"Out with the old, in with the new!" Isn’t that how the saying goes?
I’ve been thinking about this, and trying to apply it to many different things. For instance, everyone is quite concerned with making computers/linux/the web/etc simple enough for Aunt Tillie to use. (See Eric Raymond, Jon Udell, and I’m sure others…) I admit this is a noble thing. I would like to see these things easier for Aunt Tillie to use, but part of me doesn’t want to worry about it… because time will take care of the problem.
I don’t mean to be rude, but face it, Aunt Tillie is old, and she won’t be around forever, sure she’s got a few good years left, but will she be compiling her own kernel anytime soon? Doubtful…
On the other hand, young people (aka The Youth) seem quite comfortable with technology. They happily use cell phones everyday without a second thought. They even pay to have custom ring tones. Ring tones? Crazy! Well, crazy to me, someone no longer a youth, who didn’t have a cell phone as a youth, and wouldn’t think of paying for a special ring for a phone. And that VCR, who can program those things? As a kid I did, but my mom sure didn’t. Of course today you’ve got a TiVo and it’s pretty darn simple to operate, it’s not even a matter or programming it, it’s more just a matter of using it.
Think about how much easier computers have become in the last 20 years, the last 15 years… Or using the internet? Remember getting on the internet just 10 years ago? Progress is being made, that’s for sure.
Who will benefit from this progress? The youth. My kids will… My oldest daughter is in grade school, and last year she showed one of the teachers how to use the digital camera they had at school. The kids coming out of college now (and in the coming years) use Linux, and they like it. This is one of the reasons I think things like open-source and Linux on the desktop will eventually really take off, because in the future, they won’t be new ideas, they’ll just be “the way it is” to some degree. (Another old saying comes to mind: “Unix is very user friendly, it’s just picky about who its friends are.”)
Kids are accepting of new technology because to them it’s not new, it’s just there. Wasn’t it always there? My kids have never seen a TV without a remote control. There’s a thing in the living room that plays movies, audio CD‘s, and shows photos on the TV. Making your own CD for the truck with your favorite songs from a library of thousands is no big deal.
Maybe it’s just me, and I’m getting old. People often ask where their flying cars and jetpacks are, but I think the answer is, they’re all around us. Sometimes they’re just hard to see through those old eyes with poor vision…