have seen great advances. Even through the telegraph and telephone have each been around for well over one hundred years I'm sure the inventors had no idea what they would become over time. Computers such as I'm writing this on have come a long way in the past several years, and today is a main way of communications for some people and companies.

Today's smart phones are something that a lot of us just about can't live without, but if you told someone just a few years ago how powerful a small handheld device would eventually become, you might have got a strange look from the person you were talking to.

I can remember not that long ago how I would have really like to have been able to check the weather radar or maybe my bank balance while at camp or on the road somewhere, now many of us do it without a second thought.

I remember many years ago on one of the first jobs I had, I worked with a man that installed and repair computers and memory banks. We were installing computers and memory in a new building that consist of large file cabinet size memory banks with the large reel to reel tape. The system was made of several cabinets all connected by cable. We were just about finished when the man I worked with made the statement that one day we would be able to get all that memory in just one of those cabinets, and not need the other six or eight.

We were just about laughed out of the building when he said that, everyone knew that would be impossible. Now I sometimes laugh when I walk by a shelf with memory cards smaller than your thumb but will hold a million times as much data as all those large cabinets would back then.

The Alger-Sullivan Historical Society meets 6 PM every third Tuesday of the month, this month it will be February 20th. We meet at the Leach House Museum at the corner of Fourth and Jefferson in Century. Though out the year we have several interesting guest speakers, this month our guest speaker will be Mr. Don Schroeder from Destin, FL. He will be speaking about living through World War II, Air Raid Nights and Radio Days, please join us, we would love to have you.


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