This week it was announced that there could possibly be a worldwide bacon shortage in our near future. As devastating a bit of news as this is, it started my thinking about what modern technological conveniences it would really suck to live without. Thusly, this week we will delve into the depths of my (and likely some of yours as well) reliance upon modern technology. Allow me to elaborate on MY definition of “modern”. I’m only including conveniences that have been invented and have permeated our society since 1900. We can all agree that living without electricity or indoor plumbing would be the worst of the worst deprivations and having to take a horse and carriage ride to work instead of driving your automobile would really mess with your commute times, but those fall before my cutoff so let’s just assume those conveniences are safe and deal only with more modern technological dependencies. Here we go…
8. Air conditioning- Surprisingly, this is the oldest convenience on my list. Depending on where in the country you live, this modern invention is a near necessity. Despite our dear Editor in Chief recently trying to convince me how wonderful it is to spend your day lounging in a hammock outside. I say give nature the middle finger! I’ll take my nice dehumidified, artificially cooled, air conditioning over the wind and sun any day.
7. Smartphones- In this day and age, the cell phone has evolved into so much more than a telephone. It’s now your pocket computer, mp3 player, GPS navigational tool, e-reader, mobile gaming system, and even digital camera just to name a few. Oh, and it still makes phone calls as well, but who does THAT anymore! I was a very late adopter to the smartphone movement. I held on to my digital Nokia flip phone for far more years than any sane person should have. Now that I am fully ensconced in the smartphone revolution though, I have to admit that without it I would feel disconnected from the outside world. My wife would argue that I spend too much time “playing with my phone” and would love to see me live without it for just one day. But the simple fact that she married me should call HER judgment into question anyway.
6. Xbox 360- You can substitute your gaming system of choice here. Though, why would you really own anything else? I spend far more hours a week on my Xbox than is probably prudent. Whether it’s playing games or using the apps such as Netflix or HBO GO, I definitely get the return on my investment for the entertainment it provides. My generation grew up with a Nintendo controller in their hands and the thought of not having a gaming console is just absurd to me. It’s probably even to the point of addiction in some cases. I remember when my hand-me-down Xbox 360 finally developed the “Red Ring of Death” at 1 a.m. while I was attempting to play Call of Duty online. I nearly left the house at that exact moment to go buy a new one at the nearest Wal-Mart. I settled for the home remedy of wrapping that sucker in a blanket and cooking the insides. It worked! I was back online and shooting people within the hour. Though it did only last for another week. One day later and a few hundred dollars on my Best Buy credit card and I was once again fulfilling my geeky needs with virtual enjoyment.
5. The Microwave Oven- Often overlooked or even downright disrespected, the microwave oven is an essential device in MY home. I don’t mind actually cooking things, but if it can come from a can or out of my freezer and be ready to eat in three minutes, that’s what I’ll be having. At least when I’m only worried about feeding myself. I have had my microwave die on me before. I go to the pantry looking for a nice lunch and grab the nearest can of processed nitrates and fat only to realize I’d have to actually cook this stuff on the stove. Forget that! Looks like it’s going to be a cold sandwich instead. I’ll take my unhealthy foods cooked by radiation instantaneously rather than over a fire. What am I? A savage?
4. Television- Where would my aforementioned gaming system be without something to play it on? What would I do with my spare time if there weren’t hundreds of channels providing content for me to inject into my eyeballs?? Go outside? I think we already established in the air conditioning category that that’s not gonna happen. I absorb television programming like it is life-giving oxygen. My TiVo (crap I should have added DVR to this list) was set to record six hours of programming just during LAST NIGHT’S prime-time schedule. All of which will be devoured by me as quickly as I can. There is only one device used for entertainment (among other things) that I believe has affected the way we live our lives more than the television and that is number three…
3. Personal Computer- According to recent surveys, about 80% of American homes have one or more computers. A home computer encompasses everything I’ve said about smartphones, gaming systems, even television. I personally have two. One upstairs in our “office” and a laptop downstairs that functions as my Blu-ray/DVD player, occasional gaming system, and where I tend to compose these wonderful diatribes for 8daysageek. I recently contemplated adding a third and then realized I didn’t really have a place I’d like to put it. Whether it’s being used for work or play, managing your finances or doing all your Christmas shopping online, (I highly recommend this. Brick and mortar stores during the holiday season? No thank you!) the personal computer is practically required in today’s world. If you didn’t have one you couldn’t be reading my wonderful ramblings right now or even visiting this spectacular website! In fact, you couldn’t do a majority of the things a computer is used for nowadays without my number two…
2. The Internet- Thank you, Al Gore! The internet is quite possibly the last world altering innovation to come out of the United States and yes, I am aware that Al Gore did not invent the internet. I was being facetious, jeez. Much like how my PC encompasses many of the abilities I attributed to other items on this list; all those same items are connected to the internet. How would I know what that random person from high school thought about a photo of a cat with its head in a hole cut out of a slice of bread, if it weren’t for the internet and social media? How would I get my news? Newspapers? I’ll say it again…am I a savage? How would I pay my bills? Envelopes and stamps you say. Nonsense! That’s archaic! What would I do without fantasy baseball stats to pour over seven months of the year? I might have to read those statistics…ugh…in a book. The mere thought sends shivers down my spine. Though not quite as scary as living without the item at number one….
1. The Remote Control- While reading this list I bet you didn’t think I was going to end here. Well you should have! My technological depravity knows no bounds. Every item on this list can be controlled by remote. Really? A remote controlled microwave? Google the LG Lightwave Oven and you’ll have your answer. I have a basket on my entertainment center that contains NO LESS than five remote controls at this very moment. Some used more than others, but all with a specific function. There is even an app on my phone that allows it to BECOME the remote control for my Xbox! I could purchase one of those really nice programmable remotes that allow me to combine everything on one device. But what do you think I am? Some kind of technophile? What would life be like if I had to actually get up and change the channels? Or push play manually to watch a video? It would be torture I tell you, torture! And that, sir…is a world I care not to think of.
There you have it! My top eight modern technological conveniences I would hate to live without. I hope you enjoyed exploring the depths of my technological depravity with me but I have some television to watch. So I’ll see you next week with another entertaining countdown. You can follow me on Twitter @SeanMLScott or email me here at SeanScott@8daysageek.com. Allons-y!!
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