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View Full Version : Do you remember reactions to new inventions?



Fruitbat
02-02-2011, 07:42 PM
I'm looking for what it was like when new inventions and things happened.

Things like this:

- When the handicapped stalls were first put into public restrooms, I remember there being lines but that stall staying empty. People didn't know you could use it.

- When bottled water first came in and people thought it was ludicrous and swore they'd never pay for water. (I haven't heard that in a long time now).

- Garage door openers- I knew a girl who would drive around with her friends and open and close their garage doors with her remote. She thought it was a scream.

- Microwave ovens- Some people wouldn't use them, they thought they'd get radiation.

Like that. Anybody?

Thanks!

lizbeth dylan
02-02-2011, 07:57 PM
- CD's & DVD's: I remember on the first few being sure to hold it by the edges because touching it might make the information magically disappear.

- GPS: We were still taking a regular map...just in case she really doesn't know where she's going.

- cell phones: There was a rumor that it caused a wart like tumor to grow out of the top of your ear.

- internet: When it first became popular, I remember everyone being paranoid that ANY personal information put out on the internet would get you in all kinds of problems, from people stealing your identity to being implicated in some kind of bomb threat.

Drachen Jager
02-02-2011, 07:59 PM
Bottled water is still a terrible idea. It's the fastest growing type of plastic waste in the world. I heard once that if you put all the bottles of water thrown out in a year end to end you'd have a string of bottles to the moon and back seven times.

waylander
02-02-2011, 08:23 PM
GPS is still a long way from infallible

Most of the reactions have been 'I don't need it' and 'it won't catch on'

Jean
02-02-2011, 08:26 PM
Bottled water is still a terrible idea. It's the fastest growing type of plastic waste in the world. I heard once that if you put all the bottles of water thrown out in a year end to end you'd have a string of bottles to the moon and back seven times.

PET is recyclable. I don't know for somewhere else but in my country there're people earn the living out of finding water bottle and sell it for recycling.

LBlankenship
02-02-2011, 08:27 PM
people thought it was ludicrous and swore they'd never pay for water. (I haven't heard that in a long time now).


Consider it heard. It's still ludicrous and I won't pay for bottled water when I'm already paying for city water.

I remember when answering machines first came home and you'd mention in the message that this was the answering machine.

Marlys
02-02-2011, 08:29 PM
More on microwaves: at first, they were sold as actual cooking devices, not just a convenient way to heat up leftovers or packaged frozen food. Like, "You can cook a whole chicken in thirty minutes!" The first thing everybody did when they got one was nuke a marshmallow.

VCRs: Tapes were incredibly expensive, so you watched the few you had over and over. A girl I knew in high school had "Life of Brian," and it was a regular thing for a group of us to grab a pizza and some Riunite and go over to her house and watch it.

dolores haze
02-02-2011, 08:32 PM
I remember when my high school got its first computer. The whole school filed through the room to look at it. No one was allowed to touch it. The teachers didn't know what to do with it.

Bubastes
02-02-2011, 08:38 PM
DVDs: I remember thinking, "Why would anyone want to skip around scenes in a movie?"

CheyElizabeth
02-02-2011, 08:48 PM
Many people thought text messaging was pointless since you could call someone.

I didn't. I was a teenager and loved it.

Maryn
02-02-2011, 08:49 PM
I feel rather old all of a sudden...

I remember the first calculator--my dad, an engineer, didn't get why anybody wouldn't just use a slide rule, which made me laugh. Now, of course, lots of people (both kids and adults) never really add, subtract, multiply, or divide without one, and plenty of them couldn't if their lives depended on it.

I remember my first digital watch. It was amazing, and only cost $35. Now you can get them for a tenth of that.

Computers intended for home use, god, yeah. This colleague of Mr. Maryn's had one on which he was writing his dissertation. It could not show a full screen of text and he had to scroll from side to side on every line to read what he'd written, and he still loved it.

Dishwashers were also a biggie. My mom, a careless housekeeper to put it mildly, got one of the first ones in our city.

My husband remembers when only one family in his neighborhood had a TV, and they generously invited all the kids over to watch Walt Disney every Sunday.

Maryn, ancient

dolores haze
02-02-2011, 08:59 PM
I remember watching TV in color for the very first time. All the children clustered around the TV set, staring in astonishment at all that color. On a TV! It was an America show. One of the kids said, "so they have color in America?"

*joins Maryn in the retirement home*

Tiger
02-02-2011, 09:38 PM
Re: Microwave ovens... When they first hit my end of suburbia I think that the first things in were whole eggs or metal objects, not marshmallows--with predictable results. :)

There are people still think that ionizing radiation comes out of microwave ovens and that the things are inherently evil.

CACTUSWENDY
02-02-2011, 10:00 PM
My dad used to tell of reading the comic books that showed man landing on the moon/mars/etc. As young boys they thought that was a riot and would never happen. He was in his 50's when that became a reality.

He also told of having their first 'electric light bulb', just one, hanging from the center of the ceiling in the living room of their family home. Just the bare bulb. They all thought they had really arrived in the big time then.

I remember when cassette tapes came into vogue. My hubby started buying them and I had a fit. There was nothing wrong with our 8-tracks. No way were cassettes ever going to replace the tracks.

Only the very rich had micro waves in the beginning as they cost so much. When the price finally dropped so the average person could buy one that was a big deal.

