Oh, how far we have come

With the sixth year of the twenty-first century coming upon us in just a few days, I thought it might be a good time to look back and see how far we have come in such a short time. Because this is a computer column, I want to look back at how technology may or may not have changed our lives.

Ted Koppel, in a recent interview, said that it’s not the technology that is important; it is how we use the technology. And Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, said we should be thankful for what we have.

Both these interviews were on Charlie Rose programs that I recorded on my TIVO, a piece of technology that now I think I could not live without. And I am writing this column on my desktop computer using Microsoft Word, a modern word processing program. I compose on the screen and make corrections as I type along. No longer am I concerned with keeping my pencils sharp and not running out of paper. I also email the final copy to the editor instead of putting paper in an envelope, finding a stamp and running to the Post Office. Oh, how far we have come.

And The Tustin News is composed using a sophisticated computer program that sends the final copy to the printer. There still are deadlines but no longer do we have to factor in the time it takes a Linotype machine operator to cast the hot lead billets into type for the printing presses. Oh, how far we have come.

Just a few minutes ago I went to the World Wide Web, a 1991 development by the way, and typed in to get the latest news. No longer do I have to go to my radio and wait for a news broadcast or wait until my newspaper is delivered. Now I can get news twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And if I want instant reaction to the news, I visit some of the 16 million weblogs or “blogs.” Oh, how far we have come, though here it might be debatable.

How about the Web itself? Want to bake a cake? Search Google (barely seven years old and worth $400 per share). Want to read my past columns, go to Maybe we want directions to Aunt Jane’s new home. Let’s go to and it will print out our route. These are just a few of the nearly three billion web pages at our fingertips. Oh, how far we have come.

Has the technology changed our lives? Mine certainly has changed, hopefully for the better. Even though I sometimes get bogged down with how the technology actually works, hardware and programs, it’s how I make use of this technology that has made such a difference. My kids can’t conceive of a world before television and I’m sure my grandkids can’t conceive of a world before computers, Ipods, cellular telephones, etc. Oh, how far we have come and what the future might bring.

If you would like to hear more about the how computing has changed our lives, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit. And visit my blog at

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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