Current mood: thoughtfulLast night in the hours leading up to midnight, I tuned in Radio Dismuke, an Internet radio station that plays music from the 1920s and early 1930s. While they normally are DJ- and commercial-free, 24/7, last night they had a special program broadcast live. Among the recordings they played was the lead-up to midnight as 1929 became 1930, as captured by some dance hall of the era.
This was fascinating, as it caused me to reflect upon the new technology of the era, what effect it was having, and what was about to happen. Consider:
* Broadcast radio was new to the 1920s. By 1930, stations and radios were all over the place. In a couple of years, President (F.D.) Roosevelt would speak to the nation each week over the radio. With shortwave, stations could be heard all over the globe (and still can).
* The electric microphone around 1926. Prior to that, nearly all recordings were some variation on singing or playing into the horn on the master phonograph recorder, and your sound etched the wiggles in the record. With the electric mike, you no longer needed to be loud to make recordings, and resultingly the music changed. Soft crooners, and vocalists with a band as backup, became the norm.
* Motion pictures with sound, in 1927, replaced silent films. Need I say more?
* Automobiles were truly commonplace. Four-lane paved highways and traffic jams become daily irritations.
* Commercial air travel, including trans-Atlantic flights, shrunk the world.
So back to 2008. What big changes have we had in the last couple of years? Where are they taking us?
* Security cameras everywhere
* Cell phone cameras
* RFID chips implanted in your body
* Retinal scans to prove identity in a non-invasive manner
* Automobiles that do not run exclusively on petroleum
* Being able to hop on a bus anywhere and not have to figure out how to get around to the Nth detail to avoid getting lost or stranded, so that we don't need cars.
(OK, the last one isn't there yet. I'm still working on it. And I think I'm the only one on earth who is. Can someone please help me?)
Back to reality, though. Just sit back for a minute and be in January 1, 1930, as I was. Where are we going, really?