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Old 12-18-2018, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,369 posts, read 7,760,109 times
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The technology revolution of the last 30 or 40 years carried me through my entire working career in Telecommunications. I started working for the Bell System at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph in the late 1970s. The company name says it all, in terms of technology at that time. There was only one phone company per geographical area in the USA, and in most cases, you could not own the telephone in your house, you had to pay a monthly rental fee. You were charged very high toll fees for calls outside your local calling area, and even higher for long distance or international.

I got my foot in the door with fiber optic data transport technology in the early 1980s, and rode that baby for the next 35 years. When I retired at the end of last year, the Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing transport systems that link telecom carriers, internet service providers, web hosting servers and countless others were being installed to transport over 80 channels of 100 Gigabit per second traffic over just two glass fiber strands! That is 8000 Gigabits or 8 Terabits per second of data traffic! This technology is one of the building blocks that links the global telecommunications network. It is how all the big routers in data centers connect to each other, in different corners of the globe.

The consumer end of the technology revolution is what you and I see at home, as daily users of services and devices. In the late 1980s, there were many people in the telecommunications industry who were working on early concepts and ideas that would lead to many of the advances in the 1990s and beyond. However at that time, even the most far fetched proposals did not grasp how the telecom world would turn upside down in just 20 years, with the introduction of the first I-phone. That was one the most significant advances in telecom technology, which literally changed the way the entire world lives.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
9,133 posts, read 2,998,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnpolybious View Post
Many here have seen it rapidly advance and I am just curious what your thoughts are? Does it bother you? Do you like it?
When I was 4 years old, someone gave me a box of old toys, that had a broken crystal set in it, with some missing parts. That was my introduction to high-technology. It just happened that we had a big, one-volume encyclopedia that was printed in the 1920s, just after radio broadcasting began. It had full diagrams and instructions for assembling a crystal set. I was able to figure it out and used a large safety-pin to replace the missing probe.

I took my dad's soldering gun, which I had watched him use and got it all together and working. It was quite a thrill to have my own radio and have played a part in making it functional. There was only one station close enough to receive, but I enjoyed it more then, than all the stations you can receive today.

Ever since, I have anticipated and welcomed all advances in technology and have taught myself how to modify or fix many electrical and mechanical devices. I can't even estimate how much money I've saved by repairing my own bicycles, cameras and computers. When I was in the Military, I played a peripheral role in the Space Program and once was called to become an impromptu member of a team that disassembled the contents of a nose-cone of an orbital rocket. My only qualifications needed to be, that I had two hands, could follow directions and keep quiet about what I saw.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:01 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,901 posts, read 1,583,756 times
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I like it in general, I tried to learn a computer language in 1973 but didn't have the temperment at that age to sit for hours & work through minute details. It was almost 20 years later when I finally got my first desktop.

I like the interweb & streaming & doing all my shopping-business-banking-reading-music-etc online now. I'm disappointed that autos haven't kept up & become electric & driverless before this, & the fact that most of the US is hopeless with inter/intracity public transit systems is obvious once one goes to Europe.

I'm very wary of privacy issues: I don't belong to Facebook because of this, I finally signed up for Twitter but use a different email for it, not that it probably does much good if someone is determined to track me. I'm also very wary of these devices like Alexa & Echo etc... that have a live mic(s) in the house. There are already stories of private conversations erroneously going to friends voicemails & just this week The Case of Polly Wanna Shop happened when a pet parrot learned to mimic the owners & when they were out it was ordering stuff on Alexa it heard it's owners ordering.

My mother is 92yo & grew up in a small rural community without electricity or indoor plumbing & she is gobsmacked with the advances & really can't grasp them anymore - like streaming music or video on demand.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,537,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piney Creek View Post
To be honest, I feel a little let down. I grew up watching sci fi, so I was hoping we'd have a lot more by now than just cell phones and small devices.

I'm a child of the 60s, I was hoping to see extensive space travel in my lifetime! Not to mention transporter beams, much more advanced laser surgeries, computers that can create any food you desire simply by pressing a button, and have whatever technological device eliminated the need for bathrooms in all those sci fi shows. Remember "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Space 1999"?

Some sf shows do show things like how people choose their food, and when they are visiting a place, they do show off the 'alien' food which proves that banannas look the same here and some distant alien place. I remember back when it was said that we'd have food pills and they'd give you all the nutrition without wasting time on cooking. That it would be really hard to do right gets brought up. But some shows like Startrek, especially TNG and DS9, were really quite about the food these humans and others still choose to eat. So food got more diverse and varied, rather than becoming a slurp of your dinner in a bottle.


Thing is, people like the taste and feel of food, and choose it for flavor. Its the crunch and the smootness and the heat and cold too. There will be quick food, something to grab and eat and go on, but it won't ever replace cooking and eating the huge variety of options.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:55 AM
 
581 posts, read 177,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over the hill gang View Post
I do enjoy my computer and I enjoy streaming what I watch on TV because I can find a lot of the old shows that I enjoyed. With that said, I could live without my computer, iphone and any of the other things we have today, except my AC.

