In 1914, the year that saw the beginning of Charlie Chaplin's film career and World War I, the Western Union Co. introduced the first consumer charge card. It was printed on paper, required the balance be paid in full every month and was only good for use with Western Union. Nearly a century later, between credit cards, debit cards and gift cards, people are more likely to make a purchase with a plastic card than they are with cash.
If you live in the north eastern portion of the United States, you're probably pretty sick of winter at this point. As the snow slowly melts away, thoughts turn to making the most of the summer—perhaps building a new deck for enjoying cookouts with friends and family. All it takes is some lumber, nails and tools. Oh, and plenty of permits.
Ten years ago, a lot of people were still feeling a sense of relief that the Y2K bug hadn't caused the collapse of society. Google wasn't very well-known as a noun, let alone as a verb. Blogging was in its infancy. Watching video on the Web generally meant downloading the whole thing first. And social networking was something that you did over lunch or at a convention.
In contemporary society, almost everything we do, we do electronically. Instead of letters, we send e-mail; instead of meetings, we have Web conferences; and instead of playing a pick-up game of football, we fire up the latest video game system. Because we are living in an immaterial world, what’s a material girl—or guy—to do? Statistics show individuals are choosing to step away from their computer-driven lifestyles, even if it’s only for a few days out of the calendar year. Sitting on a couch, controlling a digital game of beach volleyball in the Caribbean doesn’t quite live up to the real thing, so resorts and