10 Inventions That Have Made Life Easier
(Posted for Ten on Tuesday.)
Technology seems to be advancing at a head-spinning, warp-speed pace these days. Here are ten of the top modern conveniences, listed alphabetically.
Need cash right away? The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) stands ready to spew greenbacks at a moment’s notice. Of course, this modern convenience has spawned all sorts of etiquette questions. (See Bank-in-a-Box: How to Behave at the ATM for more information.)
With gas topping $4 per gallon and movie theater tickets selling for $8 to $10, it’s certainly a blessing to find recent-run films available at home. Movies-on-demand, available at the push of a button on cable or satellite, certainly bring entertainment with convenience.
The cellular phone has made local and long-distance communications available to nearly everyone, nearly everywhere. Friends and family members can keep in touch by cell phone, even from within the same building. On the other hand, parents may wonder whether cell phones are a good idea for a child or young teen. (See Preteen Pretext: Phoning’s Cool for Middle School for a comic look at this issue.)
Photography buffs, both professional and amateur, applauded the arrival of the digital camera. Suddenly, images became almost free. Online photo storage eliminated piles of photographic paper. Instant image sharing arrived. Within a few years, manufacturers even began offering simple, inexpensive digital cameras for children.
Don’t have a digital camera yet? See Choosing and Using a Digital Camera for helpful hints.
Digital Video Disks (DVDs) replaced videotapes with a streamlined convenience that made movies affordable, accessible and storable for the masses. No more rewinding! Video rental companies, such as NetFlix and Blockbuster, began offering movies for rent through the mail.
Miniature personal players began appearing in airport terminals, bus and train stations, college dorms and everywhere. Soon, folks discovered they could actually watch movies on their laptops or personal computers.
Has the convenience of DVD technology turned you into a movie buff? Want to share your evaluations of the films you have viewed? See How to Write a Movie Review for simple, step-by-step instructions. Why not review films for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Film Critic, Rotten Tomatoes or another online site?
Cookouts could not be any simpler! With a gas grill, the cook need only switch on the flame and begin sizzling those steaks, crisping the chicken, roasting the ribs or barbecuing the burgers. No more waiting for coals to turn toasty red.
Did you know you can cook delicious baked potatoes on the gas grill too? See Super Spud Success: Make Baked Potatoes on the Grill for easy instructions.
Even the most spontaneous shoppers can find the ultimate convenience in gift card shopping. Most large-scale variety and discount stores display racks filled with gift cards from various stores, restaurants, spas and other establishments. A gift card fits neatly inside a greeting card or standard note, requiring a standard postage stamp and saving the giver a trip to the post office for shipment.
Plus, gift card recipients can use the cards to shop online or in person. (See Cybershopping With Confidence for helpful online security tips.) What could be more convenient?
Flying fingers rejoiced with the advent of the warp-speed web. Through satellite and cable hookups, internet users gained flash-fast access. No more waiting for dial-ups. Instant-messaging could actually happen in an instant.
The microwave oven enabled everyone to defrost in a dash, prepare popcorn in a jiffy and reheat leftovers instantaneously. Suddenly, spontaneous meal selection became possible. Families actually could choose an evening’s menu and sit down to eat within minutes.
On the other hand, in many homes, overloaded schedules have cut into shared mealtimes. Even as food preparation has simplified, the family dinner has nearly disappeared. See The Family Feast: Endangered or Extinct for more information and tips for encouraging family togetherness at the table.
Television Remote Control
Poet William Ross Wallace (1819 - 1881) said, “The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world.” In modern times, we beg to differ. Actually, in most homes, the hand that holds the television remote control seems to wield the ultimate power.
Who determines the family’s TV viewing habits? Who decides when to shut the box off? Ever since the arrival of the television remote control, the issue is clear. Of course, this handy invention may have spawned a whole generation of Passive-Aggressors; The Timid Intimidators.
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