Tag: Technology

1981: Reading the newspaper on a home computer

In 1981, I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I remember that was the year I had to take Biology and we dissected things. I was thoroughly grossed out by one, I think it was a cow heart or something, that I had to leave the lab. Even the worm made me sick to my stomach. Most people at 15 don’t have any idea what they want to do, but I knew for sure I did not want to be a doctor. However, I did have to make some decisions about my education that year. New York State has this really screwed up system called Regents. In order for me to get a Regents diploma, I either had to do a “sequence” in something. Or take all these other classes. The other classes included science, like chemistry or physics. Um, no. Math like higher math past advanced algebra like calc and stats. No thanks. Art? No way. I can’t draw a stick figure. My brother can draw. Should have seen this thing he drew on his cast when he broke his leg. Music? I can’t sing. Really. That’s an ugly noise. And I took violin for five minutes. When the instructor said I had to practice over the summer, I was like, dude, I go to summer camp all summer and it wasn’t band camp.

So, I opted for a sequence in Business/Marketing and joined the DECA club (Distributive Education Clubs of America) not to be confused with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), which was what Tom Cruise was doing in Risky Business. Way back then, I remember the distinction between the two was  the kids in DECA were cooler!

1981 Pittsford Sutherland DECA Club members. Can you guess which one is me? LOL

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But this did set the ground work for me and my love affair with technology and Marketing. Now, when I say marketing, I’m talking more market research kind of stuff. Had to do a focus group project that was a lot of fun. But my biggest fascination was computers. Not the hardware side, the software side. I remember every time a new version of something came out I wanted to be the first one to have it. I’ve been working with this new program to build websites and they have a beta version of the next edition and I’m already using that one. Its freaking awesome.

But I digress.

I learned a lot about the possibilities of future technology and what it could mean to the world. We actually discussed in one of my classes the possibility of reading on the computer in 1981. It was sparked by a news report about the internet. I saw this the other day and the memory came flying back. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Only problem, no cartoons or pictures back then. It also took like 2 hours to get the entire newspaper. Imagine those dial up costs back then!

I guess the internet is my generations airplane? Wonder what it will be for the next generation.

 

Techno Thursday: Is social media really social?

I have always been an early adapter of technology, but not always an early adapter of social media and I’m not talking blogging or websites or various forms of communication and advertising. I think the internet is a vast and wonderful place to find out all sorts of valuable information. Without the internet, my job would not exist. I also love that things like Google Hangouts and Facetime now allow my husband to travel a lot less, since he’s having virtual meetings. eMail writing makes it easier AND faster to communicate with friends. I’ve even become fond of some of the services that will send out invitations and birthday cards.

Much of social media is used to promote a product, business, or brand. It is also used to keep up with family and friends. I love that while my daughter is in the Peace Corps living in Madagascar, she can still, when in a town with internet, post pictures and communicate with all of us back home. I believe she has a stronger relationships with family  members because of these types of social sites. And really, thank God for Facetime! Both audio and video. Its nice to be able to actually talk with her each week. Twenty years ago, we would have been waiting MONTHS for just one letter.

Social media is good for so many things, but I don’t find it to be social. I want social interaction, I’ll go see a friend. Pick up the phone. Talk to my pet rock. In an effort to engage and network, we develop on-line relationships, and yes, some, actually, many, can and will develop into real, face to face social interactions. But lets face it, no one has 5k friends on Facebook that are real, honest friends. Yeah, sure, with Authors, there is the fan thing. Another good reason fro social media. A connection to a favorite author. TV star. Dog (as in Cool Gus).

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We’ve become all consumed by social media. Watching the news the other night, listening to the Anchor say, “he tweeted an apology” just made me cringe. Sure, Social Media is often live, happening right then. I personally prefer to get alerts on my phone about news and other important topics than sit in front of my computer looking at trending topics. But so many of us have Social Media dialed as high as it can go, barely taking a break from it. Its always on. Always calling you, telling you that you’re engaging with people, making new friends, networking.

Perhaps, a little. Perhaps enough to say we need to be on social media.

But not so much we need to join a support group for people addicted to Social Media.

There are many studies now that show the negative affects of social media on our mental health and on our productivity. We need to learn to turn it off sometimes.

Another area of concern for me with Social Media is that often times people say things they wouldn’t normally say. Social Media has become a place to rant about this or that, and don’t you dare disagree with me, only lovers welcome. Haters beware. Social Media has made the divide in topics even greater and the anger even stronger. And none of that is being social.

And I do think there is some truth to Einstein’s quote.

Einstin Technology

So, in a nutshell. Technology and social media are a good thing, but they come at a cost. A personal cost we can control.

Techno Thursday: Beam Me Up Scotty!

Right now I’m thinking a transporter that can take me from Rochester, NY to Madagascar would be pretty cool considering I hate flying and the trip to Madagascar is pretty long. 3 Planes to be exact. Two of them over 8 hours long. Me not a happy camper. Then again, do I really want all my whatever’s split apart then put back together on the other end? What would happen if a tiny little piece of me got left behind? Would I still be me? Maybe Cool Gus’ Science Advisor can help out with the idea of a transporter and quantum teleportation because that is out my league!

I’m going to stick with the “communicator”, which Captain Kirk never left home…I mean his ship…without one. If he needed some quick info while on some strange faraway planet, all he had to do was take out his trusty communicator and call the Starship Enterprise.

Star Trek aired in 1966. We landed on the moon in 1969. That was broadcasted on televisions across the nation. In 1973 a senior engineer at Motorola made the first mobile phone call.

So was Star Trek really ahead of its time.

Oh yeah, baby.

First, the transmission from the moon: NASA had to have stations on three continents. They had to have a 200 foot in diameter radio dish. Ha. I had Dish TV a very long time ago, and I thought 5 feet was huge!

As far as the first mobile phone call? The battery had to charge for 10 hours and it only lasted 30 minutes. Motorola didn’t come out with its first commercial mobile phone until 1983 at the tune of 4,000.00. I shudder to think the roaming charges on that sucker.

While we did have the technology to communicate without telephone wires long before it happened, it always takes a while for the technology to get to the point where the masses can afford them. Or see a need for them. Then can’t live without them.

We think technology moves fast and changes fast. It does, once it gets to the point where everyone is getting one. Cell phones really didn’t become popular (out side of wealthy people) until Nokia and Motorola started making small devices or flip phones at affordable prices, and the cost to use them went down, in the late 90’s. I think today we call them dumb phones. Remember texting on those suckers? The first Blackberry in 1999 was more like a small PDA with a keyboard.

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Have to admit the flip phone looks an awful lot like the communicator!

So the question really is, how much of technology comes from shows like Star Trek?

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And just for fun. Short clip from the original series. Notice the use of the communicator!

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