Do you ever wonder if Jeeves is mad that nobody asks him anything anymore? You remember "Ask Jeeves," right? One of the original web search engines founded in 1996, in the early days of the Internet he was the go-to-guy. Now known simply as Ask.com, his traffic has been significantly reduced due in part to our culturally-acceptable answer to any question; "just Google it."
As I spend more time with younger generations in my basketball travels, I'm reminded of more and more technologies that for better or worse are being replaced. Some call that growth, others progress; you be the judge, each case is different.
When talking about the finer points of photography with a colleague the other day we reminisced about darkrooms, shutter-speeds, test strips and enlargers. We remembered how we learned the craft -- the old fashioned way. When you wanted a photo filter you literally placed a filter on an enlarger, now we click a button on Instagram and Facebook and the work is done for us. It's amazing how easy it is now to make the world look better.
Among the recent trends I've noticed in traveling with our basketball team is their new favorite way to kill time on the road, playing billiards against each other, on their tablets no less. Sure, they're interacting with one another and sure, there are good players in their tablet pool-room. But I would bet that they couldn't make the majority of those shots in an actually smoky pool hall, with a crooked cue and some sort of rock music blaring from the juke box.
Do they even know how to put the proper "English" on each shot? Do they know the table etiquette of placing a quarters under the bumper to stake a claim to the next game?
I'm not in the least slamming technology, matter of fact this column is being written on a tablet PC somewhere near the Texas-New Mexico border and was magically sent via mobile Wi-Fi and to be processed electronically for this publication. Yes. I will never know the grind of a typewriter nor the hours it would have taken 40 years ago to send this same data via fax machine. Progress has made things easier in many regards.
We can't fear progress, we can't fear change. While the art of many things are lost when it becomes "easier" to do them, we are better people for knowing both the "old" and the new.
I feel lucky in that regards, I'm from a generation that experienced a major shift in everything from music to computers to cars and communication. I've listened to songs on LPs, cassettes, CDs, mp3 and Itunes. I've watched movies on reel-to-reel, Beta, VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix. I can argue the finer points of each, but honestly prefer the ability to download whatever I feel like watching from a server in the Silicon Valley in a matter of minutes. Progress? You bet, but I also miss the anticipation of walking into the door of the video store to see if the latest Stallone action flick is "in stock."
Everything will change and we'll change with it as well. I know change and progress is once again a topic of discussion in Tehachapi with a line-in-the-sand mentality fueling the debate. I've always taken to progress with this mindset; how can I make it work for me?
I'm sure more new things will continue to change the world we all grew up in, it's just a fact of life. I'll keep seeing the latest trends among our athletes and default to "old guy" status thinking about how things were and direction they're headed. Then my movie will finish downloading to my Android tablet or my Iphone 5 will ring; and I'll be reminded that progress isn't so bad after all.
COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University, Bakersfield.