Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “technology influences.”
1. What kind of technology existed around your house as a child?
Keep in mind that I was an early Baby Boomer and in my early years the only “technology” we had was a 10” B&W TV console and a Victrola record player that played 78 RPM records. We also had a land-line telephone with a “party line,” which meant that multiple families shared the same phone number.
2. What technology do you remember coming into your home for the first time?
I think it was the late Fifties when we got an RCA color TV console and a Telefunken HiFi record player that had three speeds: 78, 45, and 33 1/3 RPMs, and an AM/FM radio. I also got a small Zenith transistor radio (AM only). We also got our own phone line.
3. What kind of televisions or radios did you have – post pictures if you can find them.
See answer to number 2.
4. How did music technology change in your lifetime? When was the last time you purchased music? In what form was the music?
It evolved from 78 RPM records, to 45 RPM “singles” and 33 1/3 RPM LP albums. FM radio stations took over radio for music, 8-track tape and cassette tape players came along and the Sony Walkman was the portable tape player everyone got, except for those who got off on boomboxes, the bigger the better.
Then music CDs supplanted vinyl records, but that was shortly replaced by downloadable MP3 format songs and the Apple iPod player. Now there are all kinds of music streaming options, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. I think the last time I actually purchased either a single recording or an album was on iTunes for my iPhone maybe a few years back.
5. Did you have a home computer? If so, what was it? Did you have a webcam? Did you stream content with it?
My first computer (circa 1982) was the original IBM PC, with a blazingly fast 4.77 MHz 8088 chip and two 5 1/4” floppy disks (i.e., no hard drive), and with a Princeton Graphics monochrome monitor. Shortly after I got it, I added a 10 MB hard card, figuring that would suffice for the rest of my life. My next addition was a Hayes 300 baud dial-up “Smartmodem.”
My initial connectivity experience was with so-called bulletin boards that, if I recall correctly, I accessed through CompuServe. It was all text-based and rudimentary. Eventually I upgraded to a faster computer with a larger hard drive and a 1200 baud dial-up modem. Woo hoo.
At some point I discovered Prodigy, the first of the early-generation dial-up services to offer full access to the World Wide Web and to offer a graphical user interface. Then America Online (AOL) began giving away floppy disks and soon, with its email, instant messaging, and chat rooms, it displaced Prodigy as the internet access point of choice. It, too, was primarily dial-up.
None of these early computers had broadband connectivity, webcams, or streaming functionally. Those were all 21st century technologies.
6. What kind of phone did you have? Do you have a landline today?
Back in the early Fifties we had party line phones and then single family lines. As adults, we had landline phones up until around 2010. Now we rely solely upon our mobile phones.
7. Did you have toys with integrated technology, robots, automation, etc?
Only video games like Atari, Sega, and then the Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and now the Oculus Quest VR headsets.
8. What technology ‘blew your mind’?
The World Wide Web.
9. When did you get your first cell phone? What brand and model was it? Did you carry a pager?
My first cellphone was an old Motorola “brick.” After that it was a flip phone. Then a BlackBerry, and since 2010, iPhones. and yes, before I got my BlackBerry device, I had a SkyTel pager for work.
10. Is there any current technology you refuse to own or have in your home?
Are DVD recorders and players considered to be current technology, because we don’t have any in our home? Other than that, I can’t think of any technology that I would refuse to own or have.