Ten Years Ago

Posted on December 31, 2019 by psu

It appears to be that time when ten more years have passed by, and so people sit down and ponder with a combination of surprise and wonder how ten more years have passed by. I’m no authoritative observer of these things, so I have no deep thoughts or insights. I just have a few random personal anecdotes.

Ten years ago we were still on the second model of the iPhone. Steve Jobs was still around so people could not say things like “Well, Apple never would have done that if Steve Jobs was still around” and the iPad was just about to be released mostly to a huge collective yawn and people thinking “Man, Steve Jobs never would have … oh wait.” The phone had not yet evolved into being the pocket-sized network-attached super-computer that runs your entire life.

Not coincidentally (the connection is a long story) ten years ago I also discovered this mushroom soup, which has been a large net improvement in my life.

Ten years ago was probably also the peak of my amateur photographic career. Being motivated enough to cart a D700 and a small lighting kit all over the world meant a lot of good pictures with good light. Over time I would move to smaller cameras and eventually mostly to my phone. Ten years later the major non-phone system cameras still have not evolved significantly in the ways that really matter.

Ten years ago, as now, the Internet was a place where you probably did not want to talk to strangers too much. It turns out that a lot of them were angry assholes with overblown oppression complexes. The good news was that it was hard to run into them accidentally. So of course in the intervening time the biggest and most powerful software systems that we have built have all had the basic goal of making this as easy as possible, while serving you ads from brands. Luckily this has caused no apparent large scale harm…

Ten years ago the Pats had still only won those first three championships and people were starting to wonder if Brady was washed.

Ten years ago they turned on the LHC. Later they found exactly what they wanted to find there but apparently no more.

Ten years ago there was still Madden and Halo, and I quit Demon’s Souls after the first real boss. Still, I found it to be a refreshing change from the Dragon-Skyblivion-Effect-Age school of RPG design. Deep foreshadowing music plays.


Ten years ago we still bought video games on disks (sometimes). But bookstores were already dying out and CDs were starting to lose their usefulness. We were entering an age where you could probably store every single bit of media that you would like to consume on your personal laptop or phone. So of course now it’s all on streaming services behind paywalls because we are happy morons.

Ten years ago I watched The Wire and haven’t seen anything quite that good on TV again.

Ten years ago there were movies that were not small arthouse releases and also not part of a huge decades-long 36 movie franchise machine. But I didn’t see any of those either, which is why they are mostly gone now.

Finally, ten years ago there was relatively little Chinese Food in Pittsburgh. But, Rose Tea Cafe was there and teaching people what to look for. Now there are seven decent regional Chinese places in Squirrel Hill alone, and coverage is even starting to expand out into the suburbs.

These days you can go to Chengdu Gourmet and while you are getting ready to tuck in to your fish with green Szechuan pepper corn and green chili peppers a group of “yinzer sports bros” can sit down at the table next to you and order a table full of authentic regional Szechuan treats that you have not tried yet instead of four orders of General Tso’s chicken. This is a grand thing, and the perhaps foolishly optimistic note on which I would choose welcome in the next ten years.

I guess we’ll see.