March 26th, 2009

Heroic Hawk Statue

Old man rant -- Why nobody can remember anything any more

Many aeons ago, a third of a century ago in fact, when I was young, I knew my home phone number. This was in a time where there was one phone in the entire house, and maybe one in the master bedroom. (and you could have any color phone you wanted, so long as it was black or white). I can still remember it now, 888-2369, even though we moved out of that particular house 30 years ago.

This morning I was going to call a family member from my office phone, and realized that I had no idea what their number was any more-- I had to go to the HawkMobile and get my cell phone, where the number was stored. It was even worse when I switched phones last year, since there was no nice way to transfer the numbers. When I ask people for their own number, often times they don't even know what it is. Everybody moves around so much that the number I had for them last year isn't any good anyway, and if I actually take the trouble to remember it, it's out of date. And it was even worse before cellular phones carriers finally added number portability when you changed carriers.

Why, back in MY day....Collapse )

To be fair, the world is a much more complex place now than it was back when I was young. If you wanted to take out something from starting up every time you booted your computer back then, you took it out of your AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS. Now you have to regedit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run in the Windows registry to do the same thing. I suspect most people have no idea on how to do that, much the less being scared of even running regedit. Everybody has several phone numbers now, and for better or worse, the barrier to entry to get online has been lowered dramatically (like it or not).

But all someone like Dr. Evil has to do to really screw all of us up is mess up a few root DNS servers, the GPS constellation and take out a few search engines, and nobody will be able to go anywhere, do anything, or call anyone. I wonder what archaeologists in the future will make of our time in history, if there's much left to look at.
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