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Throwback Thursday #31 – Technology Influences

I am back heading up our Throwback Thursday this week. Thanks to everyone who completed our survey. Lauren and I have decided we will post a more scaled down version of Throwback Thursday in April so look for our post as usual on Thursdays. If you are doing A to Z, you may still find it possible to join in.

If you care to join us, it’s easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Technology Influences. The post this week might benefit from the use of photos! Just remember to give credit where credit is due!

You can use the questions that follow to spark your memories or you can answer them as they stand. It is totally up to you.

  1. What kind of technology existed around your house as a child?
  2. What technology do you remember coming into your home for the first time?
  3. What kind of televisions or radios did you have – post pictures if you can find them.
  4. How did music technology change in your lifetime? When was the last time you purchased music? In what form was the music?
  5. Did you have a home computer? If so, what was it? Did you have a webcam? Did you stream content with it?
  6. What kind of phone did you have? Do you have a landline today?
  7. Did you have toys with integrated technology, robots, automation, etc?
  8. What technology ‘blew your mind’?
  9. When did you get your first cell phone? What brand and model was it? Did you carry a pager?
  10. Is there any current technology you refuse to own or have in your home?

My post follows:


The only technology that existed in my grandparents’ homes, were Victrolas or radios. My grandmother had a large Victrola in the bedroom upstairs. It played 78rpm records and it fascinated me. Both my grandparents had electric clock radios. Eventually each purchased a small black and white television.

Telephones were probably the biggest technology change in my childhood. Our first phone was a on a party line we shared with four or five other families. I remember listening in on other people’s calls and having them listen in on mine. (When my parents moved back there in 1973 they had the first private line due to my mother’s illness.) We never had but one extension in our house, usually located in the living room or kitchen.

Color television was the next big technology. I still remember going to our neighbor’s house on Sunday evenings just to watch the intro to “The Wonderful World of Disney” or seeing the NBC peacock in full color.

Scanned by lynx305, 45rpmadapter, CC BY-SA 3.0

As far as music, we eventually had a small record player. My siblings and I only bought 45 rpm records until we got into perhaps junior high. Our record player had a converter that went over the center spindle to accept 45s. Eventually there were yellow snap-in inserts that converted the large hole in the center of the 45 to a small hole. We always stacked records to play one after the other. No wonder they all got scratched up.

After that, Christmas presents always seemed to include albums by our favorite groups. I remember having The Association’s Greatest Hits album with the words to all the songs printed inside the album. That was the only way I was able to memorize the words to ”Along Comes Mary”.

For portable music I had a transistor radio with a leather-like case that required a single 9 volt battery. I took it everywhere. In the years that followed I had a cassette walkman, a CD walkman, an MP3 player, an iPod and now a phone. I have not purchased any music in years the last being from the iTunes store. We donated most of our CDs and occasionally I run across a random cassette in a box, but there are no 8 tracks lying around.

Bilby, Osborne 1 open, CC BY 3.0

We had a Commodore 64 at home, usually used by my children. There was a koala pad attached (an early drawing tablet) and story writing software. I wrote my first Basic program on that computer. My manager at the time had an Osborne computer which he used as a laptop on when he flew.

My first cell phone was purchased in 1996. It was a Nokia. This was the annoying ringtone.

I did carry a pager for years and years before the company issued cell phones for everyone. Yes, there was a time I carried two cell phones and sometimes a pager, too.

Today I have a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone. I still have my iPod which I rarely use. I mostly stream music now. Hubby has an Android phone and two or three Windows computers and at least two Raspberry pi’s. We no longer have a landline. We stream our television rather than subscribe to a cable package. I do not have Alexa and have turned off all the listening features on my smart devices other than Siri on my iPhone and iPad. None of my household appliances talk to me.

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One Liner Wednesday – Tech Obsolescence

 

DO NOT PERFORM A FACTORY RESET OR THE RADIO WILL BE A BRICK.

That line, upper case letters and all, was easy to pull out of the email I received from internet radio company Grace Digital. My husband bought me an internet radio about five years ago. It relied on an internet radio aggregator for it to work. Well, guess what? The aggregator (Receiva) went out of business rendering all the radios useless. Of course, in my early troubleshooting, I had already done a factory reset because I could not connect to the internet. Now I am the proud owner of a very expensive big black BRICK.


One liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by the lovely Linda Hill. Please visit Linda’s blog (to read the rules, read other one liners, and possibly join in the fun!)

 

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – #WATWB

Image that says we are the world

Welcome back to the monthly bloghop – We Are The World Blogfest. It is a time to share snippets of good news happening around the world in an effort to diminish the impact of negative news.


