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Technology

In my short lifetime I have been witness to many technological advances that no generation before me ever saw. I've seen the introduction of the cell phone, the home computer, microwave ovens, video games, breakthrough of television, million dollar motion pictures and the list goes on. Every one of these advancements has made an impact on my life. Some have added enjoyment while others have added stress.

Ever since I can remember my father has had an infatuation with new technology. If something new hit the stores on Monday, We would have it in our house on Tuesday. The first time this happened was when my father came home with Pong. I remember him immediately hooking it up to the television in my parent's room and we were amazed at the technology we were seeing. After the initial shock had worn off we would all gather in their bedroom after dinner when Mom would take on Dad and brother would take on brother and so on. Who would have thought that in less than twenty years that a square ball bouncing off two rectangles would be replaced by the likes of The Mario Brothers and Duke Nukem. After Pong came a new generation of video games like Atari and Nintendo, so of course we had to have the latest and greatest at our disposal. I can remember playing video games surrounded by my parents and brothers, who were all telling me which way to go or where to find secret clues, I still hate to think about those days because it was the end of my public appearances playing video games.

While all of the excitement over video games was happening I recall the outbreak of the VCR. Back then there was a choice between VHS or Beta, luckily my family chose VHS. I still remember the enormous size of our family's first VCR. It had to be at least three feet wide, two feet in depth and about a half of a foot high. It barely fit on top of our TV/piece of furniture. The tapes would be put in at the top, but in order to get it open you had to push the largest Eject button on Earth. I remember interrupting my brother's sleep over to catch glimpses of Conan the Barbarian. Once again a precedent had been set, so every year we would get a new VCR, always smaller and more advanced than the last.

Next in line for our family was the home computer. Our first was the Apple II Plus. My oldest brother had convinced my Dad that this computer would make everything in our house obsolete. So the next thing I knew they were clearing out a room in our house for the latest addition to our family, the personal computer. The plain green monitor cast a warm glow throughout our den for weeks on end. I don't remember my Dad going to work or my brother going to school. We thought we were the only people in the world who had this kind of technology at our disposal. As the months went on word spread through our town that my brother had become quite the computer genius and soon everyone in the neighborhood would be calling our house to ask my brother for help. It was amazing how quickly computers were becoming popular. My family continued to keep up with the latest programs the software companies could come out with, My first on-line experience took place in those first few months and I will never forget how bizarre it felt to watch someone else's words appear on a screen in my den.

Today my amazement in new technology continues. Every week I see thinner television with clearer pictures or faster computers or new home theatre systems. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that we survived all those years with such crappy television sets or VCRs but back then it was the best that was out there. Of course today it's harder to convince my Dad to buy the latest toys, but my brothers are always willing to be the first ones on the block with the latest technology. Today, my friends and I make fun of the stupid remote controls that our TV's had or how bad the graphics were on Nintendo. We also talk of the possibilities of what is to come in the future and we guess what TVs, video games or computers will be like when we have kids. The ideas are endless and we all look forward to the future. I do know one thing though, my kids will have no trouble convincing me to buy the latest technology, because I will be as excited about it as they are.

February 1999

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