Monday, June 22, 2009
"Technology," computer pioneer Alan Kay once said, "is anything that was invented after you were born."

For the last few weeks my folks have been cleaning out the attic in my childhood home. In the boxes and bales they've found every manner of trinket and trophy from Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Elementary School - it's been a fun meander down memory lane.

Yesterday my Mom found a letter from my paternal grandmother written the week I was born. In it she describes how she and my Papa stayed up until 2 am on the night my folks went into the hospital, and then woke up at 6 am the next day, eager with anticipation of my monumental birth.

Papa called the hospital that morning ("forenoon" was the exact word my Nana used), and found no news. Later that day my Dad called them to share the news that I had been born in the afternoon. They, in turn, called my aunt who lives away, and they left a message in what sounded like her college dorm or boarding house about my triumphant birth.

Unfortunately shortly thereafter a large truck moving a house came down their narrow little street knocking a telephone pole and severing all of the wires to their little Cape Cod house.

They were cut off from the world.

After a few unsuccessful tries to my grandparents, eventually my aunt-from-away called my other aunt and got the news of my glorious birth.

But here's where I get to my point: Wow is it easier today!

Today we have new fathers with iPhones snapping photos of their newborns and emailing them within minutes. A sister of a friend in Portland had a baby two weeks ago and was on Facebook herself within the hour.

Shoot, a month ago I called a friend to see if he and his pregnant wife were busy, if they wanted to hang out - and they were in the hospital in labor. The baby was born an hour after I called.

That's progress, baby!

None of this phone-tree information distributing. No hastily scribbled Post-It Note from your screwy roommate (wait, when were Post-It Notes invented?) And hopefully no large truck moving a house will take down the cell phone towers in your neighborhood.

To me iPhones, cell phones, Facebook accounts, email, answering machines ... these are technology.

Phones, paper birth announcements, heck, the newspaper - not technology.
posted by Josh at 10:35 AM |