Confessions of A
Commentary on the News
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
The Electronic Age has brought us wonders
unthinkable a generation ago. When I was born,
the fastest method of communication was the
telephone. Live operators would manually connect
callers to local numbers – my dad’s phone number
was 654 – that’s all.
One would pick up the phone, an operator would
answer with, “Number, please?”, the caller would
give the operator the number, (or the name,
which the operator would obligingly look up) and
connect the call. That was 1952.
Compared to today, it was primitive, but a
half-century ago, it was state of the art. I was
eighteen when I got my first 8-track tape
player. It was wondrous! It was like having a
record player right in the car – and in STEREO!
The alternative was the standard monaural AM
radio – FM radio was yet future.
A few years after that, I saw my first
microwave oven in the lunchroom of the factory I
worked in. I could hardly wait to come home and
tell everyone about being able to cook a hotdog
in 15 seconds! Nobody believed me.
I went right out and bought one -- for a
thousand dollars (Sears EZ five year payment
plan), brought it home and demonstrated it by
cooking a chicken. The recommended time didn't
seem to work -- the chicken didn't look cooked.
So I cooked it some more.
After that, it became known in my family as
the Thousand Dollar Hot Dog Warmer.
In the mid-1970’s, the EZ five-year payment
plan allowed me to be the first guy on the block
to have a $1700 beta VCR. It was a huge, bulky
affair that had a long cord with a toggle switch
that served as a remote control pause. (It was
an added feature).
Blank tapes were only twenty dollars (a
half-day’s pay) and you had to sign a rental
contract agreeing to pay $100-plus replacement
cost if your machine ‘ate’ the tape.
It was a time of miracles, for sure!
In the span of ten years’ time, it became
possible to listen to your own music on the
drive home, sit down and watch a movie you
missed while at work, while eating a hotdog that
took 25 seconds from refrigerator to plate.
And if the phone rang (now it had a dial and
seven numbers), you could MAKE THE MOVIE STOP
until you got off the phone!
Could it get any better than this?
In 1980, the introduction of DOS meant the
introduction of the personal computer. The first
one I saw cost more than I made in a year, and
came as part of a desk. It weighed about a
hundred pounds and was not much more than a word
Five years later, I bought my first PC. (Some
of this will be Greek to some of you – sorry) It
was an 8088 Amstrad with an amber 12” monitor, a
pair of 5 ¼ 720K floppy drives and no hard drive
– for a mere $1700 – (3 yr revolving charge
Within a couple of years, I could use it to
make forms for everything around the house,
becoming organized in the Information Age.
Then came the Internet. Then existing
computers made it easier and faster to devise
new computers and computing devices and Moore’s
Law was born.
(Moore’s Law says that computer processing
power and computer capacity will DOUBLE every
eighteen months. And about every eighteen months
since, I've needed a new computer).
As computers got smarter, I noticed that I
had to get smarter to keep up. I had to learn
how to fix them, since in the early years, PC
techs were few and far between and enormously
Exploring the Internet makes you smarter
whether you plan on it or not. It takes a while
to learn how to separate fact from fiction, but
even that exercise in cognitive reasoning makes
Today, every time I sit down to browse the
Internet, I sit atop a database containing what
is arguably the sum total of the world’s
What a journey in a single lifetime! From
“Number, please” to chatting via Internet
Messaging in real time anywhere in the world
from my desk without ever picking up a phone.
From AM Radio and black and white network
television to MP3’s and DVD’s that I can watch
or create on the same equipment that is my
phone, television, radio, stereo, workstation,
word processor, electronic document file, movie
studio, sound studio, telephone answering
service, fax machine, copy machine and printer.
And a million other things.
Compare that to previous generations. My
grandmother was born in 1898 and lived to 1995.
She saw wondrous technological developments. But
from her birth to mine technology went at a
snail’s pace, relatively speaking.
But compare her snail’s pace to the pace of
the generations before her. Her father died
before riding in an automobile and before the
Wright brothers proved flight was possible. His
father’s world changed relatively little from
his father’s, and so on.
The ships Columbus sailed to the New World in
1492 were not significantly different than the
ship the Apostle Paul sailed on his
Mediterranean missions in the first century.
Both presumably arrived at the dock by
horseback, as did every generation up to and
including my grandmother’s.
My grandmother brought her family from
England to Canada during the London Blitz in
1940 in a convoy of ships dodging German
submarines as they made their way across the
Atlantic. It took seven harrowing days, and was
the fastest (and only) method of getting from
the Continent to North America.
Today, the same trip could be made in three
hours aboard the Concorde.
In about the middle of the 6th century before
Christ, the prophet Daniel was given a vision of
the world as it will be in the last generation
before the return of Christ to begin the
Millennial Kingdom foretold by the prophet
Imagine 6th century Daniel watching the scene
unfold before him. I usually picture him as
seeing something like a drive in screen where he
is seeing battlefield footage of the Gulf Wars.
Imagine what that technology must have seemed to
Daniel, who never saw a machine that didn't need
a horse or a man to power it.
Daniel was confused, as one might expect:
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I,
O my Lord, what shall be the end of these
things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the
words are CLOSED UP AND SEALED till the time of
the end.” (Daniel 12:7-8).
The angel told Daniel that the vision for the
end was for those who would be alive at that
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and
tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and
none of the wicked shall understand; but the
wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:11)
The revealing angel told Daniel that the
words of the book were not for him, or even for
subsequent generations, but that instead they
would remain a mystery until the appointed time.
The angel also gave some details that would
help the generation to whom the book was written
identify the signs of the times.
“But thou, O Daniel, SHUT UP THE WORDS, and
SEAL the book, even TO THE TIME OF THE END: many
shall RUN TO AND FRO, and KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE
INCREASED.” (Daniel 12:4) [emphasis mine]
As we just discussed, Paul traveled Asia
aboard ship. Columbus came to America aboard
ship. My mother came to North America aboard a
ship. That covers 1900 years of technology.
A half-century later, I can make the same
journey aboard a supersonic aircraft in three
hours while watching a DVD on my laptop.
‘Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased.”
Excerpted from the Omega Letter Daily
Intelligence Digest, Vol: 20, Issue: 23
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