As I was driving the other day, I casually remarked to my daughter that the car approaching us was likely an unmarked police car. It turns out that she was unfamiliar with the concept, and asked me how I knew. I said I couldn’t be sure, but pointed out a few telltale signs... late model, high powered but somewhat plain, large American made car. I pointed out the number and placement of antennas. Finally I pointed out the lack of white wall tires. To emphasize that last point, I looked around to find an example of whitewall tires. Much to my surprise, I found none.
I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently dated myself. For the last few days, I’ve been watching out for such tires. They can be found. Generally on somewhat older, often American made cars.
Revolutions often happen that way. Quietly, and without much fanfare. Cell phones have been quietly displacing land lines usage on campuses and hotels. Modems and floppy disks that were once central to personal computing, are rarely used any more.
When I started in 1981, I had a terminal, my boss did not, and his secretary had an IBM Selectric typewriter. (When was the last time you saw a typewriter in use). At the time, everybody heralded the upcoming “paperless office”, but generally everything we did resulted in the usage of more paper.
Now we all have personal computers and/or laptops. And while access to printers have gotten easier, we use them less. Paperless quietly won.
Makes one wonder what things we take for granted today that will be all but displaced in the next five to ten years.