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The tech of my youth; and sounds to make you cringe

Thursday, October 18, 2012
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It's the perfect marriage of old and new technology...no, wait...no, it's just stupid.
Apologies for the long time between runs...Mrs Speech spent the weekend away with girlfriends, leaving me with all the chores. I wasn't blogging because I had laundry to do. That's why. That's totally my excuse.

Anyway, I was having such an awesome time last week, remembering the TV of my youth for my TV is dying post...I thought I might reminisce (in ascending chronological order) some more on the tech of my day and what I grew up with.

And of course, which is now cream-coloured plastic obselete junk clogging up a landfill somewhere.

Dovetailing with this...check out these guys, cataloguing soon-to-be extinct tech sounds.

Rotary Dial Phones

Ours was a light olive colour.
What I remember most about these was the weight. Maybe it was just that I was a little kid when these were around - I mean, I can't test the theory since they haven't been in use for more than twenty years - but they always seemed like a house brick.

And of course, the receiver itself was connected to the brick with a wire. A WIRE! If you wanted to go chop some carrotts while talking on the phone (not a good idea regardless), you had to carry the whole thing over to the kitchen benchtop. That's not a phone, that's an ordeal. And possibly a missing finger.

But they just had this funky go-slow thing about them, didn't they? As though tech back then was less about clogging your life up with worry and rushing, and more about taking your time.


80's computers

The only thing stopping me from making fun is the sentimentality which comes flooding back when I see this ugly dog again.
We got ours in...ooh...I think it was '86.

It was this mortar-coloured monstrosity which I eagerly unveiled Christmas morning with massive raised keys that made a soft thunk sound when you typed the syntax to load your favourite game:


That thing was awesome. The royal-blue-surrounded-by-light blue default screen, the disk drive that was the size of a shoe box but weighed eight kilos or something, the cool midi sounds that were completely unreplicatable...priceless.

In 1993, when I started in grade 9 here in Brisbane, for accounting we used these boxy apple computers, all in one deal, y'know where the screen is connected to the machine itself? Like one of the newer all-in-ones only...nothing like. The screen was deeper than it was wide and the duochromatic picture it showed seemed completely acceptable. Almost space-age, even.

Floppy Disks

The last one of these I owned had Sim City 2000 on it.
These things were awesome.

Remember what it was like to actually hold physical media? A book? A tape? A CD?

Floppies were the ultimate in portable information. With a whopping 1.44mb of space, they could hold your school assignment, a game and STILL have room left over for a couple ones and zeroes.

I used to love the metallic part which you could pull over and it would snap back into place like vicious jaws if you tried to get too close to the precious, precious information inside.

Overhead Projectors

Yes, they were preindustrial, basically.
OHPs exemplified obselete technology: big, cumbersome, clunky, disproportionately high inconvenience-benefit ratio.

When I was in school, not every class had one. So if our teacher needed to show us all a map of pre-World War II Europe, she had to go next door.

'Sorry Rhonda...can I just borrow your OHP for a moment?'

Then she had to bring it to our class, an exercise which because of its weight, today would qualify as a workplace health and safety issue. Then she had to plug it in. Then she had to turn off the lights. Then she had to place the slide on it, which had to have been written/printed on special clear plastic paper. Then she had to flip it over so the letters were the right way.

The mind boggles.

Nokia 3315 and its ilk

Had this colour. Loved that thing.
Loved, loved, loved this thing. This was my first mobile phone. Got it in 2003.

I think it was like, $30 a month, on a phone plan that included x dollars' worth of calls included.

Obviously that's a crime these days but back then it was a different age. It was 1 P.F. (Pre-Facebook).

I loved its simplicity; its shallow colours, its smooth, perfectly-sized buttons which made a delightful soft clicking sound when pressed. Its two-tone screen. The blocky little picture you could set as the background.

Even the semi-coarse texture of the casing, which made it a tiny bit easier to hold when your palm was sweaty. The beautiful curvature of the casing.

I texted with this thing till I could do it in my sleep. Why does it take twice as long to do a text on our smartphone?

Dial-up internet

My earliest external modem. A wonder of teal and silver.
beep boop beep beep boop beep boop beep...

ner ner neee...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...


brrr brrrr brrr dun der DUN der...



The world wide web/information superhighway/early internet

Personally, I quite like it.
Remember when the internet began to totally take off? Wasn't it fun? All these ephemeral names for it kept popping up as if no-one truly knew what to make of a new social protocol for sharing information.

What would it be? What would it become? Would it take over our lives like Skynet and cause the Russians to obliterate Madagascar? Hey 01011000101, I thought that was supposed to be Tucson...

When people build a new paradigm they do it for function and not so much form, which makes sense; the Wright Brothers wouldn't have been THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, if the plane didn't fly. Who cares if the colour was so 1901.

But what the early internet unleashed on us...egads. My eyeballs. They is hurtin'.
Then be the second commenter!
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