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The Best Electronic Inventions of the 21st Century

Updated on March 19, 2017

The Digital Camera

The digital camera is one of the greatest electronic inventions of the 21st century.
The digital camera is one of the greatest electronic inventions of the 21st century. | Source

I am the first one to admit I am not technology savvy at all. I do not own a Smartphone, a kindle, a blackberry, an iPad, a Bluetooth, an iPod (oh wait, is that the gadget you load mp3 music files on and can listen with headphones? Okay yes I do have one of those), Skype, Hula, etc. Whenever a new product comes out it passes me by. Unless I see a real easy and practical use for it. The following are my top 5 favorite electronic inventions of this century.

Sony A6000 is a compact mirrorless digital camera. I currently own one and use it for all my photos and so far love it.

Digital Cameras

I remember the days when you had to attach an actual flashbulb to the camera to take photos indoors. Those little blue square things. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Then after your 20 photos were taken (because you could only take 20 photos before the film ran out – yep I see your head shaking up and down), then you had to take the film to a store to get them developed. Usually grocery stores or drug stores would develop the film and you had to wait a few days (or weeks - gasp!) until your photos were ready to pick up. You drove back to the store to pick up your photos, pay for them and only then did you get to see how they turned out.

The envelope also included “negatives” of each photo which allowed you to get duplicate copies made if you wished to do so. Then you drove back to the store and left the negatives with them to develop and start the whole process all over again.

Getting the film out of the camera and putting in a fresh roll of film was always so much drama. You had to hook and roll it just right for it to work. Once I thought I had the film in there correctly and took many photos of a relative’s wedding only to find out none of photos came out at all because the film was put in wrong.

TODAY: No more of that! Today we have digital cameras that can point and click without the flash bulbs. The flash mechanism is built right in and all you do is pick which function you want. Also love the digital storage chips you can buy where you can take up to 8 gigs if not more of photos without stopping. No more negative film to deal with: you can print as many jpeg files as you want on your color printer using special photo paper. You don’t need to spend money on batteries to keep them running – you just plug them into the wall for a full recharge! No more driving to the store and paying them to develop your photos. You can download them yourself as soon as you get home – at no charge!! Yeah baby I’d say digital cameras ROCK!

Flash Drives come in various shapes and storage capacities.

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Flash Drives

I remember the days when you had to backup your files and programs on these thingy-things called “diskettes”. More precisely they were referred to as the 3-1/2 inch diskettes. They did not hold more than 120 MB of information so if you needed to back up a C:\ drive you could be looking at 10-20 diskettes depending on your digital storage needs.

Then came the CD and then the DVD. The CD and DVD are still in existence and they are very handy and convenient to use to store information. However, the negative side is that they are read-only. If you need to make a quick edit on your files you will be unable to do that without first copying the file to another source where it is not read-only, make your edit, then burn the updated file to the CD once again.

TODAY: No more of that. Introducing the Flash Drive. You can buy these nifty gadgets that will store from 2 to 64 gigabytes. If you need to make edits, no problem. They are easily adaptable to any desktop or laptop that has a USB drive. They are also very small which makes them very convenient to transport files anywhere you go. I would say Flash Drives ROCK!

iPods

It is amazing what these nifty gadgets can do. You can load your favorite music and videos on them and even tune into your local favorite radio station. They are miniature home entertainment systems. I especially love the convenience of loading my favorite mp3 files, whether music or motivational lectures and listen to them as I walk on the local greenways.

Some of them even allow you internet access if there is wireless WiFi in the area, and download movies and videos from the internet. They are small and compact and easy to carry with you wherever you go. You can even play them in your car if it has a USB outlet.

Turbo Tax Software - what a great invention to make doing taxes easier!

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Turbo Tax

Yes I know this is not exactly “electronic” but in my humble opinion it falls under a great invention that makes my life easier. Once upon a time you had to gather up all your paperwork and drive to H&R Block or any local tax preparer, then wait about one week, drive back to their location to pick up your paperwork and then pay an expensive fee.

Or you had to figure out all of the confusing tax laws yourself. If you could do that more power to you. With Turbo Tax, the software figures out all your information and you can do it in the privacy of your own home. The software will ask you several questions and will figure out for you what forms you need.

