‘Time’ magazine: The Top 10 tech gadgets of 2012

As we fast approach the end of the year, there are those that believe some cleanup of loose ends could be in order before 2013 arrives.

As such, I’m not one of those that believes that the Human Experience conveniently follows our man-made time-keeping system.

For example: in 1999 and as we approached the new Millennium, National Geographic was amongst those that offered up a sort of summation of the past period’s Human Experience. The magazine released a series of CD-ROMs (remember those?) in a box set detailing the 20th Century and mankind’s history throughout that time.

Sadly or otherwise, there was no attempt by anyone to additionally categorize and capture mankind’s progress through the previous 900 years…after all, isn’t a millennium supposed to be 1000 years? (Please insert the appropriate winking-faced emoticon here.)

As this was still early in the personal computing experience, the media was fairly limited. There were many historic recorded speeches, newsreel footage, and lots of photographs…and pages after pages of text.

Anyway, in the liner notes for the box set the author makes a point similar if not the same that I just did, that long-lasting events in history (like World War II or the Iran hostage ordeal) don’t conveniently end on a year ending with “9” and start with a “0.”

Which is unintentionally amusing, as the CD-ROMs are broken down into decades—1900-1920, 1921-1930, and so on.

So, as we end another year, I won’t be doing a “retrospective” of the past year’s events. You can go elsewhere for that, and probably should anyway, that’s not really what we do here.

But I did want to share with you Time magazine’s 2012 Tech Top Ten list, before, uh, it’s 2013.

Time magazine, along with sister publications Life and Look, were at one time the very epitome of magazine publishing. If it wasn’t in Time it wasn’t very important news and you didn’t need to know about it. LIfe magazine, which was discontinued for a while and then brought back, featured then and now some of the most amazing photographs to be found anywhere. As the 1960s lurched on, some of the magazine’s issue themes and images proved to be very jarring and disturbing for America’s living rooms, accustomed to seeing more middle-of-the-road photographs.

While Time‘s importance has been considerably eroded by its competition–the trend in newspapers toward investigative reporting, particularly after events such as the Watergate scandal in the early 70s, and the rise of electronic media and the Internet–the publication has shouldered on. It’s a disturbing experience if you happen to pick up a copy now–it’s as emaciated as a terminally ill patient. Gone is the heft from before that told you there was a whole lot o’ news in there. Now it feels like the supermarket ads that arrive every week in the mailbox.

Progress doesn’t stop–and neither does Time. The old magazine’s spirit lives on through Time.com. But it’s not the same. You can call me old school, old-fashioned, whatever. I use a computer for many hours a day, my life is built around them–and I wouldn’t want to go back to the way it was before.

But, as the ancient proverb tells us, “Every convenience brings its own inconveniences along with it.”

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