I made one of my biggest career moves in 2000, when I was lucky enough to be named technology editor at The Washington Post. The dot-com boom was near its zenith in those days, and one of the plums of the job was a chance to attend the Consumer Electronics Association’s annual gadgetfest in Las Vegas.
I spent hours walking the floor of the cavernous convention center there, searching for the next big thing, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop.
These days, I still follow what the Arlington trade group has to show off, even if from afar. As I soaked up the latest last week, it dawned on me how much my life has begun to imitate the tech extravaganza.
Lets start with the family room: The flat screen there is connected to a cable box and the Internet, giving me more TV, music and movie options than any one man deserves. And yet, during the Redskins playoff game, I looked around the room and saw my wife on her iPad playing “Words with Friends,” son No. 1 checking Twitter and Facebook updates on his smartphone and son No. 2 on his laptop, chuckling at some YouTube video.
Meanwhile, the car in my driveway has 19 computers and more buttons on the steering wheel than I know what to do with. My new hybrid cycles from gas engine to electric magically, sending data to my dashboard telling me when to shift and awarding me with little leaf icons when I travel efficiently.
My car knows when I’ve brought my cellphone with me. I can dial with voice commands and the radio cuts off automatically so I focus on the call, hands-free, of course.
I got my biggest surprise when I needed to back up. A tiny video screen appeared on my rear view mirror, delivering the view from my rear view camera.
Looking in that mirror helped me recall how far all this technology had taken me.