My family always traveled quite a bit when I was growing up. Both of my parents were teachers, so we'd have nice breaks for summers, holidays, and random fake holidays. These were usually hardcore road trips across the country in a minivan. I'll always remember the feeling of pulling back into the driveway after vacation. I was always bummed to be back home (because it usually meant going back to school the next day), but I'd always find the silver lining of "oh, at least we can check the mail and the answering machine." It was like catching up on a week's worth of life in about five minutes.
I was reminded of this when I came back to Charlotte. I had been gone for six nights, spent the night in five different hotels, flew 6,000 miles, drove 600 more and there was really nothing to check. We don't have an answering machine. We actually haven't had a land line in five years. Aside from Netflix, there's never anything in the mailbox that needs our immediate attention. Bills are paid online automatically. News is on the internet. Email is on my phone. So now there's no really potential positive excitement feeling when we're coming back from a trip. Which means all we're left with is 'man, it would really suck if our house burned down.' I'd really like to balance that irrational fear out with something like 'maybe Ed McMahon left a message on my answering machine.'
So I guess that's my long-winded way of saying there seems to be both good and bad that comes from pretty much every technological advance. I'm by no means a ludite, but I can find a downside to pretty much every technological advance. Maybe that makes me a pessimist. Oh well. Here are a few others:
Pros - Great time waster. Good way to share pictures. Fantastic way to keep in touch without really talking to someone else.
Cons - Highly addictive, stalking potential, not good when you're looking for a job
Pros - Watch more TV in less time - what's not to love?
Cons - Makes watching 'regular speed' television pretty much impossible. Also miss some pretty fantastic commercials
Pros - Allows for mass quantities of music or books to be portable
Cons - You sort of forget about the tactile qualities of books and music. Both when you're buying something, and then after you buy and really like something. It just isn't the same.
Pro - You're never really lost, which is pretty fantastic
Con - I'm not only a worse driver since getting a GPS system, but my sense of direction has also regressed. I've lived in Charlotte for six months or so, and I still turn the damn thing on when I'm driving downtown. It's a complete crutch.
That's all I have time for this evening. If you can think of some more technological advances and want to list some pros and cons, go for it. I think pretty much every new gadget or communication channel has some downside. Except Email. Oh, and blogs. No downside with either of those.