Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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The Internet, and in particular the world-wide web have become such a key part of many people's lives that it's now virtually impossible to imagine how we managed before its invention.
It's been 25 years since the very first part of the WWW was created and during that quarter century it has gone from being just an academic convenience to what it is today -- a crucial component of commerce, entertainment and information dissemination.
While most of the world's news media has been reflecting on the significance of the Web, I was (coincidentally) contemplating just how much technology has appeared and how many groundbreaking milestones have been passed during my life (so far).
As a tech-geek, I can't think of a better time to be alive than the period between the mid 1950s and today.
I was just a wee baby back in 1957 when the Russians launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. That marked the beginning of the space race, something that consumed my every waking minute as a school-boy and still piques my interest on a regular basis.
The computer has also seen its most astonishing advances and development since I was born -- most significantly in the period from 1975 through to today. These machines have gone from huge lumps of very expensive iron -- through to devices such as modern tablets that are even more "Star Trek" than Star Trek itself.
As a child, the telephone was a clunky mechanical device that required you to interact with a human operator to place a call outside your own town. Such calls were often filled with crackles and required one's ear to be pressed hard against the Bakelite earpiece in order to hear the whisper-like voices. Such calls were also very expensive!
Today of course, the PSTN phone is reaching the end of its natural life. Mobile has become the preferred option over hard-wired and it's now just as cheap to call Europe or the USA as it is to call your neighbour -- such calls being handled by a myriad of those computer things -- not a human in sight.
We're no longer bound by a long wire -- or any wires at all. Modern mobile phone technology has gone from the small suitcase, through "beige brick" to micro-sized units that slipped nicely into a shirt pocket - and now back to increasingly large "smartphones". The one thing they all offer is an ability to talk to almost anyone else on the planet -- whenever and where-ever you want.
I'm also a child of the TV era -- having been born into a world that was effectively TV-free around this part of the globe and having watched this device take over the lives of the average Kiwi to such an extent that many are happy to pay hundreds of dollars a month for their regular fix (from Sky).
Air transport has also seen massive advances, going from craft like the early De Havilland Comet, through to the Concorde and the incredible Airbus A380.
Finally, that space race has subsided somewhat but now we have robots on Mars and Voyager has become our first ever deep-space craft.
If all this can happen in one man's lifetime, I wonder what the next half-century will bring.
Practical flying cars and jetpacks? Controlled nuclear fusion? Colonies on Mars?
Nah... somethings will still be science fiction for quite some time to come me thinks.
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