As I am getting ready to watch the Super Bowl tonight on my amazing 100-inch screen via a Sanyo high-def projector that only cost me $1,600 bucks on eBay, I started thinking back about how much things have evolved (technologically-speaking) over just the past decade. I thought to myself, what sort of technology did I have at my disposal exactly 10 years ago today, on February 1st, 1999? Here’s the miserable snapshot I came up with:
- 10 years ago today, I did not own a high-definition television set, as they were too expensive (I bought my first one from Sears on an installment plan a few months later. It was a boxy 42-inch, 4×3 monstrosity that rolled around on the floor on casters and it took up half the room). Moreover, only a few HDTV signals could be picked up locally and none were yet available from my cable or satellite provider.
- 10 years ago today, the biggest television in my house was a 32-inch 4×3 ProScan analog set, which I thought was massive. (Of course, it was in terms of weight. It was over 125 lbs).
- 10 years ago today, I was still using a dial-up, 56k narrowband Internet connection even though I lived in downtown Washington, DC just 6 blocks from our nation’s Capitol.
- 10 years ago today, my computer was a Compaq laptop that weighed more than my dog, had barely any storage or RAM, and had a screen that was only slightly brighter than an Etch-A-Sketch.
- 10 years ago today, I was still occasionally using an old CompuServe e-mail address that had nine digits in it. (But at least I wasn’t one of the 20 million or so people paying $20 bucks per month to graze around inside AOL’s walled garden!)
- 10 years ago today, I was still backing up files on 3 1/2 inch floppy disks. I had boxes full of those things. (And, sadly, I still had 5 1/4 inch floppies in my possession that I was saving “just in case” I ever needed those old files. Pathetic!)
- 10 years ago today, I did not own an i-Pod, or any other sort of portable digital MP3 player. I was still hauling a box of CDs around with me everywhere I went and playing them on a bulky portable CD player that skipped whenever I bumped it. And I was still years away from downloading my first song or album online.
- 10 years ago today, I was still occasionally listening to cassette tapes in my car.
- 10 years ago today, I was still using a crummy analog cell phone that had ZERO options outside of just calling people (and I had to manually type in every single contact on the numeric keypad. But hey, that old StarTac sure looked cool at the time!)
- 10 years ago today, I was still driving to my local video store to rent movies, and some of them were on VHS tapes.
- 10 years ago today, I had never downloaded or watched a movie or TV show on my computer.
- 10 years ago today, I was still playing video games on my old PlayStation (as in PlayStation ONE) and was lusting for a Sega DreamCast. And the idea of online gaming was still a distant dream.
- 10 years ago today, I was still using a camera that required film, which I had to always drop off at the local pharmacy to be developed. And I was still over a year away from buying my first digital camera (and camcorder) that could transfer files to my computer.
- 10 years ago today, I had not yet made my first eBay transaction.
- 10 years ago today, I had never done any online banking, or any other monetary transactions online for that matter.
- 10 years ago today, I had not yet conducted my first Google search. I was still using AltaVista for almost all my searches.
- 10 years ago today, I did not have a blog, an RSS feed, a Twitter feed, any social networking accounts, Gmail, GMaps, Google News, Flickr, Firefox, Netflix, Wikipedia, satellite radio, or any of the other endless assortment of digital services I rely on today.
My God, think about how much our world has evolved in just 10 years!! I love capitalism.