Gadgets and Gismos

I drive a car from the 1990’s. Mid 90’s, when apparently the hot to trot new gismo to have was a cassette player. And my, my, it is a fancy one. It has a play button. A rewind button. And, you guessed it, the coveted PAUSE button. Maybe “in the day” this was major. I doubt “in the day” they could have predicted that the only thing I’d ever use that for was to insert a converter cassette tape that attaches to my iPod.
Many of the new Fords have touch screens giving us every option from GPS functions to talking on the phone without ever touching one. It makes a car buyer wonder, “What functions do I really need? Which of these will go in, and right back out, like the not-so-recent demise of the good ole’ cassette tape? Which are worth investing in?”

All we have to do is look at the CD as a witness. I’m no technology expert, but if my 1996 car didn’t even have a CD player yet, that means we can narrow the CD’s reign down to a simple decade or so, beginning in the late 90’s. Now, notice that as soon as the touch screen showed its face, the CD slot was wayyyy down by the air conditioning knob. 1995 to 2005: The CD’s brief shot at fame, and then a quick descent into old, outdated, technology heaven.
It begs the question, which of these new and classy features are going to be just as obsolete as the CD in a few short years? And which, more importantly, will be good investments that can adapt to new gadgets and gismos, like the trusty cassette supporting my iPod? Smart technology makers shouldn’t be worried about how obsolete their idea will become shortly, but how their feature might transform into a helper for the new technology. It takes some major skill to make this happen before fresh ideas are even conceived. Maybe the GPS will one day drive the car, no driver needed. Maybe the hands-free phone system will read your mind and call the person before you know they need called. Did the cassette know one day it would be helping an iPod? No, no. It had never even heard the word. But it’s serving its purpose today, as a technological helper. So, my old car’s built-in cassette player was the investment of the decade…whoda thunk it.