Today is our 36th wedding anniversary. Yikes. I think both my husband and I are surprised! How did that happen?! The years have gone by sooo fast, marked by the arrival of three children and the myriad special events in each of their lives. Now two are in grad school, and all three are married. We even have three young grandkids, and a new one on the way. Yippee!
Today I started to think about all the ways life has changed during the past three decades. Who ever thought, when we were kids, that there would be something like a cell phone? That pay phones would essentially cease to exist? That we would be able to shop without ever leaving home…or that typewriters would become something to be displayed in a museum? Curious about some of the landmark events in technology that have become a big part of our lives, I did a search–yep, on the web–and found the following:
1981 - IBM unveils the first personal computer.
1981 – The world’s first “portable computer,” the Osborne 1, weighs 24 pounds.
1983 - Computer student Fred Cohen creates the first computer virus as a research project. Thanks a lot, Fred!
1983 - cell phones first went into commercial service when Motorola introduced the $3,500 DynaTAC phone. Not surprisingly, at that price point, it took a while for the invention to catch on.
1984 – The first Apple Macintosh personal computer (128K, $2495) releases as “the computer for the rest of us.” First month sales expected to be 50,000; but 75,000 orders pour in after a novel Superbowl TV ad.
1985 - Dell begins assembling made-to-order computers.
1990 -1991 Tim Berners-Lee, finishes programming the first practical Web Browser.
1993 – The web is so popular that Berners-Lee (who could have received royalties) lets the browser go into Public Domain in 1993 to promote the growth of the World-Wide Web. A bigger thanks to you, Tim!
1994 - The Internet “takes off” for commercial and social uses, and Junk EMail begins.
1995 - The online auction community eBay starts out as “AuctionWeb.com”
1999 - Broadband Internet service providers offer faster Web page downloads
1999 – The Y2K computer threat creates widespread panic.
2000 – Digital electronic books (E-Books) become a small part of the publishing industry.
2001 – Apple unveils the iPod.
2003 – Apple introduces downloadable music via its iTunes music application.
What was your first computer? Mine was a second-hand Packard Bell, with 5.25″ floppy disks, with DOS and Word Star. And later, a primitive Radio Shack laptop that cost a whopping $2,700.
But beyond computer technology, there have been so many incredible tragedies during those years. Incredible discoveries. Strides in medical research. I used to think that the changes during my lifetime would pale compared to what evolved during my grandparents time–from plow horses to the age of flight. But the changes in our world are staggering.
What changes have affected you the most? What do you find the most fascinating?