#BixbyFifty #Day08 – Technology

Well, this entry on the journey will label me as an “old man”. I guess I will start to embrace the mantle of curmudgeon. Only, it is not a rant. It is a moment to ponder a few things that I have seen develop. Bear with me…

I was born in 1964 in a small town in Alberta. I remember seeing TV for the first time when I was probably about 5 or 6. In the early afternoon, an episode of Sesame Street was on TV and for whatever reason, the television was turned off before I could finish watching the show. Later that day when the television was turned back on, I was greatly dismayed that sesame street did not pick up from where it left off. I thought the show was stopped when the device was turned off and would resume again when turned back on. I was sad. Back then, those were adult devices, they were for news and other boring adult things. It was my first memory of paying attention to technology.

Fast forward to 1975 when I was 11years old. We moved to Nova Scotia in 1970, but I went with dad on a trip to Alberta for a few weeks. That strikes me as odd in itself, because dad never really fancied spending time with young kids. While in Pincher Creek, I saw a Telstar video game at a store. I spent all of my money and some of dad’s to get it. It was a wonder of amazing technological ability.

Four games could be played with this wonderful device. I was the luckiest kid around. Then a few years went buy and I played around with stereos, cassette tape recorders, 8 track players, short wave radios, etc. Another amazing day in my appreciation of technology came when I was in grade 10 or 11. I got a TRS-80 Pocket Computer.

This device was simply amazing. It was a calculator on steroids. I learned how to program in basic, which is pretty easy actually, and was quite impressed with now only what the device could do, but what I could do with it. Wow. I guess this is the point in my life where I started to embrace geekdom without even knowing what that was.

Now we are going to go ahead a bit further. At this point, I am out of high school and I am attending Halifax Regional Vocational School for a 2 year program on Data Processing. The first year we used an IBM System 3 Model 10.

Back then I actually wrote programs on Herman Hollerith 80 column punched cards. Your program was a box of these cards that had to be loaded in sequence in the machine to run. There was enough memory in these computers to hold a lot of programs so they were stored and loaded from cards. 🙂

From this point, technological advances started to pick up a bit. I was around for a number of innovations. Photocopiers, Fax Machines, Laser Disk Players, Beta Format Movies, VHS Movies, Video Recording Machines, Music CDs, Personal Computer Advancements, The Computer Mouse, Television Remotes (connected with a wire), Wireless Television Remotes, The Sony Walkman, Handheld Video Game Machines, LED Watches, LCD Watches, The Sony Diskman, Dolby 5.1, MP3 Players, Digital Cameras, Digital Video Recorders, Microwave Ovens, Computer Modems, Cellular Telephones, The Internet, Scanners, Inkjet Printers, Laser Printers, Satellite TV, Handheld GPS Devices, Laser Pointers, Memory Sticks, Bluetooth, WIFI,  Wireless Speakers, Digital Picture Frames, Rear Projection TV, Flat Screen TV,  Blu-Ray Disk Players, Video Game Consoles, Smartphones…
…just to name a few.

Some of those items are some heavy hitters. Some of them became mainstream and obsolete again during my brief journey so far. I think about how many of them have been incorporated into my smartphone. It kinda blows me away. As technology advances there are those that must rush out and embrace it blindly and there are also those who pine for simpler times with less technology. I would like to think I take a path between these two extremes. All of these things are merely tools. They have an opportunity to add value to your life or add distraction, perhaps a bit of both. I am thankful for the advances I have seen in my lifetime. It is very very humbling and truly amazing.

If you had tried to explain to the 12 year old version of me, that I would be writing a blog entry on a wireless keyboard connected to a laptop computer that is connected to a worldwide network of interconnected devices… well, I would have been confused to say the least. It would have been incredulous. I am grateful for the connectedness that technology affords me. 40 years ago, it would have been quite difficult to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe. I hope that I can always appreciate technological advances and harvest the benefit from them to enrich my life experiences. Mr. Toad’s wild ride ain’t over yet…


2 thoughts on “#BixbyFifty #Day08 – Technology

  1. This brings back some memories for me – the TRS-80 pocket computer, what a machine that was! I too learned to program on one of those, and it sparked my interest in technology and my future career. So many technological advances in our lifetimes, and still more to come. My kids laugh when I tell them about the ‘old days’, when we were young and what they take for granted these days. But, I guess it is no different than when we laughed at our parents and their ‘old days’. The world keeps spinning, and us with it. Yes a great wild ride it is Mr. Toad …

  2. I had a TRS-80 as well. I got mine from the side of the road. Literally. My dad found it lying on the side of the highway. It had a crack on the glass. You could see the imprint of one of the IC pins in the back casing from being run over. Dad opened it up and bent the metal backing so the IC wasn’t shorting out against anything anymore and when we fired it up it worked fine. It continued working for many years until it finally gave up the ghost for good.

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