In my parent’s generation, the advent of the TV was the big hit, and maybe a phone in every home (or at least your own line instead of a party line). Our generation, well those born in the late 70’s and 80’s (I’m a 79er personally) we have seen a lot of development in the area of technology… Going from CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TVs to Flat Screen LCD/LED TVs, having a computer in every home, and some small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and of course, cell phone technology, going from the brick (My father had one) to smaller cell phones to the advent of the smartphone.
So much has changed over the years… So here is my story.
The other day at work, a colleague, who is a few years older than me, was having a discussion with one of the new guys, who is at least a decade or so younger than myself. He started to talk about the days of BBSs, which for those not too familiar, were Bulletin Board Systems. This is of course from a time before Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. A time when the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Library were your only source of real information (and may still be from what I have read online in the past few years). I got in on the conversation as I remember the days of 14.4KBps modems (eventually upgraded to a 56K modem later on). And it got me thinking how everything has changed, and these newcomers have no idea what life was like before the internet. SO I started to do some searching on the things I grew up with. I will explain these items now:
n my early childhood, we had the Vic 20 and Commodore 64, some had the Atari, like my cousins up at the cottage, many a rainy day playing Joust on that… but at home, we had the Vic 20, tape deck and all (some games actually came on cassette tapes!) and at the cottage was the Commodore 64, with a bunch of game cartridges like Gorf (space-invader like game.) This was around the same time my father brought home the first laptop I had ever seen…
A Toshiba Satelite with an amber monochrome screen… Wow, I didn’t even think to pull up images of that… But yeah I remember going to the cottage and playing with tone Commodore 64 and using my father’s laptop to be “creative” is whatever drawing program was on there… But Gorf… we had other games but Gorf stayed with me because of its unusual name… frog backwards… Chris: (My brother) If you ever get to read this post, comment on what other games we had… I know we had more and you, being a little bit older than I, might remember some of the titles….
The next computer I remember having access to was the Apple IIci. My father was assigned two of them by the company he worked for; Nortel (If anyone remembers the tech giant that vanished).He had one at work, and one at home. While everyone else I know got to play on PC based computers with DOS and we able to run really cool BBS applications like Renegade BBS, I was at home on a Mac… No wonder I can;t stand them to this day, I was raised on one. It funny though because I did try and run a BBS off it using a Mac application called Hermes. But I could never get any good door games like LORD (Legend of the red dragon) or Usurper to work on it, as they were made for the DOS BBS apps… Wait, that’s a modern work… Back then they were called programs, not applications or apps… It wasn’t until college that I finally got my first “PC” that was Windows based. Now on to Cell phones, these were around when I was very young, I recall my father having what I would call a brick. A close friend of mine even had a Car Phone in his first car back when we were in High School. Technology has changed in that area for sure. I mean back in high school it was not uncommon to see students with pagers: a small device that would display text when a certain phone number was called, some even had voice mail. I had one of those for a few years, but when I graduated and decided which college I was going to go to, I picked up my very first VTEK Cellphone with a company called Fido (Before the merger with Rogers). And I had this phone for quite some time. It lasted me through college anyway. I then switched to a Sony Erickson phone, better quality, butter fucntion, you could actually customize the ring tones, and it had a color screen. I think I actually got my first “Smartphone” when I started to work as an RTA in a call center… bought my first, used, blackberry, now there were the newer stylish ones out at the time, but I could not afford the high price tag on them, and back then, they didn’t have the “Tab” or reduced price tag on a 2 to 3 year contract, no, you had to pay full price. So I go one of the old ones at a used tech shop. I nicknamed it the BlueBerry on behalf of its color.. Shortly after I upgraded to what they called a “Smart Like” phone, basically a way of saying a phone that looked like a smart phone, felt like a smart phone, but really wasn’t a smart phone. It was a texting phone called the Samsung Reclaim and was much cheaper than a real smart phone. The funny thing is, I don’t think I every actually used it. I remember giving it to a friend quite a while back, as I had actually upgraded to a real (current) Blackberry of the time. I stuck with Blackberry up until The Torch which got stolen about 4 years ago. Now I am an Android User, and smartphones today are literally a tiny computer in your hands. Now to jump back a little, when you think of cell phones today, you can almost compare them to having the functionality of a PDA (Personal Data Assistant) like the Palm Pilot, which both my brother and Father owned back in the day, and of course a mobile phone. When you look at the technology from the 80’s, a mere 30+ yeas ago, and look at what we have to day, I can’t help but be amazed at how technologically advanced we have become. It’s awe inspiring, yet also a bit sad, as we have become so reliant on technology these days… I can’t go a day without my smartphone.