WATWB is co-hosted this month by Mary J. Giese and Belinda Witzenhausen.


There are many electronic devices these days and more and more wearable devices. The impact of the batteries required to charge those devices is another one of those dirty little secrets many people are either ignorant of or choose to ignore in favor of the convenience of the technology.

Both the manufacture and the disposal of these batteries are neither sustainable nor are they good for the environment.

There is good news on the horizon, however. Engineers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a tiny bandage thin battery that is charged off of ‘sweat’. This battery can discharge 20 hours of electricity from 2 ml of perspiration.

During testing, a volunteer was able to generate a voltage of 4.2 V and an output power of 3.9 mW. That’s impressive. Imagine a battery powered by perspiration rather than one damaged by perspiration.

Read the story in its entirety here.


Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world? Use the hashtag #WATWB on your good news post and share it in our Facebook community here or on Twitter at @WATWB so others can read your post.

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Listen My Children, And You Shall Hear, Part 1

My apologies to Longfellow, for this has nothing to do with his magnificent “Paul Revere’s Ride”. I was actually thinking about something we often repeated as children:

Poet
Didn’t know it
Feet Showed it
They were Longfellow’s

But I digress. I think the phrase came to mind when thinking about telling stories of ‘the good ole days’ and ‘when I was a kid’. I guess we do that more and more the older we get.

When chatting with a friend last week we were laughing about how technology bound we have become and I wanted to capture the thought before the idea left me.

I can remember when our first black wall phone was installed in my grandmother’s house. We were on a party line with four to six other houses. Everyone on the party line had a particular ring, so you knew if the incoming call was for you. Sharing the line was always a problem. Older shut-in people liked to talk a long time as did children. And then there was the listening in on your conversations. I can still remember my grandmother chastising heavy breathing neighbors to ‘hang up the phone’.

The phone companies also provided the telephones. Standard issue rotary phones were the first we had to choose from. There was no buying a phone elsewhere. I vaguely remember visiting an AT&T store. I wanted a pink Princess Phone so badly, but all we ever got was a pushbutton Trimline phone and rotary wall phone, both in harvest gold color. There were also extra charges for ‘touchtone’ and extra charges if you wanted an unlisted number and extra charges if you wanted the phone company to service the wiring inside your home.

Traveling to see loved ones was always a lesson in faith and trust. There were no cell phones to report on progress. When we traveled the 12 hours from Ohio to Virginia to visit my grandparents it was a long haul. They must have worried as we were on the road for so long. When we made the return trip home, we used the collect call to a ‘code name’ to let them know we arrived safely.

Operator: “Will you accept a collect call from Bartholomew Smith”?
Grandparents: “No”
Operator: “I’m sorry, the charges were refused.”
Click

Everyone would giggle and the message was conveyed. We got home ok. And the message did not cost anything. Long distance calls were expensive, and collect calls even more so. Any operator assisted calls caused the cost to skyrocket.

Which made me wonder. If I press ‘0’ on my cell phone, what would happen? Or on a landline? Do operators exist anymore? What about overseas operators? They were a specialty – located in Denver if I remember correctly.

Then of course, we dialed 411 for directory assistance when we needed a Local phone number. An information operator would ask what number you were seeking, look it up and recite the number to you. The service was also used for long distance. Dial the area code +555-1212.

Many towns and cities also had a reserved number you could call for time and temperature. I do not recall any of those numbers. There is a great scene in the movie “Doc Hollywood” where Michael J. Fox calls back to Grady from Los Angeles just to hear the time and temperature recording.

Then there were pay phones. I can remember going to a payphone with a change purse full of quarters to make a ‘long distance’ call, which in reality, was not necessarily long distance. If your time ran out, an operator would come back online instructing you to add more money or your call would end abruptly.

I worked as a switchboard operator when I lived in Alaska. I worked with a few of the local telco technicians. They told me about a man that was finally arrested for making thousands of dollars of fraudulent phone calls. You see, when you put money in a pay phone, each coin made a specific sound. That’s how the operator knew if you had paid the proper amount. Well, this kindly older gentlemen would call the operator and chat with her and would pay the appropriate cost for the call – except he didn’t. He had in his possession a recording of the sound the coins made when falling into the machine. It took a while to find him, but they knew something was up when the money was collected from the phones and there was nothing there.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a working payphone. There are still some boxes around, but the phones have long since been removed.

I never imagined telephones would become part of my nostalgia. Another scene – all too familiar – of a stretched out phone cord taken into the bathroom for privacy plays out in the movie “Home for the Holidays”.

The phone was our connection as cumbersome as it seems now. Maybe here in 2020, we are reminded of what it was like to ‘reach out and touch someone’ through the phone.