I celebrated my 47th birthday in late September. This got me thinking about technologies that are now obsolete. It will be a trip down memory lane, make you feel old, or blow your mind that such things once existed.
As I sit in my office writing this, I am streaming SiriusXM. This plays throughout the day. Depending on the day and my mood, the channel changes. Gone are the days of my youth that involved mix tapes and burning custom CDs.
The evolution of music, as I remember it, went 8-tracks, vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs, and MP3s. Recently, vinyl has been making a comeback. Besides the formats of music, we can’t forget about how we listened to them: 10-disk changer in the car, Walkman for those cassettes, and the the Discman for the CDs. If you could walk with the Discman and not have your CD skip, you were lucky!
This may have been the primary source of fights in homes during my youth. One phone with a cord that tethered you to a location. When on this phone, there was no way for anyone else trying to reach out or anyone else in your home to interrupt you — that is, until call waiting showed up. Eventually, cordless phones allowed you to move freely around the house and talk.
If you were done with practice or school and needed a ride home, then you better have a quarter for the pay phone to call for a ride. When you make that call, if your sister is on the phone at home, there is a good chance that you weren’t getting a message to your parents. Are you going to call someone else to pick you up? I hope you remember their phone number or have a phone book to look it up.
Around the mid-1990s, mobile phones started to show up. By mobile, I mean a car phone — as a phone in a bag in your car. It took a few years before the mobile phone you could take with you anywhere came around. When it did, it had one feature: Phone calls. No texting, no internet. How did we survive!?
My favorite computer game was a college basketball game that was text-based. No graphics! Push 1 to pass, 2 to shoot. If you pass, who do you want to pass to? Options were 1-4 to select a teammate. Hours and hours spent playing that game. Not playing with a live person, just against the computer. This game was on a floppy disk.
Computers didn’t become common until after I completed high school. I took computer-aided drafting in high school and that was the most advanced computer program I had seen. Speaking of classes, who remembers typing class? Tim Todd the typing teacher who teaches teens to type!
There are many more categories and items I could have included: Film cameras, Polaroid instant cameras, paper maps, and encyclopedias are a few others I remember.
Technology continues to advance at a rate that is difficult for many to keep up with. Where will the next 47 years take us? I wish I had time to share my thoughts, but I just got a 911 page on my beeper!