What did we do before Technology?

I sat and wrote this blog with good old pen and paper. Why? Because I took my lovely shiny netbook, with an 8 hour battery, along with me when I took small child for her swimming lesson last week so I could catch up on some work.  And because I failed to check that lovely shiny netbook with an 8 hour battery actually had any charge in it before I left the house!

It got me thinking, how did we ever cope without the gadgets that we have today, and have they really made my life better?

I grew up in the age of the Spectrum ZX, the BBC, the Acorn and the Commodore 64.  Printers were only found in offices and then they were the old multi-sheet lined paper feed dot matrix printers.  The first computer I used at work was Windows 386.

Programmes like Word weren’t in every office, we didn’t have access to the internet, not that I am sure I had heard of it then, and I had never heard of email.

Mobile phones were only for yuppies, and came with a battery pack larger than my handbag.

Do I miss those days? Not in the slightest.  I fully embrace technology and all that it means to me. I make my living from this virtual world and I would not be without it.

I work online, I shop online and I socialise online.

Thanks to the wonders of the digital technology I have masses of photos of my beautiful daughter, and can share them online with friends and relatives around the world.  I can take two or three photos to ensure that I get the shot that is just right for me, no more waiting till the film comes back to realise that small child was sticking her tongue out, no more counting how many flashes were left on the flash bar, or how many shots were left on the film.

I can talk via Skype video with colleagues, clients and family and friends around the world.

I can use the resources of the internet to find the perfect family holiday, to figure out what small child’s maths homework actually means, and I can sit back in wonderment as my daughter researches the current topic at school, then writes up her report on Textease.

Thanks to the Nintendo Wii I have watched three generations of family laugh and play together from age 7 to 75, and have been pleasantly surprised at the interest it has re-kindled in the less active of us in exercise.  Anything that makes exercise feel like you are playing a game wins in my book, though I have to say, watch out for those wii related sports injuries, they hurt as much as the real thing!

Whilst there are things that are anti social about technology, there are many advantages as well.  Used in balance it eases workloads, improves communication, generates knowledge and makes life sweeter and easier. 

I have made friends, learned new things and broadened my horizons all thanks to the internet and the technology that allows me to use it, from my laptop, my netbook and my mobile phone.  It has also allowed me to win an argument occasionally as I googled the answer to some silly question, just to prove I was right.  Not to mention it is perfect for when small child comes out with her latest curiosity - "Mummy why do nettles sting, what makes them do it?" Good old google to the rescue.

For someone who wasn’t the first to get a mobile, a home PC or a PDA, I am now at a loss without them.  I crave access to my social network, email and internet when I am deprived of my wireless connection.  Today I sat in a broken down car for over an hour waiting for a recovery truck. Thankfully, between my laptop and my mobile broadband I didn’t waste that hour but spent it productively instead. 

So do you embrace technology or do you wish for the good old days? Your comments are welcomed.


  1. There are buttons to press and things that go beep. What's not to like? :)

  2. As someone who learnt programming at 10/11 years old (that is the last year of junior school), I am now anti-technology, although I believe social media has big hopes - you've just got to keep the big companies off it.

    My kit is simple: camera, blackberry.

    I like to be able to leave at weekend (with a satNav for last mile) and take as little technology as possible. Am still contemplating where I should change my handheld - after using Palms, PDAs, SmartPhones and tons of others since they came out I am now more cautious.

  3. I'm to young to remember the Commadore 64 with it's noisy tape deck and 20 minute load time....

  4. I am happy to embrace technology but it’s become less of a toy and more of a tool as I have personally matured, but then so too has the technology, to a point. It’s also true that I have other things that are more important to spend money on. I use a modern BlackBerry because it just works, I use a twelve year old classic Palm device because it just works. I like to keep old devices and smartphones but I am learning that sometimes you gotta let them go to be enjoyed by somebody else.

    Pity, then, I still have my Amiga A1200 and it’ll have to be taken from my cold, dead fingers before I let her go!

    Also, the Commodore 64 has a silent tape desk, you’re thinking of the Spectrum. #geek

  5. Sorry to correct DervMan but the Spectrum didn't have a tape deck, you used whatever tape deck you had lying around the house (after spending days adjusting the volume in minute increments to get the level just right). You didn't have to listen to the sounds if you went out and bought a proper tape deck! (Although the BEEEEE-Beep, BEEEEE-Squeal was oddly hypnotic) And the printer was a thermal printer which required special sliver paper about 4 inchs wide (none of those new fangelled cm's for us).

    I have always had a complicated relationship with technology. Have always hated telephones, would always rather meet someone than talk on the telephone.

    I hand wrote all my essays at Uni rather than use a computer. Then started as a trainee accountant at a firm that was computerising and found a natural affinity for the slow beige boxes which I have converted into half a career (never quite managed to shake the Accountancy).

    Love Twitter, hate Facebook. Run my own accounts on Excel, convert my clients to accounts software at the earliest oppotunity.

    Can pick up new tech and use it naturally within seconds. Am using a 10 year old Nokia handset.

    Tech is a tool that I use. I'd be lost without the internet to fuel my information junkie side, but I don't take it with me, I wait until I get home.

  6. On the whole, I like technology. That's a bit of a sweeping statement - and probably just what you expect from a software developer.

    That said, things tend to get taken too far (although that is more a sign of the state of society - don't get me started!) - and swiftly become over complicated, suffer incompatibilities and generally annoy their would-be users or simply don't work right.

    This frustrates me greatly at times, as there is a certain elegance to simplicity - to a device or software package which does a limited number of jobs very well.

    Perhaps this is why the "SaaS" (Software As A Service) is picking up such momentum now - not only are we technologically prepared for cloud computing, but it's high time we had some apps which focus on performing one task very well, instead of doing everything badly?


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