Happy New 2016, How’s everyone year going so far. My getting organized resolution has just bit the dust. Last minute again, maybe next month. Sorry Justachick1 🙁
Recently I was chewing the fat (chatting) with a high school kid, as an assignment for one of his classes he was designing a poster with computer components on it. Inevitable the question of “what was it like in olden times” came up. Usually I’ll say I don’t know because I’m only 25 and dyslexic…… But this time because he was genuinely asking about how we survived without modern, on demand, always there technology and entertainment I admitted I could remember.
My earliest memory was our first color TV. I was about 6 or 7 years old and the first show I remember watching was The Jackson 5ive in color on a Saturday morning. It was amazing.
He asked if we got to use computers at school. Of course, we didn’t. The nearest I got to the idea of a computer was flow charts – that’s how computers were explained to me. Then in 1982 they released the ZX Spectrum. I’m not sure if those ever made it here to the USA, but anyway this was a “real” computer you hooked it up to your TV and could write code and make it do stuff. The best I think I managed was to make a circle move from one spot to another. As you can probably guess, I never made it as a code writer.
I did play Pong though. When I look at the games my son plays now, it’s hard to believe that so much progress has been made in the quality of the graphics, and I could be so entertained by a black rectangle bouncing back and forward.
A couple of years later, my wee cousin got a Commodore 64, it was way cooler and even in that short time the graphics had improved significantly. My ZX Spectrum eventually moved into a drawer and was never seen again.
Shortly after I got married in 1990, my husband brought home the first laptop computer I had ever seen. This thing worked on DOS, so I was lost – never really used that one, I could never remember the dang prompts and because it was for his work was too scared I would break something. But then the breakthrough – a laptop with clickable icons! There was a picture that told me what something was and I could click it, eureka! McChic10, welcome to the world of computers.
That really was when I began to use computers. For a while, my husband worked from home so we had a desktop in the house, I remember my kids got Disney’s Ali Baba for Christmas one year, and the disk had the game Mahjong on it. My husband and I played that game for hours, a bottle of wine some cheese and crackers, laughing and joking around, we had so much fun.
I told him I remember dial up, and the tune it played as you tried to connect to the internet. You could go and make a cup of tea in the time it took to connect. But I think one of my best memories has to be when I got my dad a tablet and he could talk to us “face-to-face” or perhaps a better description might be face-to-ceiling, or face-to-very top of head. He resisted for a long time but eventually he said he would give it a try, he loved being able to see us when we spoke, and was always so amazed that even though we were so far apart we could see each other. Unfortunately, he never got to use it as much as I had hoped.
So that is my journey through technology, from my first color TV to laptops and tablets. When I think about how much has changed from my first 16KB ZX Spectrum to my 2TB desktop I have to ask where will things go? When I’m in my 80’s, like my dad, will there be something that amazes me the way he was amazed by the tablet?
As I re-read this, I realize that the way I have used technology has not isolated me but kept me closer to the people I love. It brought my dad and I into each other’s house even though we were miles apart, the same with my daughter we can sit on the couch and chat with each other even though she is in a different state. It’s way easier to stay in touch with friends and family, almost everyone is there just a mouse click away.