Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Technological Nostalgia (corrected)

Here is some technological nostalgia from an old guy. Let's go in the way-back machine to 1976.

We had telephones: one per house. The receiver is connected to the base by a short cord. You dial; you do not punch. Long-distance costs a lot of money. You get "busy signals." There are no voice mails. There is no call waiting. There are no personal computers. Computers are big, strange things that the civil government and corporations have. My mother once addressed a letter to "Dear Computer," since we were not getting resolution on an unjust bill. People wrote letters; romances were conducted this way; friendship were preserved (and destroyed) this way. Cars had no computers, so many fixed their own cars.

TV stations were received by rabbit ears (antennae). TV screens were small. You could not record TV shows; it was real time or nothing. In Alaska, where I grew up, we got TV shows two weeks late, because the tapes had to be shipped up from the lower 48 (as we called it).

Music came on vinyl discs or on the radio or live. Music was only portable in car radios. Eight-tracks allowed you to play your own music in the car.

There were no electronic security checks in airports.

Banking was done by talking to humans at a physical location or sending things in the mail. Electric guitars has wah-wah pedals, phase shifters, and distortion boxes and echoplex and reverb. That was it. There were no electronic drums. Synthesizers were just being introduced.

Video games were no more sophisticated than the glacially slow game, "Pong." There was no Internet. Books were bound in paper and not electronic.

Yes, it was pre-historic--and we puzzled less over the black boxes that pervade and dominate our technopolis today.


Craig said...

Dr. Groothuis,

A couple of corrections. Electric guitars had Wah Wah pedals (usually referred to simply as Wah pedals), and Phase Shifters. As a guitar player I can't let the typos go by unremarked on.

Twin Cities MN

Pilgrim in Progress said...

Not only did we have the rotary dial, we were on a "party line." Our ring was one long followed by one short. The neighbor lady would often eavesdrop on other peoples conversations while one of the neighbor men would become impatient waiting his turn and begin rapidly manipulating the receiver cradle causing a complete inability of any of the parties to converse! What memories! We were in awe when one of the neighbors put in a "private" line. We assumed he justified it because he had his own business. I imagined that it must have cost a fortune, but I really don't have any idea. Life was much simpler then and it ran at a much slower pace. We may have "progressed" as a society, but I don't know that we are better off.

Tabitha said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Even though we have a lot of devices that can make life easier...I believe our pace has become too fast and our thinking too shallow to allow for anything of substance to be accomplished in most circumstances.