The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 21, 2013

Murray: Remember the pre-iPhone days ot tech?

I was among the lemmings on Wednesday, dutifully downloading the latest Apple iPhone operating software, the one that would dramatically change the way I use my device and, hence, transform my life again.

Am I proud? Of course not. But as so many people say when they can't think of an intelligent comment for a given situation, "It is what it is."

The software came out, everyone will download the new version, and it just makes sense to be on the same page, even if it means descending further into the cult of Apple. I shouldn't complain too much about my phone. Without it, I'd never know where I'm supposed to be, or what I'm supposed to be doing. So there's that, to abuse another say-nothing cliche.

But as I sat there dumping tons of content that I actually use to make room for a gargantuan software upgrade I was hoping I'd like, I got to thinking about gadgets over the years and how they changed my life.

There's no doubt this iPhone is a good device. It's sleek, feels good in your hand and occasionally spits out a few surprises. But there's more to a good device than good looks.

It has not, however, had the kind of profound impact other devices have had.

Remember your first VCR? (Kids, just hold on a moment; the grown-ups need to talk.) Our first VCR was a piece-of-crap Sharp. It was a freebie my dad got from his work and looked like a silver boombox, complete with handle on top. It played the videotapes we'd rent from the new stores popping up all over the neighborhood, but it didn't have variable playback speeds like the VCRs my friends had, the ones that came from Sears and Montgomery Ward.

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