If you have any problems or questions you can get help from Turbo Tax by email, telephone, message boards, a help database, or chatting with a live professional. They claim that if any calculation errors are determined on your tax forms by the state or IRS, then Turbo Tax will pay the penalty fees and refund your money. They offer a 100% guaranteed accuracy on the software’s calculations.

You also have the option to file your Federal return on line without a fee. I am not sure about the state forms. When I finish my taxes I print hardcopies and mail them. Yes I know that is old school but I am happy with that and it works for me.

GPS

Once upon a time you had to refer to a street map to find out where you wanted to go. Then came www.mapquest.com. I always thought mapquest directions were sometimes confusing so I would write down the directions myself based on the colored map they provided.

TODAY: No More of That! A GPS system can be bought with a lifetime map updater. You can program your starting point and ending point and save that trip for future use. Some GPS models will tell you where gas stations and restaurants are. If you make a wrong turn the GPS will re-calculate where you are and get you where you need to go.

Upon purchasing a GPS system, you then plug it into the USB drive on your computer and download all the maps before you use it. The GPS unit is also recharging while it is hooked into the USB port. Most GPS batteries have only a 2-hour wireless lifespan, so if you preferred for short trips you wouldn’t need to plug the unit into the electrical socket in your automobile.

Having a good GPS system also will save you gas and wear and tear on your car because you won’t spend too much time driving around if you get lost.

Hand held GPS models are available for people who go hiking. You input the location of where your car is and it will tell you where you are at while you are hiking. What a great tool while hiking in those mountains!

Honorable Mentions

Okay, Okay I know these are not exactly digital inventions, but they are so helpful and wonderful and make life much easier so I thought I would include them:

STEAM MOPS

Check out my hub on why I Love My Steam Mop. To clean your floors with a steam map, all you have to do is fill the container with water (this turns into steam), let the mop heat up properly, attach the microfiber cloth to the bottom, press the steam release lever, and you are all set. No more chemicals, dirty mops, or dirty water to deal with, and they leave your floors disinfected and CLEAN.

ENAMELED CAST IRON COOKWARE

Over the past 10 years I have invested anywhere from $60-80 for several name-brand 12-inch and 10-inch sauté pans and they NEVER last more than 1 year. These pans do not get used more than maybe 4 times a month. The Enameled Cast Iron Cookware seems to be holding up much better than the typical nonstick pans. They do cost a few more dollars than the typical non-stick pans but they are worth the investment to me because they apparently will last longer.

© 2013 Efficient Admin

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I do love digital cameras. The rest I can live without. :) Well, okay, I could live without the digital camera, too, but I hate waiting for my pictures.

      Interesting article. Well done.

      I hope you are well my friend.

      bill

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      bill - hello and thanks for reading and things here are well.

      I'm not even sure they make film for those older cameras anymore (circa 1970s) but I sure do love digital cameras and those jump drives!

      Thanks for commenting. Hope you are well too!

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      Great article. Voted up.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      I agree that these five are really cool. I don't have an IPod but I'm familiar with the others. Would be interesting to see what the new additions will be in a year or two. Good article. Voted Up!

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      jabelufiroz - thank you for reading and commenting and I am glad you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for the vote.

      MsDora - technology changes real quick and yes I agree, it will be interesting to see what is invented next. Thank you for reading and commenting and for your vote.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I remember those olden days when storage devices were too much heavy but carried only a megabyte capacity to store your data. Now there are jump drives that can fit into the palm of hand yet offer gigabyte storage for your files. Technology is really and utterly amazing.

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      iguidenetwork - yes technology has come a long way in storage capacity. The jump drives are amazing and very convenient! Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This was a great nostalgia. Yes, I remember those blue little flashbulbs for my camera. And talking about 3 1/2 inch disks for the computer, I remember the 8-inch disks that I used in the early 1980s.

      We take it for granted all the things we have today to make life easier. When I think about the days when I didn't have a cell phone, I don't know how I survived. For example, meeting someone in an unknown place and having no form of communication to find one another.

      And if it wasn't for TurboTax, I would still be using an accountant.

      All this makes us wonder what we will have 10 years from now!

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Glenn - at this time I would love to see a 128 gig flash drive, and if Turbo Tax keeps going to way they are they will cost as much as an accountant! Thanks for your comments and for reading.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      128 gig is easy to get. I have a Mac with a 250 GB Flash Drive. Much faster data access since there are no moving parts.

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