IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Sunday, February 1, 2009

10 Years Ago Today... (Thinking About Technological Progress)
(previous | next)

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, 4x3 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 4x3 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.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:07 PM | Capitalism , E-commerce , Generic Rant , Innovation

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly


Reading this it was impressed upon me how many of these things changed in the next 5-11 months. Napster came out summer of '99, I bought my parents a DVD player that Christmas and they bought me my first mp3 player and digital camera.
And man did they suck looking back at them. Hard to imagine my iPhone being a relic in 2019. But it absolutely will be.

Posted by: Nick at February 2, 2009 10:50 AM

Capitalism? You mean North Korea doesn't have this stuff?

Posted by: keef at February 3, 2009 7:58 PM

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation