Sunday, May 5, 2013

What do you remember in technology that today's younger "digital" users may never know?

We live in a fast paced world. A 5 to 7 inch LCD society. Much different than what even a mid-40's person of today grew up with!  Our parents thought their world was changing fast when they were our age,  But...if you think about today vs. even 4 decades ago; while life has more conveniences than ever, there's some things many youngsters may never know, may never see, may never use, and yet all these things and many more led us to where we are today!  Sad, in a way.  Yep!  It's "technology museum time!"    I use and enjoy  my cellphone, my flat screen TV, GPS, laptop, Roku box, On-demand digital programming, and the like, and I live-with and love modern technology.....but..... Maybe you can add to the list of things that our younger generation may never know.....

Dialing a telephone. Literally using a rotary dial. Might even "confuse" some young folks today.

The cl-click, cl-click, cl-click of that old round-dial TV antenna rotor to dial in a picture.

The "snow" of a weak analog TV signal from a distance as you try to watch a show that is only on a far away station.

Ditto machines in schools. Those blue-printing, strange-smelling test papers we grew up-with.

Cassette tapes.  8-track tapes.  45 RPM records.  All favorites and all "king of the hill" at one time or another  in our past.

The "Record Changer" that dropped the next selected record in a stack of up to six on the cener spindle, and the "slipping sound" the records made as they first contacted each other and the top one gained speed.

Mechanical pushbuttons on a car stereo, the kind you pulled-out to set then pushed-in to lock your favorite AM or FM station. Also the "FF/Eject" button.  Pre-digital.  

The L.E.D. "STEREO" indicator glowing at you from your favorite home or portable stereo (boom box) or car stereo, now replaced by boring LCD letters, if anything.

TV in glorious, crisp, "Black & White"

The "Boom Box" itself. (though I hear these are coming back again!!)

Winding a watch.  We're so digital, so micro, so "informational" that many young people may not know how to wind a watch!

Analog telling of time!  Yes, it's true....some people have grown up "all digital" and don't know this.  A crime, if you ask me!

The "home computer" (no, not the PC or "personal computer)...I mean the one like the Radio Shack Color Computer or the TI-99, or the Timex sinclair, all of which were going to "revolutionize" our homes and lives, and all of which needed to hook to the good ol' TV set.

The horizontal and vertical hold controls. For that matter, any KNOBS on a TV. (Wouldn't it be fun to have a  retro digital, flat screen with tuning and volume KNOBS?)

Walkie Talkies. 

The console stereo in the living room.

An honest to goodness physical answering machine (with tape or without.)

True CAMcorders that used large any non-digital recording media, like  VHS, or the (defeated even when new) "VHS-C" tape. 

Waiting to rewind.  Anything. Not "scan," a full "analog rewind."

Call me strange, I'm okay with that, but some of these bring fond memories of how we used and enjoyed the technology of "the day."  Maybe for you, as well.  Would you admit to a part of you actually "missing" any of them, or other instances from the technology of our youth you recall?

What others can you add?


  1. My daughters have never known a "land-line" telephone, let alone a rotary dial phone! One of my fondest memories was getting an AT&T "princess" phone as a teen.

  2. Fiddling with the antenna! *I*, being the youngest of 5 siblings, was the "slave" so I had to go upstairs and mess with the dipole so Gilligan's Island would come in better. When we wanted to change the channel again, I had to traipse upstairs to move the dipole yet again.

    Answer machines using cassette tape? Lord, please send one my way when I do my weekly thrift shopping. Why are they so rare? I have some suspicions, ahem.. "privacy"- digital is MUCH easier for snoops to access, and that applies to any digital content- it can be deleted, altered, and TRACKED even your downloaded content on your computer can be accessed once you are connected to the internet. But, the kids aren't worried about all of that- yet...

    UHF stations! Oh to access those obscure & snowy pictures, numbers wayyy up on the TV "dial" that you could only get by switching from VHF: "regular" TV to UHF, the stuff that nobody watched- and you were too embarrassed to admit you tuned to. Old Los Angeles analog stations on UHF always ran cool stuff like Korean language dramas (with English subtitles) and those South Indian 3 hour long dance musical movies! and oh boy- late night public access shows. They still run the ethnic broadcasting but on digital subchannels.. but it was a lot more fun channel hunting on UHF.

    End of Broadcast Day Stars and Stripes played, with the flag flying, then color bars or static! Wow. Good times, good times..

  3. oh.. and I hate to discover this but VHS tapes are becoming popular again. I hate to say it because that means less for me to pick through at the thrift store, and the prices will go up with demand!

    OH- here's another one for the memories:

    TV repair shops!! or how about repair shops in general. No one fixes anything anymore, it goes in the garbage and a new one gets purchased. There weren't any Walmart stores where I grew up, and TVs were expensive. A Sony Trinitron ran into several hundred dollars. If you see one for sale, grab it. I invested in one of those analog to digital converters and the Sony analog TV picture is spectacular on the OTA channels.

  4. Agreed on the TV shops! Had one at the end of my street when my family moved during my middle school years. Spent many a Saturday learning the repair trade. Was very proud of my first-ever bedroom TV which I saved-for & bought from the owner of that shop, with paper route money. Eventually I bought out his equipment when he closed, and all through high school and early college enjoyed repairing electronics. A simpler time I fondly remember. And oh, how I wish I'd saved some of the equipment, and some of the things I repaired and kept back then, if for nothing else but nostalgia of today.

  5. How about whoever was the youngest person in the room had to be the antenna? Yup you made them stand by the TV set and hold the rabbit ears so the picture came in better.

    Remember the sound the first remote controls made? KerChunk!

    Funny 8 track tapes almost made the same sound when they changed tracks.. And why was it that they recorded your favorite album on 8 track so that the always changed tracks in the middle of your favorite song?

    What about CB Radios? How cool was it when you were a kid to get on the CB and say "Breaker 19" only to have a real life trucker tell you to tune to the kids channel instead?!

  6. What about cart machines, Ampex reel-to-reel tapes and turntables at a radio station? I miss them.....