Monday, December 30, 2013

Quaint, archaic technology

In the late 1970s, journalism professor Bert Bostrom at Northern Arizona University stood at his podium and lectured that in the near future, we would read our newspapers on an television screen, and print out only the articles we wanted. (He was most likely hinting the the impending demise of print journalism.) Were my classmates as incredulous as I was? And it has all come to pass, and much more.

Those who have reached the half-century mark: imaging handing a smart phone to your 30-year-old self and telling him/her that the device was (1) a telephone! and (2) would almost entirely supplant landlines (a word nonexistent back then) within our lifetimes.
Remember when we could guess the decade in which a movie or television show was set by the telltale fashion, say, the 1980s by the big hair on women, the feathered hair style (men and women), leg warmers, Members Only Jackets, and high-tops? 

Now it's the technology by which a viewer can almost pinpoint the year: the gallumphing off-white/off-gray CRT displays, in all their trapezoidal ungainliness. Ha! Or those hilariously unsophisticated non-GUI (graphical user interface) displays. Remember the black or green screen with white text? Oh, the dial-up modem?

Does anyone remember the Star Trek movie in which Scotty mistook the mouse for a voice recognition microphone?

(Note: I do miss my beloved DOS dot prompt, and, no, the DOS shell does not do it for me. And yeah, I worked hard to become proficient at dBase III Plus and worked on a team that developed a time, deliverable, goal, and money tracking application for a $3 million contract just before dBase III Plus became obsolete. For you young Turks, dBase III Plus was a relational database management system, superseded by the SQL products, such as Oracle.)

And, don't forget the boxy (to accommodate a large battery) first-generation mobile phones with the telescoping antenna. 

As the geeky friend predicted to Peggy Sue in the movie Peggy Sue Got Married, I think I'm going to love living in the future. I do.