previous post got me thinking about having lived through the dawn of this digital age ... cue fuzzy flashback...
I was first in my class to have a calculator and when I started work (as a mere child) in the early 80s computer programs were loaded manually from reels of tape with holes in. The 'computer' was actually just a terminal linked by a modem to the bank's national computer centre. I worked there on the staff help desk after panic set in when they introduced terminals with screens! The actual computers took whole rooms to house the sort of memory you now get in the average mobile phone.
(An avant garde friend had an early mobile phone as big as his head - and that was pretty big! When he went to the bar we'd run out to the telephone box and call him to ask for crisps.)
Our home's first remote control device was for a video recorder, but was attached by a lead! I used to carry around a cassette recorder (pictured above) before the Sony Walkman, and can vividly remember the first time I heard a CD - Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega.
Apart from a brief foray with a Commodore 64 and flirtation with an Amstrad wordprocessor, I first saw a home PC in about 1990, but as late as 1995 at the local newspaper we sent stories via an Olivetti keyboard and modem. At the printer, stories were quite literally 'cut' and 'pasted' onto mockups and the lines between them were put on manually using teeny tiny rolls of sticky tape with a line down the middle.
By 1996 I had a PC (a 256 with 4MB memory) and an email address - but I only knew 2 other people with emails! You couldn't imagine in those days that one day you'd own something like an iPad. It is not only music player and recorder, calculator, word processor, camera, means of communication, publishing device and video player. It's also camera, movie studio, orchestra, art studio, reference library and GPS. I've just been using Facetime (Skype for iPads) to talk to a friend working in Azerbaijan. And it used to take 6 months for a letter to reach my missionary uncle in deepest Congo but he has a satellite powered laptop now and I can wave to him on Google Earth... up to a point.
Care to share some of your 'old tech' stories - what was your most exciting new gadget in the 'old days'?