All in all I think the advances are a blessing and a curse. I seldom see kids playing outside anymore like we did as kids. I also see more and more people with their faces glued to their iphones EVEN while driving. I personally think human interaction is suffering a great deal. If I could rewind the clock (not to make me younger) I would do it in a skinny minute. I could go on and on but.......
Anyway, before anyone tells me how stupid I am. This is JUST MY Personal Opinion.
It may just be your personal opinion, but it's a Good One.

Computers have been a Godsend to employers - writing, editing and re-writing reports used to be done by a secretarial pool, not the project engineer simply types up a report by himself. Same with data collection and creating charts, graphs, schedules, etc., there has been an enormous increase in productivity for technical people. Programs like AutoCad have vastly streamlined engineering and manufacturing.

On a personal level, the Internet is wonderful, the amount of information now available at my fingertips is amazing. The problem is, there is also an equal amount of dis-information and intellectual (and actual) porn available just as readily.

However, social media is something else entirely. My guess is that if everyone's emails went public, about 7/8ths of the public would never be able to run for public office, and would immediately get fired, divorced, arrested, etc.. The problem is, everything everyone writes or posts (including City-Data) is not nearly as anonymous as everyone thinks, the idea of privacy is an illusion. I personally can't believe the number of young people staring into their I-phones while in the gym, restaurants, etc., they appear to be addicted to electronic heroin. Everyone having access to a camera/video at any time, such that every incident in their day is recorded and posted on You Tube, is insanity.

Bottom line, the advancement of technology over the past forty years has been a mixed bag, but I'd say the positives have outweighed the negatives.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,775 posts, read 14,946,433 times
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I was born before WWII. When I got my engineering degree, you could tell the engineering students because they all had leather scabbards about 18 inches long hanging from their belts. They contained slide rules. The pocket calculator had not been invented yet. After Vietnam there was no market for engineers so I went back and got a business degree. You could tell all the computer students because they had large heavy briefcases that held their computer punch cards. Those IBM cards were our programs. Each card had a line of code. We wrote our own programs in COBOL or FORTRAN. I bought the first pocket calculator I saw. It was $99 and would add, subtract, multiply and divide. I was taking senior level statical analysis courses and that calculator was a huge time saver. Now a pack of cigarettes may have a calculator in there for free.

Now I have a cel phone that will superimpose a topographic map on a photograph. There is a huge amount to technology involved in that one image. I have some computers. None of my computers have games on them. My first Mac in 1987 came with Tetris on it. I have a Dell that does not contain a MODEM. I exchange info with people using memory sticks (formerly called thumb drives). It is the only way to preserve privacy. There is a fairly large number of people who do not use the internet at all. If your computer has a modem in it, every keystroke you make goes into the huge black NSA data base in Utah. They call it "the cloud". The building is like Lockheed's Area 51. People who work there do not talk about their work. The cloud seems like an innocuous term and people are bribed into submitting to it. Google and Amazon just about require cloud connections for you to do business.

Most of Congress is clueless about the total lack of privacy in our society. All major intersections record license plate numbers of every vehicle that passes. Many have polarized filters that eliminate reflections and glare to record faces of the people driving those cars. "Big Brother" lives.
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,775 posts, read 14,946,433 times
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Originally Posted by Piney Creek View Post
"To be honest, I feel a little let down. I grew up watching sci fi, so I was hoping we'd have a lot more by now than just cell phones and small devices."

The science behind drones is amazing and we are just scratching the surface in that field. I spent a thousand dollars for a very nice drone. I expect it will always do what it does, but you can buy a similar drone at Wal-Mart today for under a hundred dollars.

Back when I bought my first CB radio for the truck you had to be licensed. My call sign was KAER 0921. Then people simply defied the government and the government could not arrest, fine or jail all the defiant CB operators. The government gave up. I expect the same will happen with the millions of unlicensed drones. When they become a nuisance, your neighbors may simply shoot them down. Number 9 bird shot should work best.

I was a test pilot flying helicopters with wooden rotor blades. When the Blakhawk Helicopter came out it became knon as "The Lawn Dart". The Army did not specify shielded wiring from the cockpit to theflight computer. Flying by the Pentagon made the Blackhawk uncontrollable and several Blackhawks crashed, killing everybody. Navy Seahawks had shielded wiring so they could operate near powerful radars. The navy had no fligt control failures. The retrofit of Army Blackhawks was very expensive.

Russia has a mach 2 fighter that will slow down, point the nose straight up and imply hover on its own thrust. It will then move off
into normal flight and go to Mach 2. The chip that controls it is similar to the chip in the $99 Wal-Mart drone. By the way, when your drone battery gets low, the drone will swith to "Go home mode" by itself and return to the exact spot where you lifted it off.

There is freedom afoot in the world. Henderson, Baltimore, Paris and Munich are some examples. Common people are simply saying, "No!" I am reminded of the song, Alice's Restaurant from a half century ago. (I have been to Alice's Restaurant.) I met Arlo Guthrie. Woody Guthrie in his canoe made an effort to clean up the Hudson River. Everybody wants clean air and clean water. We should have respect for the environment we all share. That said, we should reject the superstitions and outright lies about our environment that proliferate on the internet. It takes 1.4 gallons of Diesel to produce a gallon of ethanol. That is a terrible waste in our economy and it does not help the environment.

Don't feel "let down", Piney Creek. Pick your interest. Nobody can learn everything, hut we can enjoy pretty much what we want off this informational smorgasbord.
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