In the last 30 years we've gradually began to share more and more of our lives with a a vast range of technological gadgets that we've come to rely on, love, and obsess over. Such has been the overwhelming surge in the appliance of science to all aspects of our existence, that now when we raise our heads wearily from the technological trough we find that the machines have all but taken over! It's a sad state of affairs but a very entertaining, and it has to be said, extremely convenient one. Let's take a sneaky trawl through the top drawer of tech gadgets that no self-respecting member of our push-button generation would want to be without.
When the late, great Steve Jobs introduced the world to the touch screen wonder of the iPhone at the turn of 2007, we all gasped in shock because the bar of technological excellence had been raised considerably. People used to make a point of calling iPhone users smug, but when you have an easily portable gadget which acts as a phone, a stereo, a record collection, a camera, a photo album, a games console, a video player, an editing suite, and a device with instant internet and email access and an easy to purchase range of applications for just about anything else you can think of, why wouldn't you be? There have been many smart phones since, but they still cower in the fierce and formidable shadow set by the mighty and magical iPhone.
Like the iPhone but on a bigger scale, the iPad cannot make telephone calls but it does make reading books, surfing the internet, playing games, watching films, and showing off to your friends a whole lot better. And it's also given a new definition to the word 'tablet'.
Back in the old days when we didn't know where we were going we'd try and read directions from something called a 'map'. Map reading usually involved lots of arguing with your fellow passengers, sore eyes, wasted petrol and a number of wrong turns. This has all changed thanks to the wonder of satellite navigation. Now when we're in the car, it's impossible to get lost if you have a good GPS navigation system whose kind little voice and cute computer graphics will tell you exactly where to go and how to get there.
When anyone argues against the advantages of a Kindle as opposed to traditional books just mention one word - "deforestation!" The dawn of the e-book reader has saved an awful lot of trees from the woodcutter's axe, and an awful lot of bookworm's homes from becoming ridiculously cluttered with ragged old paperbacks. But what's really great about the Kindle, is you can carry your own personal library around in your pocket and add to it with a touch of the button.
Sony have always made great sounding stereos, but when they brought out the Giga Juke, capable of storing all your albums in one place. Music fans started listening to dusty old CDs they hadn't touched in years. Essentially the Giga Juke works like an ipod with a ridiculously massive memory. It records your CDs to its hard drive and you're free to access them at will before playing them back in superior Sony sound.
Camcorders have come a long way since the huge bulky monsters of the early 90s. And the low cost of high-definition video cameras originally developed by JVC have found favour with both amateurs and professionals. It's not hard to make great looking films with these babies and they really are ideal for have-a-go Steven Spielbergs on holiday.
Portable DVD Player
When DVD players first came out they offered great picture quality for a high price and they were also very big. Fast forward a decade or two and portable DVD players are relatively cheap, great quality and allow you to watch movies in bed, on a train, on a beach, in your garden, or anywhere else which rocks your boat.
USB Flash Drive
They're smaller, faster, and can store more data than floppy disks ever could. And they can transport almost anything from one computer to another. There also conveniently attachable to your key-ring, so why on earth would you want to be without one?
Believe it or not, laptops were once considered only viable in terms of a small niche market, but who would want to go back to the dark ages when you were tied to a desk or work-station if you wanted to use a computer? Laptops have made using the computer much more sociable because you can whip them out anywhere and pretend to be half-interested in your surrounding at the same time.
Televisions are so integrated in our cultural and social lives we take them for granted and never really appreciate them for the wondrous creations they are. Think about it! Moving pictures in colour that talk. A century ago it would have been considered magic. Televisions are a focal point of nearly everyone's home and you won't meet many people who'd want to be without one.