slap-chop, the lambada and nkotb excluded
Which leads me to today's CODE WORD question: what specific invention of the last twentyish years are you most thankful for? Must be fairly granular; you can't say "the Internet", it must then be something specific on the internet. Thoughts?
Posted by Ian Williams at May 4, 2009 11:18 PM
I have a pacemaker-like device implanted at the base of my spinal column. I have a hereditary peripheral nerve problem, but this tiny little device sends a mild electric current that quiets the overactive nerve and lets me go about a pretty normal routine. I hardly think about it anymore.
The same type of device is used more commonly for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson's disease and dystonia (which is the focus of my own research). You should see the videos of some of the results. We have children with dystonia who come in at the end of the school year, whose limbs and trunk are so twisted that they're wheelchair bound and cannot even hold themselves upright without shaking uncontrollably. We implant the device in a specific part of the brain and optimize the electrical settings over the summer - and by the start of the school year they're up running around playing football again. It's really amazing.
So that gets my vote.
Digital SLR Cameras.
I was a decent film photographer in college, but set photography aside when I began working because of the amount of practice required to stay sharp enough to instinctually shoot a manual camera. I shot point & shoot cameras for at least 10 years before getting a digital SLR a few years ago. The technology has evolved such that all the technical skills that required practice to maintain have become, for the most part, obsolete.
I'm still not going to be a professional photographer anytime soon, but I can include photography in my life again - and that makes me happy.
Internet dating, if it counts. I didn't meet my hubby that way, but my friend met him that way, and eventually I got to meet him (she only liked him as a friend.) So the internet changed my life, and countless others.
Or maybe e-mail, since it helped shy gals like me meet more people in general.
1) I would say "virtual colonoscopy" but I can't find anyone to give me one instead of the old-fashioned kind! Oh sigh.
2) eBay before it started to degrade.
3) I'm with LFMD on the Lexapro.
4) DVR. Sooooo convenient. Also, pay-per-view movies on TV. (Netflix isn't working out for us.)
5) Not sure cell phones are new enough to qualify. We were relatively late to get them (proud holdouts!) and now of course we can't function without.
It might be older than 20 years, but it has only really taken off in that period: The color LCD screen. It pretty much makes the iPod, most cell phones, and some serious TV's possible.
Also, you can have my DVR when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
I only wish I could include cold fusion. Too bad physics is real.
This is a tough question. I think that probably the one I should be most thankful for is one I don't even know to say, like some crucial medical advance that has saved tons of lives. Or maybe the digital spreadsheet, which probably sped up business, or maybe html, which was an easy enough high-level coding language that everybody could learn it, enabling personal websites and blogging and on-line publishing.
But I'm instead going to go with the first one that came to mind -- the mp3. I was slow to jump on the bandwagon, but the mp3 format, sacrifices a little bit of quality for a ten-fold gain in portability, enabling music blogs, file-sharing, digital playlists, the spread of lesser-known artists and the collapse of the superstar system, and my own fledgling side career as a music critic. It has made my life more enjoyable and satisfying in countless ways, not the least of which is giving me instant control over my own record collection.
A runner-up choice is the Kindle, which is easily the most impressive piece of technology I've ever purchased. When I actually unpackaged it, I gasped.
Also, from the Department of Fact-Checking and Bubble-Bursting.
Email has been around since the early '60s at least, and was the basis for usenet groups and eventually the internet.
The first wireless phone patent was filed in 1908, and the first cell for a base station for phones was built in the 1940s.
The first liquid crystal display was produced in 1972.
Hey, Cris? I have a friend who has Dystonia, as of, like 2 years ago, and is it possible to contact you, or for her to contact you? That device sounds amazing. I feel like I can't live without my cell phone, but I'm not wheelchair bound without it. Thank you.
FreshDirect (or similar Web grocers). Order from work at 5pm. Stuff shows up at 630am the next morning and is unloaded on your counter. Saves me easily 1-2 hours a week, sometimes more. How many other innovations can say that?
Yes, I know that the trucks spew exhaust and the boxes are cardboard (they're working on both of these things) and that sometimes an egg is broken. But I'm literally buying back time, and it actually costs me less than D'Agostino's did (so glad to see those lousy NY grocery stores suffer - their offerings were an insult to people who live here).
Also, I think Zipcar is amazing. I miss it, actually, now that we have our own car. If only they could put cars with permanent car seats in our n-hood...
Hi Tessa! I refer to my device generally as a neurostimulator. Well, except when I go through airport security, in which case I usually say I have a "pacemaker-like device" because that registers a little more quickly with TSA people that I can't go through metal detectors. I believe that the different models which are implanted in brain for Parkinson's Disease or dystonia are typically called neurostimulators also. Pacemaker models have their own terminology, but the basic design idea is the same: a small chip-like device is implanted which gives out an electrical current to regulate activity of target cells.
More info can be found here: http://www.medtronic.com/our-therapies/index.htm
Today's comment post probably falls into the category of Oversharing Personal Information - but as a satisfied patient I'm always happy to attest to the benefits of neurostimulation.