The other day, Leland Meitzler of GenealogyBlog wrote about technology we use today that will be consigned to the rubbish heap in the near future - items like compact cameras, portable music players, CDs and DVDs, eBook readers, and everything else that seems to be incorporated into cell phones.
Confession time: My name is Susan and I am a gadgetaholic. However, my cell phone is just a cell phone. It makes and receives calls. That's all. I loathe cell phones. Especially those belonging to other people. Especially the ones with obnoxious ring tones.
I got hooked on photography at a young age when a neighbor let me sit in her darkened bathroom while she printed photographs she had taken of our family. By the time I was in college, I worked and saved enough money to buy my first single lens reflex camera, a Minolta SRT 101. Then came the telephoto lens. Then the darkroom in my parent's basement. Then the Minolta SRT 102.
When I caught the genealogy bug, I needed something better than a copy machine at the library to copy the photographs I was borrowing from relatives. So I bought a set of close-up lenses for the camera and a copy stand. I would attach the camera to the adjustable pole, place the item I was copying on the base, set the lights for the best exposure, focus and snap. I had to copy my photos in batches of 36 because that was how Kodak Tri-X film was sold. Some of the photographs of my ancestors are still from those black and white negatives from more than 30 years ago.
I really started cooking when I bought an IBM Wheelwriter 3 typewriter. This was very VERY high tech since it had a one-line memory! If I made a mistake in that line, the correcting tape allowed me to make a very clean typeover. At the time, this typewriter was considered a "letter quality printer" and I thought it would work just fine until I could afford to purchase a computer that I would be able to hook it up to. Oh my, yes, I can actually remember a time when there was NOT a computer in every home.
Next came the Sony camcorder. It was (still is!) about a foot long, cumbersome and heavy. But it was considered compact at the time. Next to my Flip video camera (not to be confused with my Flip-Pal mobile scanner), this thing is enormous. Handycam, it was called. Handy. Funny.
I immediately bought a very early version of Family Tree Maker software. And yes, I still have several three ring binders with descendant charts and family group sheets that were printed on my dot matrix printer. The IBM Wheelwriter wasn't compatible as a letter quality printer with the Tandy computer. Some things never change. So I still typed much of my correspondence and queries on the typewriter. And every time I got a new computer or new software, I had to re-enter all of the information in my family history database over and over again.
Fast forward to 2011 - all of this technology, which added up to several thousand dollars when new, is still here. I checked eBay a couple years ago and these items were listed for about a $5.00 opening bid and had no bidders. I promise myself that I will do the right thing and have these once prized possessions recycled and disposed of properly - once I get used to the idea they have no value to me any longer.
Now I read that my mp3 player, tiny digital camera, my pocket size Flip video camera and my Kindle will soon be going down the same path as these once treasured essentials in my genealogy tool kit. All they need to do is add a scanner to a cell phone and that's going to be about all I'll need.
I did mention that I loathe cell phones, didn't I? But - I am beginning to see some value in upgrading - not quite yet, however. So don't rub this in my face if I eventually get a smartphone, ok?