Humbled by Today’s Technology and Gadgets

I don’t know about you but I really marvel at today’s gadgets that make life so pleasant.

I love music and can’t help but think of how we had to struggle with phonographs, worn-out needles, and scratchy vinyl when I was growing up. It was expensive to purchase too. We listened to music mostly on the AM dial and through a non-stereo transistor radio, hoping our favorite song would come on. There was no music on demand, unless you had the record album or 45 and wore them out like I did.

Enjoying music is just so much easier these days.

Now when I feel like watching an old song that I liked,  I simply type in the name of the song in You Tube and it takes me back to the 60’s while I watch the group perform it live on any number of that era’s TV shows.

I will never take for granted that I can download MP3’s instead of buying CD’s or other music, and I can load single music number by single music number into a list of favorites and play all of my favorite music in a loop to my heart’s content. (all on a device not much larger than a half-dollar coin)

My other favorite thing these days that involves music is a website called Grooveshark. It has gotten so I cannot stand to listen to the radio anymore. Occasionally I still listen to a top 40’s station, an alternative station, or a classic rock station when I have to drive, but regular or even satellite radio can’t compare. I was referred to Pandora, but Pandora can’t compare with Grooveshark.

If you visit Grooveshark you can build a playlist of any musical numbers that you like. You can create a music from musicals playlist, a rock playlist, an oldies pop music playlist, a current favorites playlist and the best part is that you can load for FREE as many songs as you want on each playlist. (as opposed to having to purchase iTunes or MP-3’s) You can then spend hours listening only to songs you really want to hear.

I had started writing this blog with the above entries and was stopped dead in my tracks a few weeks ago by a piece on 60 Minutes. Part of my marveling at modern gadgets and technology was a look at the iPad. I haven’t broken down and purchased one yet but it is on my wish list.

Of course I want one for all the selfish reasons possible, including wanting to read books, watch videos, hear music etc all on the same device. My beloved iPhone is pretty close but the screen is too small to read a book or watch a movie.

Then I saw this feature on 60 minutes. WARNING: If you watch it, be prepared to cry yourself silly like I did.

There are iPad applications that can give a voice to children and adults who struggle with speech. Many people who are disabled, such as some people with autism, and others who have suffered brain damage, are not able to express themselvesf through speech. Imagine dealing with that kind of heartbreak on a daily basis. (In fact, tomorrow night’s ABC special on Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery from her brain injury will describe her heartbreak at not being able to express herself in speech.)

The feature shows an adult with autism who for the first time in his life can order exactly what he wants to eat from a restaurant – by using a simulated voice and pushing some buttons on an iPad.

Since an iPad is a gadget on the go, it is better than a computer, which has also offered programs that have given voice to so many locked within in recent years. That’s what makes it so incredible.

I believe the applications will end up doing far more with younger children and that they will have the opportunities to develop so much further than people in years past thanks to technology.

So here I am, writing a blog about appreciating modern technology for my own selfish wants and desires, and along comes information on a 60 minutes program that shows me how much more valuable gadgets can be. I am officially humbled by this information and had to pass it on.

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