Often I get the reverse of future shock
-- I can't believe how backward our current technology is. For instance, it's extremely inconvenient not to be able to print the content of whiteboards. About a year ago, when I learned that a product that does just this has existed for quite a while, I had a hard time imagining why it's not installed in every academic institution and research lab in the country.
Now I'm finally in a place where they have these printable whiteboards, although I'm only here for the summer. I can't even function without a whiteboard, and in the absence of being able to print them I had to resort to photographing them with my cellphone camera if I wanted to save the information. So I'm happy for the moment.
My coworker and I were talking about why they don't have these in other places. He's from Yale, and he said the faculty there are still arguing about blackboards vs. whiteboards. Any other technology isn't even in the picture.
That made me realize what the problem is. Because of the tenure concept, academics have very long professional lifetimes unlike industry where you hop from job to job every few years. So while academics might be good at keeping up with the literature in their field, the technology that's peripheral to their work (like whiteboards) changes all the time but they don't keep up with it. They still use what they were using 30 years ago.
While I'm at it, let me point out the absurdity of using a system meant for dead trees (Latex) for sharing research papers. Even though we mostly distribute papers electronically, we ignore the humongous advantages of dynamic text in conveying complicated concepts and instead force ourselves to use static presentation technologies that look especially shitty when viewed on screens. Inexplicable.