Thursday, January 20, 2005

Fielder's Choice
By Barry Burleson

Technology

I got into one of those discussions last week about how times have changed since “we were young.”

It started at a high school basketball game. We were talking about the uniforms the players wear today.

First of all, we didn’t have the money “back then” to spend on the nice athletic outfits they wear these days, plus they didn’t make them as fancy back then.

And we didn’t wear those long, baggy shorts – down to the player’s knees. Our shorts were the tight kind and short lengthwise.

I think I would prefer a happy medium between the two.

Technology and gadgets today are ever-changing.

I used to own a bright red eight-track tape player. It thought I had hit the big time. Then when I graduated to a cassette player, and then even had a cassette player in the first car I owned at age 16 - wow!

I assume the only place you can buy eight-track tapes these says is at a garage sale or antique shop. Cassette tapes are still hanging on, but likely not for long.

I still have a cassette player only in the “old” Explorer, but I haven’t bought any new cassettes in years.

Pam and I still have lots of albums from our teenage years, but we have not listened to them in years. We need an attachment of some sort for our turntable to make it work, and that hasn’t been on our priority list lately. I think I have an old box of 45s somewhere, too.

Today it’s CDs, and downloading music off the Internet, and MP3 players which store lots of your favorite songs. I saw last week where Macintosh has unveiled its new MP3 player, the size of a chewing gum package, that holds more than 100 songs and comes at “an affordable price.” At the same time the company announced a new mini-Mac computer for less than $500. But you have to come up with the accessories – the key board, monitor and such.

I’ve grown up on Macs. That’s what most newspaper offices use in producing the newspaper, and The South Reporter is no exception.

These MP3 players and small CD players are big among the young people today. I know you see them, too, walking around at ball games and such with the ear plugs and the device hanging around their neck or tucked in the pocket.

Even my 3-year-old is latching on to the technology. Her favorite pastime is coming up to the office, logging on to the Internet and playing educational games on the Noggin web site. Just last night about 9 p.m., she came to me in that voice that is so hard to turn down and said, “Daddy, Daddy, I want to go to the office and play Noggin.” I managed to put her off – at least for yesterday.

She also gets on our Mac at home by herself and plays all sorts of games left over from Emma and Andy’s younger years.

Today our South Reporter readers and customers bring us pictures off small digital cameras which we’re able to download straight to our computers. They even bring in stories, pictures and such on small flash drives that all connect to our computers for downloading.

Play Stations are amazing - how close to reality these athletic games are, like NBA and college basketball and the NFL. I haven’t played them any myself yet. I know if I start I might get addicted, too.

The cell phone craze keeps changing, too, with text messaging, built-in cameras, and the phones seem to be getting smaller and smaller, too, if that’s what the consumer wants.

Oh well, it’s time to wrap this column up, go finish laying out the newspaper and sending it to press on a zip drive. In between, I have to go coach basketball – fifth graders wearing those long baggy shorts.


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