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The 2010s: A retrospective
December 12 2019
I look back at the 2010s.
There have been a number of technological and cultural changes in the 2010s:
- Video got a lot better. At the beginning of 2010, higher end still
cameras would have 720p video, with only a couple of under $10,000 models
with full HD video (notably, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II).
At the end of 2019, under $10,000 (and even under $1,000) 4K
is commonplace (starting with 2014’s Panasonic GH4), and 6K
with stills is now $4000 (The Panasonic S1H).
- Mirrorless cameras, which are a good deal more compact than the DSLRs
they are replacing, have gotten a foothold. Before the 2010s decade ended,
even Nikon and Canon starting making mirrorless interchangeable lens
- The small portable low-cost digital camera is (for all intents and
purposes) no more, being replaced by cell phone cameras. When the
2010s started, cell phones either had no camera, or if it was a medium
to high end cell phone, a 2 megapixel basic camera. As the 2010s end,
cell phones cameras have zoom lenses (actually, multiple fixed distance
lenses) and between 12 and 24 megapixels of resolution. Like dedicated
cameras, most high end cell phones now have 4k video.
- For electronic musicians, analog is back big time. Korg now has multiple
analog synthesizers in their line up; everything from $150 Volca analog
synths to the $1500 16-voice Prologue. Dave Smith has been making
high-end analog synths throughout the decade; Arturia has multiple analog
synths in their lineup; Behringer has entered the fray, making multiple
small monophonic synths (TD-3, etc.) as well as the polyphonic Deep Mind
12. Even Roland made two different synths with analog in the 2010s:
The JD-Xi and the JD-Xa.
- Internet culture got a lot worse. We went from Obama being
president to Trump being president, because people without good
critical thinking skills finally
got Internet access in the 2010s. This lead to nonsense like
“gamergate”, the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon (which caused Hillary to
lose: You can’t win fighting both right wing and left wing
disinformation, with left wing people saying the same right-wing
anti-Hillary bullshit Fox News was spewing for years), the whole
misogynist “Red Pill” manosphere (Just because someone claims
they are sleeping with a lot of women on the Internet does not make
the claim true), etc. Don’t get me started on how
toxic the “cancel culture” of the 2010s is. In 2010, the big online
argument was whether one should use Windows or Linux as a desktop
computer. In 2020, the big online argument is over whether or not the
Earth is flat.
- Smart phones have become ubiquitous, with teenage girls out there
who spend all their time on a smart phone. Just as our society got
addicted to alcohol and drugs in the mid-20th century, we
now have to cope with a smart phone addiction.
- Speaking of drug addiction, addictions to strong opiates has become
more prevalent. Opiate overdoses are now a leading cause of death, with
over 1% of deaths directly caused by opioid drug abuse.
- Income inequality continues to get worse in the United States. In 2009,
the Gini index for the US was 45.6; in 2017 (the most recent year we have
data available), it is 48.5, which is about the same as Mexico’s level of
- AI got a lot better. We finally got a computer which defeated the
world Go champion in the 2010s. Using something called “GTA-2”, I am
able to play, as the 2010s come to a close, a text adventure where,
while a bit incoherent with plot details, was one where I could say or
do anything and the parser would play along.
In terms of my personal life, I lost both
my wife and my mother to cancer.
On the other hand, I became a parent in the 2010s, with a very smart, kind,
and friendly now six-year-old girl in my life. I have gone from working
mornings as a professional English teacher and translator for a company
in Mexico, getting paid in pesos, to being a remote worker in the United
States, then becoming a full time cubicle worker (getting paid in
dollars). Now, I am back to being a remote worker, getting paid in Yen.
I continue to work on
MaraDNS, but slowly, since there is no money on
the table for my hard work. I have also released two albums of
my music, and have gotten a mirrorless
interchangeable camera system to take better pictures than I was able
to take with the two-megapixel phone camera that I had at the beginning
of the 2010s.
Mostly, I am caring for my daughter when I am not working. This will
continue through the 2020s, but as she (knock on wood) gets older, she
will take less of my time to care for, and will probably end the 2020s
as a teenager who wants little to do with me. My girlfriends assure me
she will come back to love me after her rebellious teenage years as long
as I treat her well, and there’s even a chance she will skip over her
teenage rebellion altogether.
The 2010s had some sad losses for me, but it has been all in all a good
decade. I am looking forward to what the 2020s have to offer.
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