I try to never lose sight of how far we've come in our development of technology. When I was a kid, I had a small TV that was so heavy, if it were placed on one of today's glass TV stands, all it would need was the weight of a channel to send it smashing to the floor. I never want to stop being amazed at the incredible advancements we've made; it's just that sometimes the things that were amazing a couple of years ago can lose their luster almost immediately. It can be like watching a close friend gradually give in to alcohol, but that friend is an iPhone.
The technologies listed here haven't been around for too long, and they're still incredible -- but it's happening. The groundwork for their fall from grace is being laid now, before our eyes. Maybe you've noticed ...
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Once Upon a Time ...
If you're not jaded by the rapid pace of technological innovation, you should still be amazed by the vivid imagery produced by HDTVs. Everything you watch -- newscasts, Game of Thrones, even the TV's menus -- is delivered to you with a degree of gorgeousness so intense that it nearly renders the grand sights of the real world mute.
Today, the HDTV luster is fading. As happens with all technology, HDTVs eventually became so affordable that any place with a waiting room bought them up for cheap and slapped them onto walls.
It's Just Too Bad That ...
Almost none of those waiting room HDTVs actually have an HD signal running through them. An HDTV without an HD signal is like a pair of glasses without lenses. Yeah, you can probably still see stuff, but who wants to see through a smear of peanut butter over their eyes when there are better options readily available? People would rather use HD screens as decorative accents. They're status symbols. They're the new version of an animal's stuffed head mounted on a wall. Without the HD signal, it's less the head of a prize buck and more like a child's sack race participation ribbon. They would get a clearer picture if they hollowed out the TV, crammed some kids behind it, and made them re-enact discussions from The View.
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"Vaginal dryness -- amiright, ladies?"
I realize this could be an unfair assessment of the situation, so I'll add one caveat: Maybe they can't get an HD signal in their location. If that's the case, why even bother with the TV in the first place? Is a half-assed attempt at a status symbol any better than no attempt at all? If the TV wasn't there, I wouldn't think these businesses were all owned and operated by my grandparents. I already have to suffer through the indignity of daytime television in the waiting room, so why must I also endure a new episode of Family Feud that looks like it's being broadcast from 1977?
Possibly Steve Harvey. I can't tell. Too much peanut butter on the screen.
If you're going to torture me, do it with panache. Show that you care. Put some effort into making me hate your waiting room by not pissing away technology so you can give the illusion of success.
Once Upon a Time ...
Cameras have generally the same purpose today as they've had for decades: to entertain and inform. In recent years, they've spread out with pretty good results. Now we're all able to create, entertain, and inform, and the world is slowly becoming a better place for it.
It's Just Too Bad That ...
Someone at the camera factory overestimated the demand and made way too many, and he has since been trying to cram cameras up every other thing's ass. My dirt cheap, recently leased car has a rearview camera, so every time I back up, I have a reality show about what's happening on my car's ass livestreamed on the front of my car when I should be looking at the back of my car.
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"I'm being safe and completely distracted!"
And they're going to be mandatory in the U.S. soon, even though my car manual tells me not to rely on the rearview camera because the camera kind of sucks. It's there to prevent me from running over children as I back up, but even the bloodsucker who sold me the car said, "Get it if you think the number of kids you run over is too high." Zero was too high a number for me, so I got the camera. It has a nice, well-meaning purpose, but it's mostly there for the sake of having a camera. Your smartphone has a camera, and modern cars are just one big smartphone at this point. So, fuck it -- put a camera on it. Give me the option to take a picture with it and I'll back up into people so I can make a Tumblr page of hysterical pre-hit-and-run reaction shots.
Most laptops have built-in cameras that can be used to video chat with people all over the world, but will mostly be used by assholes like me to make myself look like this:
Cities slap them on every corner, because now that our years are "20XX," we're officially in the future, and law enforcement is a box with a lens on a pole.
Even some of the most advanced camera tech out there can't catch a break. Consider the plight of ...