There's a period in time where something is so novel that it seems funny, then becomes so ubiquitous that no one cares.
I've been using email since I was in college, and that was some 20 years ago. In those days, email was strictly a text application. You didn't have to worry about viruses because you could hardly send a real attachment (though even then, there were ways, say, to send encoded images).
However, email was primarily in the purview of those attending universities, and even then, among the geekier lot.
About ten years ago, email became more prevalent, and it would seem funny when people would say "I'll email you". What? Ordinary people using email? How is that possible? Ho ho ho! Perhaps it goes to show that humor is all about context, and when things are out of context, it can be funny.
Once free email was widely available, from Yahoo, Hotmail, then GMail, it became a necessity rather than a novelty that it once was.
Or how about movies that used to advertise their website. For the first few months, it was hilarious to think a movie would have a website, but now, movies have to have websites. URLs are so ubiquitous, no one think it's even amusing when they see a movie with a website name.
But sometimes the novelty is still interesting, even after all this time, and never had that humor aspect. I remember a few years ago making an order on Amazon, which usually uses UPS to deliver. UPS was the first company to not only track their packages, but make that tracking information available online. People could watch as their package made progress across the country.
And the funny thing? I think, as long as the package makes progress, people don't even mind it taking a few days to arrive. True, UPS and agile companies have made the idea "ready in 6-8 weeks" completely laughable (companies used to do this--hard to imagine a time before instant gratification with packages sent in less than 5 days, they'd make you wait nearly two months to get something).
Even though it's been years since they've had the feature (it hasn't gotten much better alas--ideally, you'd want to be able to track where they are moment to moment, but that would involve GPS, and maybe UPS doesn't want this information available to the public (the UPS truck is driving north at location X).
It took a while before other competitors followed suit, FedEx, and USPS. I presume it was quite an expense for UPS to develop (but something they needed anyway--they just needed to hook it up to a webpage), but others saw the benefit and did likewise.
What "amazing" things will we see in the years upcoming?
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1 month ago