The impossible happened this week. Trump won the presidency race. Who would have thought that mid-America would be stupid enough to put a racist, bigoted, sexist, disgusting man in power. But it’s happened and all we can do now is pray that he won’t be as bad as the sensible among us think he might be.
I remember a year ago my 13 (not 14) year old saying to me:
“Dad – I’m really worried that Trump will become president – what will happen?”
“Don’t worry” I replied, “Hillary is a good candidate and will make a great president, I fully believe that America will not vote for him”.
But they did.
My 11 year old came back from school on Wednesday night and said:
“Dad – have you seen the news? Trump is president – it is going to cause world war 3”. He was pretty upset about it which I found astounding as we don’t really talk about politics in our house. How someone in their first year of secondary school can foresee the damage that this man can cause just shows how much more grown up kids are these days.
But I digress. This post isn’t about the election. This post is a bit of a geekfest to take at how the world of technology has advanced since Obama came into power 8 years ago – specifically the good stuff that has affected my life on a day to day basis.
The rise of the tablet – The iPad was launched in 20XX (feels a lot longer) and this, along with other tablets such as the Kindle Fire, Nexus & surface really changed the internet. Not just peoples use of the internet, but actually got more people online and opened up a new means of communication. My wife’s parents for example are now able to Facetime their grandchildren who live hundreds of miles away.
Streaming TV – Netflix (which launched in the UK in March 2012), Amazon, iPlayer have change the way in which we use TV. I don’t actually remember the last time I watched live TV. I no longer have a Sky box and have “cut the cable”. Not only has it opened up content to more people but it’s also created NEW content which has revolutionised this space.
Uber– I really like Uber. Getting a taxi 8 years ago in London would mean finding somewhere to get out cash (I tend not to carry any) and then paying more than I should have to and still having to give direct them home as soon as we got south of the river. It’s made transport cheaper and more accessible, I just wish my phone battery lasted longer!
Google Maps (and Waze) – Whilst there were GPS devices before Obama came into power there was not the availability there is today. I remember having to print off maps from some desktop software or heaven forbid actually have to print a map in the car all the time to make sure I knew how to get to my destination. In addition to these, Citymapper is also an awesome app which I use all the time to help find the best ways to get around London.
Mobile Banking – The first banking mobile app in the UK was by First Direct (who I have used for years) back in 2011. I was surprised when researching this that it took someone that long to launch considering the app store went live back in 2008. Internet banking had been around for a while but to be able to check your balance on the go, especially before heading into a shop was a revolution. I’d also give an honourable mention to contactless payment here too which has come a long way in the past few years and saves a ton of time.
Whatsapp – Whatsapp launched back in January 2010 when text messages were still the done thing. I’ve probably only sent a few texts over the past couple of years as most people I know now use Whatsapp instead – it’s a much easier and cheaper alternative. Did you also know that the creator of whatsapp, after leaving Yahoo! with a bunch of cash applied for a job at Facebook and got turned down? 6 years later he sold $17bn. Oops.
Language apps – Remember when Rosetta Stone used to cost a shed load of money but unless you wanted to go to night school it was your only option? All that changed with the introduction of apps like Duolingo which can help you learn a new language from scratch. This is actually used by my sons school for homework now which is pretty neat.
Google Docs/Drive – Whilst I still use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel for much of my day to day work, Google Docs is super for collaboration. We use it all the time for a variety of stuff both at home and work but my favourite one is the shared list of things that need doing in our head office where we get such gems as “The toilet seat is broken in the ladies – it wasn’t me though”.
What will the next 8 years bring? My biggest two predictions of things that will have a big impact on our lives are self driving cars and the mainstream use of voice control. Perhaps you could add VR to this list but I tend to think it might end up being a fad like 3d TVs.
Have I missed something that has a big impact on your life? Let me know by leaving a comment..