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The 2010s: A retrospective


December 12 2019

I look back at the 2010s.

==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 cameras.
  • 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 income inequality.
  • 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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