Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Innovations and You

Innovation: the introduction of something new 2 : a new idea, method, or device (

In my composition classes, I am asking my students to write about three or four recent innovations that they would have a difficult time living without. Of course, they then need to explain why they would have a difficult time living without these items. I'm expecting cell phones to be one of the top innovations with iPods coming in at a close second.

This assignment has prompted me to think about recent innovations that I would have a difficult time living without or that I would prefer to not live without. One innovation would be the keyless entry system most cars now have. I appreciate being able to lock my car door as I approach it instead of having to fumble to get the key into the lock. In the winter it is nice not to have to worry about ice covering the lock, and it is especially nice in the evening when it is dark.

Another innovation would be digital cameras. When I go on a trip, I love to take a number of pictures. When I came back from my first trip to England, I brought back over 20 rolls of film. I hate to miss a single shot. With the digital camera, I can take as many pictures as I want and then I can sort through them and only print the best ones. Digital cameras also make it easier to share photos with others, although one of my newest pet peeves is when a group shot is taken and everyone wants a shot taken with their own cameras. Why can't just one person take the picture and then share it with others? We have a number of family pictures where each person is looking in a different direction because multiple cameras were being used.

In an essay aptly entitled "Innovation," Phil Patton observes, "about the changes that have been most deeply absorbed into the pores of daily routine, we could . . . often say, 'I can't remember how we lived without it.'" I will admit that it does seem like we have had digital cameras and keyless entry for longer than they have actually been around. My trip to England occurred May 2001. Digital cameras existed, but the price was still high, so not many people owned one. We did not have keyless entry until we bought our Sentra in 2001, but it seems like all of our cars have had this feature. I guess that shows the effect of a true innovation.

What innovations would you have a difficult time living without?

1 comment:

jen_lancaster said...

As a mom, I'd have to agree with you on the camera (my photo organizer has over 14,000 pictures in it...). Also, anything drive-thru (I refuse to use a pharmacy without one - sorry Walmart!) and pay-at-the-pump gas stations (again - I refuse to use one without it). The internet is another one. How did we plan trips, book hotel rooms, and find phone numbers before it? I can remember having my mom pick up the AAA guide books for us before a trip. Now we just search online (which is good, unless the hotel changes names/management/EVERYTHING 2 DAYS before your trip...see my blog on August 18 for an explanation). I would also say PayPal, except that I have to be REALLY careful not to abuse it - it's too easy! ;)