Well, it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the prompt, so bear with me.
You hear a lot about your “digital life” these days, where all your entertainment, your job, and your communications can be broken down into a string of binary characters, i.e. 1’s and 0’s. When you came to this page, or received this email, or however you read this blog, it was delivered by a string of 1’s and 0’s. If you see a picture of a cat wearing a Santa Claus hat on Facebook, you’re looking at a string of 1’s and 0’s that, taken together, form the picture of a cat wearing a Santa Claus hat. Ditto what happens when you see a video of the cat in the Santa Claus hat try to get it off. Nothing but strings of 1’s and 0’s. When you think about it, it’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
Think about this: when my nephew Mathew was born, I got an email from my brother with pictures of his new son, taken within moments of the kid being born. Really, Matt was born at 2:00 in the afternoon, and by 2:10 I was looking at him. Back in the old days, you would take a picture of the baby, take it to Fotomat (remember those?) to be developed and to have sufficient copies made for everyone in the family, get stamps and envelopes, put each picture in an envelope, address it and stamp it, and drop it in the mailbox. The Post Office would work its magic, and a week or so later the letter carrier would drop it in the mailbox in front of my house. Ten minutes (digital) versus ten days (analog). Wow. That’s almost 1500 times faster.
Then there’s this, that I found on Facebook:
Five megabytes! Now, I carry one of these around in my pocket: 128 gigabytes. 25,000 times more storage…
We’ve figured out how to put more digits in less space. And we need to be able to store more digits in less space.
So digital makes our lives faster, but it begs the question, does it make them better? In some ways, it does, in other ways, not so much. We still live in an analog world, when you come right down to it; our lives can’t easily be broken down into strings of 1’s and 0’s. Despite all the technological advances, we still live in a world of things to see, and touch, and smell, and taste, and hear. We can’t duplicate any of those as accurately using 1’s and 0’s, and some we can’t duplicate at all.
So, don’t forget the analog.