On technological progress

I bought a new phone recently.

Buying a new phone is a big thing for me, since I’ve been holding on to my old phone for ages, and it has served me well. But the reason behind this sudden purchase was not that my old phone had stopped working, but rather that I finally decided that I needed a new camera.

My digital camera is very old digital camera, which I inherited from my father when he bought a new camera in 2004. This is the camera which I brought with me to Manchester, and on all of my field trips since then, and it has served me well. But for the past 2 years I haven’t really taken any photos at all due to its immense clunkiness.

I remember reading in a PC magazine back in the mid-1990s that any piece of computer software or hardware more than 5 years old is to be considered an antique. So in their wording, my camera is most certainly a modern antique.

So I began looking at cameras and thought I’d give these new camera phones a look-over as well. And it was at that point that I realized the extent of technological progress (as one might be tempted to call it) in the field of gadgets in the past few years, which I’ve sought to illustrate below with a picture of my collection of assorted electronic gadgetry:

Technology

  • Pictured at the right is my old phone, a Nokia 3510i from 2002. At the time hyped for its colour screen.
  • Pictured at the centre is my old portable music player, a Iaudio U3 from 2005, with 1 gigabyte of memory. Its display has been broken in an unfortunate incident rendering menu navigation very random.
  • Pictured at the bottom is my old digital camera, the sturdy but inefficient Olympus c-700 with its 2.1 megapixels camera, and 32 megabytes of memory in a neat package the size of a fist.
  • Pictured at the top is my new phone, a Nokia N73 from 2006. It has a high definition colour screen, 2 gigabytes of memory, built-in music player and a 3.2 megapixel camera.
  • Now, this may not be news to a lot tech-savvy people, but it is a very new feeling to me to have such a multi-functional tool in my pocket. But despite all of its qualities, I cannot help but wonder whether it will prove to be as durable as the three gadgets that it retires…

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