When I was in grade school, we had a choice of watching three different television stations on a black-and-white TV set, and thought that was great.
Now I watch a 46-inch screen with a picture that has as much detail as a big screen movie and more channels than I know of or can count.
When we traveled by car during the summer, we had the windows down to keep from getting any hotter than we already were and listened to music from an AM radio station on a single speaker that was probably 4 inches in diameter. We were content with that and enjoyed ourselves.
The windows seldom are down on our car now because the thermostat decides whether to heat or cool the interior. Anything we listen to which can be AM, FM, or from a satellite is reproduced using several speakers that try to rival listening to it live.
Today, I am still amazed at what I can accomplish so easily just by sitting at a computer keyboard and pressing buttons that have letters on them or by moving a device called a mouse that has button that lets me click on things.
When I click on whatever I place my arrow over, my computer screen changes and wonderful things happen.
I look at the weather radar that is only minutes old; I can play as many of my favorite songs as I want to hear.
I look at maps and can even see places anywhere on the earth as if I was suspended over them plus zoom in or out.
My wife spends much of her time knitting and frequently I will hear my printer start up and seconds later a knitting pattern has been printed (in color even) that was sitting on another computer somewhere in the world and now she is looking at it.
I use my computer to update my GPS device, another piece of electronics that I would not have imagined I would be using so easily today.
Our computers are part of a network so information goes from unit to unit with the only connection a that draws power from electrical outlet.
If the battery is good, we don’t even need that.
All of these tasks, from using a spreadsheet to watching a movie, occur with a few clicks and keystrokes.
We were not even dreaming of being able to do these jobs so easily when I graduated from high school in 1965. Some of them I would not have imagined 15 years ago.
While I have not seen the changes in farming my dad did from horses to large four-wheel drive tractors, I believe I have seen my share.
Everything is bigger, more powerful, faster and comfortable.
That is a lot of change.
Then there are farm sizes where the big farms of years ago are a part time job today.
As many changes as already happened, it makes me wonder, “What next?”
I am sure bigger, faster, more powerful is here to stay.
Another 20 years and we will hardly remember or recognize what we are doing today.
I guess these thoughts are coming to me as I feel myself getting left behind as I hear about advances and solutions to problems that I am not completely aware of.
I believe my dad had the same thoughts in his mid-60s when he decided he was done buying any equipment and used what he had because it was good enough and adequate for his needs.
I still believe AM radio coming out of a small speaker does not sound all that bad.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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