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I have realized lately that I am beginning to show signs of my age.  I haven’t resorted to yelling at kids to get off my lawn or telling stories about walking to school in blizzard conditions uphill (both ways), but I can sense it.  I hear myself complaining to my wife about the kids with their waistbands around their knees or necklines at their navels and I stop for a second, sigh, and realize I’m slowly turning into that guy.

But, I think that in some ways the argument that kids today have it easier has a little validity.  The rapid-fire expansion of technology has made it so we have things at our fingertips today that would have taken hours to find in the past. 

For instance, take libraries.  When I was researching something in my school days I’d walk into the library and pull open a drawer full of index cards.  Card catalogues were the norm.  These days I don’t think the library in Hershey even has a card catalogue in the public areas.  Today you simply go to a computer and it spits out a lst of your references in a matter of seconds.  In fact, in many cases the library itself is becoming obsolete as more and more reference materials are available through online sources. 

Now, of course there are pitfalls here.  The internet is not the bright shiny neighborhood depicted in the sci-fi magazines of yesteryear.  It’s actually a dark and dangerous place where gleaming fonts of knowledge are surrounded by slinking predators and deep spike-laden pits.  The ease of access that we enjoy today comes with a price.  That price is found in the fact that the more popular the source becomes, the less reliable it actually is in some ways.

Take Wikipedia for example.  I myself turn to a multitude of wikis on many subjects when I need a quick answer to something trivial.  Riding down the highway on a road trip and see a sign for a named highway?  Grab the iPhone and look up the name on Wikipedia to satisfy my curiosity.  The problem with wikis is that they are publicly edited.  Granted, there are safety valves to keep things from getting out of hand, but I could easily log in and alter a page to indicate something purely fantasy and it might sit for a time before being caught and edited back to truth.

The truth is despite the pitfalls, information is more readily available now than ever before.  And, access is becoming easier and easier as time goes by.  Thus, the whippersnappers of today do have it a little easier than we did in many ways.  But, the technology that brought those wonders to us also brought a new variety of demons and predators from identity thieves to spam. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a member of the Nigerian royalty to e-mail.  They need help getting their money out  of the country, this is going to make me rich!

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