Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That begs the question as to who is the father? One could say that greed is the father of invention. After all, there are very few inventions these days that are being driven by the desire for the greater good than are being made for the practical purpose of making the creator money. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but is it really doing anything for us as a whole? As a people? Gone are the days when man (and woman) invented things for the purpose of closing the distances between us; to achieve things that once seemed impossible. There are still dreamers out there; they hide in corners waiting for their chance to spring out and make a difference in the world.

Unfortunately for most of us, these inventions and creations are few and far between and rather we are inundated with countless inventions which are more like add-ons than actual creations. Take for example the latest boom in the modern world, the iPod. Everyone seems to be sprouting those ubiquitous white ear buds from their lobes listening to music. The art of conversation has been replaced by personalised music selections. I remember the days when people complained of excessive cell phone use. Now rather than listening to people chat away on cell phones (which still does occur rather frequently) we can also find the sounds of silence. But just having an iPod is not enough. One must spread the joy and share their music with everyone.

Roll out the add-ons! What do I mean? Well go to nearly any store that sells iPod or accessories and you will find an aisle dedicated to the stuff. Apple has managed to create something that has an endless supply of add-ons and accoutrements. Need a protective case? Everybody and their brother has created one. Want an amplifier for your iPod so you don't have to wear your ear buds all the time? There are at least twenty different varieties of plug-and-play devices to plug your iPod into to share the music.

The latest now is iPods in cars! I remember when tape players became standard features. It was a great day in the automotive world. Now you have to pay to get a cassette player installed (not that I need one... my entire collection is on CD). Now it seems that even the CD will soon give way to the MP3 player revolution. Cars are being touted as the new add-on for the iPod. Proudly plug in your player and listen to the tunes of your choice at all hours of the day or night. Nevermind that fuel prices are soaring and that we are spending millions per year just driving to the gas station only ot fill up again... at least we'll be able to listen to the music we want to hear when we want to hear it! I bet Henry Ford never thought of that, or perhaps he is looking for a place to plug his iPod in.


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