Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tech Update For Christmas 2010

Last week at my fave Brooklyn thrift store, I was stunned to find a working cordless phone from what I'm guessing is the late 1970s—complete with box and instructions. I'm still beating myself up for not buying the damn thing, just for the bemusement of it.

I got to thinking how technology changes so quickly anymore that perhaps we should return to simpler times and revisit innovations that captivated the consumer world. Digital this and that... Have we come too far? Let's put together a Christmas tech shopping list that takes us back to simpler times, shall we?

Ah, teles... Remember long before there were cell phones, when it became a huge deal to be able to own a telephone, instead of renting it from the phone company? And it came in fun colors, too!Writing... It took a lot more work to put words on a page then, but wasn't it more romantic, somehow? Who needs all these fancy laptops with so many microprocessors and confusing moving parts? So what if these used to take up an entire room...Cameras! Load the film, take picolas, run them to the drugstore and pray that the photos turned out, give doubles to your friends and then stack them all in a box, promising to one day arrange them in a photo album... Actually, it was horrible then and sounds worse now. I'll take digital, please!HDTV... Who needs all those pixels, anyway? Back then, your television was furniture. Ugly as hell, but as much the centerpiece of the living room as a fireplace.Cassettes not only go portable with the Walkman, but now we can record on them, too! It certainly revolutionized doing face-to-face interviews... And this model came with a radio, too. How ironic that 30+ years later, the iPod still doesn't come with AM/FM.Then again, back then, you didn't have to endure 16 minutes of commercials an hour. Perhaps there's not much to miss with radio, after all.Calculators were not allowed in the classroom when they first came out in the late 1970s. I suppose we were still supposed to use an abacus and our fingers...And my favorite slice of technology ever... My 1978 Sharp cassette deck. Loved it then, love it again!
(Top photo: Paula Wirth, 1970)