Friday Question of the Day

cell phone evolution – from nokia brick to sony-ericsson w810i – _MG_6192, originally uploaded by sean dreilinger.

Continuing the random theme for the Friday question – I’m wondering what piece of technology has had the biggest effect on you in your lifetime. I suspect we’ll learn people’s ages here a bit. I remember my Dad telling me how crazy it was when ball point pens arrived and you didn’t have to dip a pen in an ink well. I’m 33 and spent my formative years without the internet or cell phones. Despite being a blogger and all, I think for me the cell phone has had the biggest impact. It has become a part of me just like my keys. It is insane because I didn’t get a cell phone until 1999. So what technological innovation has had the biggest impact on your life?

19 Comment

  • It’s a toss up for me between internet and cell phone (I voted cell phone though).

    I tell my daughter stories about the pre-internet, pre-cell phone era. I don’t think she really believes me. Pre-answering machines too. I remember when it was extremely rude to call during dinner time.

    How the heck did we all do our homework before wikipedia?

  • The new Linux kernel with better hardware support.

  • I voted for cell phones, but I also think personal navigation via garmin/tom tom is pretty great too. It’s an evolution in itself, from paper maps, to mapquest/google maps, to garmin.

  • Guess I’d have to say cell phones, since I now know so much more about the lives of strangers because of them. There are even “Turn Off Your Phone” signs at my mosque.. (Doesn’t always work, but….)

  • I voted for the internet but honestly I think McGriddles constitute the most dramatic technological innovation I have witnessed in my short lifespan.

  • The yellow line that indicates a first down during a football game.
    But hands down, Tivo/DVR has changed the way I watch tv.

  • You can’t really separate the Internet and computers. The internet would not exist without computers. Beyond that, the integrated circuit is without question the most important invention of the 20th century, it’s at the core of all modern technology.

    That said, the invention that has had the greatest impact on my life is definitely the widget. At last, real pub draft taste from a can.

  • THE one-time Mailer media darling/prisoner/murderer Jack Abbott is in your contacts?

  • i didnt have a cell phone or a computer until i went off to collegein 2001…now im sad to admit that if i leave my house without my phone, i become scared.. what if my truck breaks down? what if im in an accident and need to call 911? what if i stop by wendys on the way home and need to find out if kalia or eddie want anything?!?

    some of my roommates in bburg who were grad students while i was undergrad used to tell me about how when they were freshman, you would have to get in a queue to get on the internet, and the professors still accepted hand written papers. ..crazy!

  • Probably the biggest technological advance that has affected my life over the course of my life — meaning I can remember a “before” and an “after” — is the Internet. It has made a huge difference in every single facet of my life, from my personal life (Hello!) to my professional life. I don’t remember a time before ball point pens or computers. I know there were times that my family didn’t HAVE a computer, but there was never a time that I can remember them just not existing.

    I don’t think of cell phones as quite so momentous, though I’m sure a very strong argument could be made for them as well.

  • Without GPS navigation in my car, I would be divorced by now 😉

  • Without GPS, I would never cross the river.

  • Sure, the computer, internet and cell phones are huge. But what has really changed my life is caller ID. I never have to pick up the phone and accidently take a phone call from someone I don’t want to talk to. I’ve been able to avoid certain people’s phone calls for a long time.

  • I voted twice….I couldn’t decide between cell phone or internet. So I voted for them both. I hope that wasn’t cheating. I feel naked if I go from one room of the house to the other without the cell phone in tow and I also am constantly worried about losing my cell phone. Seriously I have become so paranoid about losing my cell phone, it has handicapped me dearly in that I don’t know anyone’s phone numbers. If someone were to steal it or I lost it, I could call my cell phone, my work phone, and my friend from jr high’s parents on LI. None of which would help me if I was stranded and cell phoneless…SCARY.

  • Yeah, it’s got to be the cell phone, you can get the internet on the phone now as well as GPS. I was going to say the ATM, but the debit card has redered it a non contender now. I was waiting in line at the grocery store while someone filled out a personal check, I asked the dude in line behind me “you can still do that?” His reply, “I guess so. I do my banking on my phone.” ‘Nough said.
    What about disposable diapers?
    Does anything rhyme with PURPLE?

  • I voted internet. But my DVR is a close 2nd

  • Wait, when was the birth control pill invented? Better than the internet, not quite as useful without a cell phone, but seriously kicks the ass of any gadget Ive seen.

  • OMG! I know y’all are talking about your lifetimes, but REALLY FOLKS – the microwave oven is the single invention that has opened the door to everything else. You may find this hard to believe, but my kid, who is not yet 30, spent the first 5 years of his/her life w/o a microwave – and apparently has lived to tell about it (altho may have blocked the formative years). For those of us who wrote code just to access the Internet – yea, cool, but pretty much just an amusement. We’re talking life-changing here folks: try this: choose a partner, each of you make a list of the 10 “most important” technologies in your life, then take turns scratching one from your list, see what happens.

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