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Cordless Tools
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THEN: Ten years ago, most voltage options were around 12 volts, with 14.4-volt tools just emerging. There were fewer choices, fewer features, smaller tools, less power, and limited applications. But the race was on.


NOW: It's hard to find a tool category that doesn't have a cordless alternative. Lines now include tools like circ saws, rotary hammers, and concrete fastening systems, and models can run as high as 24 and 36 volts for heavy-duty jobs. Keyless chucks and ergonomic handles are the norm, while new tool body materials increase jobsite durability. Battery technology is advancing for faster charging and longer runtimes.





Mobile Phones
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THEN: Mobile phones were still pretty rare and expensive, and reliable coverage was even rarer. Many "car phones" required an antenna on the roof.


NOW: Can you imagine running your fast-paced business or crew without one? Coverage is widespread, low-priced, and much more reliable. Nextel's familiar chirp brings instant access nationwide–and now announces delivery of text messages and construction documents.





Cameras
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THEN: If you took pictures at all they were probably beauty shots of finished project—taken with a 35mm camera and film that you had to wait to see if you got the shot.


NOW: Easy-to-use digital cameras track every stage of construction. Contractors keep customers up to date while documenting work to meet new insurance requirements.

Trucks
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THEN: Boxy, basic, and bouncy best describe the 1994 model trucks we were all driving back then. By and large, a truck was a truck.


NOW: Somehow a comfortable, quiet ride in a roomy, stylish truck captured the market—even tough guys buy sleek new models. Fuel-efficient hybrid models are coming soon.