Interesting article I read online was how change affects us in a funny and ironic way when we as parents have to explain our “modern day” technological wonders in the past.
As much as we’d like to avoid such a topic one day, we’d eventually have to answer their questions when they get older and explain how entertainment was back in the days of during the great format wars.
I was born to the age of the Betamax fortunately, missing out on the A-Tracks, Vinyls and old school recording methods. Share to them that from LP to cassette to CD and Betamax to VHS to DVD to HD-DVD to Blu-ray. From punchcards to magnetic tape to floppy disks to zip drives to DVD-ROMs the past was more bulky and inconvenient to those who wanted to be abreast with technology.
Growing up in the 80’s meant that common format of music were vinyl records which my dad and mom collected as well as tons of cassette tapes (mostly German songs and medleys) and the Betamax player was the star of the living room with its matching “rewinder” plus the “head” cleaner when the picture comes out blurry or distorted. As the Betamax faded, came VHS format that reminds me of the time when I saw my first smut film (the growing years called puberty) Both the Betamax and VHS unfortunately fell victim to a far nimbler opponent, DVD, which was waiting in the wings of change.
Kids of this particular generation and the future generation to come will of course know nothing of this kind of formats. They will grow up in a world where physical storage of information is as outdated as rotary-dial telephones and mimeograph machines are now considering that everything can be stored on a thumb drive (USB) or in the vastness of the web.
My child will never know how cumbersome it was to deal with PC’s that only had a 486 processor with 500mb storage compared to the iPad3, which has a minimum 16gb storage with WiFi and a 5mp camera as well as other cool features. Upside to this is that we the older generation can enjoy this new world as well, streaming music and video services, cloud-based storage options and social networks that easily absorb our photos and ephemera.
Music back in time was a home-stereo system which was a black-and-brown tower of components with an amplifier, a receiver, a cassette deck, a CD player, a phonograph, perhaps an equalizer. A far cry from music now, which is stored digitally on a computer, or sent over the Internet from a streaming service to hear it in the home, all that’s required is a speaker to receive the necessary data. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a wireless speaker that uses Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to a smartphone or computer.
With TV and Movies the VCR gave way to the DVD player, which then heralded the entry of the Blu-ray DVD player, but this device will eventually be considered obsolete when streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are able to send shows and movies to televisions directly, and online stores like Apple’s iTunes Store can allow users to download videos to their devices for offline viewing.
Computing before with early computer gives users that nostalgic feeling when they remember that the storage medium of choice in the early 1980s was a cassette of magnetic tape. This then gave way to the 5 1/4-inch floppy, which in turn evolved into the 3 1/2-inch floppy (this time protected by a hard plastic case), only to be overtaken by the CD-ROM, which morphed into the DVD.
But the latest portable computers forgo any removable storage media whatsoever. Now documents can be stored on Google Docs, photos on Facebook and other files on cloud services like Dropbox, the need for a disk of any type is rapidly approaching zero.
So consider the fast paced technological advancements that have happened in the past few years and take time to absorb it for it may prove useful one day when future generations would take time to ask you what technology or life was like in the past.