It was the same with dishwashers. No way could you trust getting dishes as clean as a hand washing.

To think you could have a washing machine/dryer that did all the work. It meant no more using the wringer washing machine and spending all Monday doing the 'weekly' laundry and then hanging them outside to dry.

I was lucky and had a neighborhood kid/friend that got the first black/white TV and we would sit on his porch and look through the screen door and catch Micky Mouse. We were the second family to have one, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It only came on at 4:00PM and went off the air at about 10:00PM to start with.

Who would never think of buying/using air conditioning in a house? Only if it was like 100 degrees outside we were allowed to turn it on. Nothing but good. old fresh air for us. (Illinois, with 80% humidity.)

I remember my dad and the time he first drove over 60 PMH. According to my mom, there was no need to ever go anywhere that fast.

The first Mikie D's and another, Henry's, opened up and sold a burger, fries, and a soft drink for $.25. My dad thought that he was in pig heaven with that idea. I thought it was great as we could go out to eat. :poke:

Panty hose. What a great invention. No more snags/runs like with the real silk hose. I was so happy.

Hair conditioner. I had very fine, naturally curly hair that tangled so badly. As a child I would always end up in tears when my mom combed out my locks. Now I could have hair like silk.

TV dinners/Pot pies. Who would have thought they would have ever made it? What a treat. One whole meal without all the dirty dishes.

Massed produced furniture. No more having to live with the same stuff that your folks/aunts/friends got rid of. No more painting more coats of paint to freshen them up. And they were made with 'real wood'.

Wall to wall carpeting. Not having to turn the rug around for better wear. You knew you had it made if you had wall to wall.

Water beds. Who would have ever thought that sleeping on a water bed could/would have been so neat?

Cable TV. What in the world would anyone need with 150 channels? Three or four was more than enough. You can only watch one at a time anyway.

Perma pressed clothes. Just wash and hang up. No ironing. W00t!

As you can see.......I could go on and on.

Chris P
02-02-2011, 10:05 PM
I remember a school mate being proud that they only paid $1000 for their VCR.

I thought CDs wouldn't catch on because they were too expensive. I thought cell phones were stupid because there is a phone everywhere you go. And I made a photocopy of the document before I sent my first fax.

Liz Kelly
02-02-2011, 10:11 PM
When CDs first came out, they were touted as being undestructable --a permanent medium.

I remember being told that you could drive your car back and forth over one and it would still play.

Tiger
02-02-2011, 10:17 PM
Sony Walkmen. I was in college when I first saw one. All of a sudden you could strap something to your waistband and cruise through the world and even learn to read lips. It opened up a whole new world of random danger. But, the thing held my sanity in on the subways of Tokyo.

Medievalist
02-02-2011, 10:30 PM
In 1969, the summer of my seventh year, I was in a special summer school program.

The local university brought in calculators--digital calculators--that were the size of a small microwave. They could do basic single-operation math.

They told us each one of them cost the same as a new VW Bug.

When the first iPod came out (October 23, 2001) the general public reaction from journalists was "No one would want that, and certainly not for that money ($399.00). It's stupid."

My generation 1 iPod still works. It holds 5 Gigs of data (about a 1000 songs) on a tiny hard drive. I bought it with the intent to use it in teaching, which worked fabulously well for me.

CheyElizabeth
02-02-2011, 10:46 PM
Medievalist - I remember thinking the IPOD was stupid and overpriced. Guess I was wrong about that one.

WriteKnight
02-02-2011, 10:52 PM
The Diamond Rio. The very FIRST Mp3 player. (1998)(Still have mine) They fought the legal battles, and Apple profited on their backs.

Medievalist
02-02-2011, 10:52 PM
Medievalist - I remember thinking the IPOD was stupid and overpriced. Guess I was wrong about that one.

Just a bit over a year ago, the iPad was first announced.

Remember all the jokes about the name, and people pointing out that it was going to be the death of Apple?

Or the first TVs. They were huge, and expensive, and had tiny screens. And you would invite the neighbors over for "TV Parties."

Medievalist
02-02-2011, 11:04 PM
The Diamond Rio. The very FIRST Mp3 player. (1998)(Still have mine) They fought the legal battles, and Apple profited on their backs.

Actually, it wasn't the first.

The first commercially available MP3 player was Saehan's MPMan. It was initially released in the Spring of 1998, in Asia (you could even buy it from vending machines in Tokyo) and then a couple months later, it was released in the U.S. as Eiger Labs MPMan F10/F20, two months before the Rio.

It was one of the problems in the RIAA's lawsuit against Rio that they completely ignored the prior devices, even those with prior patents that predated both the Rio and the Saehan device. But Rio was a U.S. company, and much easier to sue because of it, and the RIAA was relentless in their efforts to destroy Rio.

Their were patents for digital solid state audio playback devices that were filed in the 1980s--one of them came out of JPL research.

Medievalist
02-02-2011, 11:08 PM
Panty hose. What a great invention. No more snags/runs like with the real silk hose. I was so happy..

My mom was stationed oversees for 7 years at the tail-end of WW II.

When she came home, some of her stuff from overseas was stored at a relatives house, in one of those big steamer trunks (she came home via a ship) that you could use as a wardrobe, with a hanging rod and some drawers.

In the 1990s, she finally got the trunk back, still full.

She had brand-new silk stockings, which she bought in Europe or Asia to bring home for family members, that she had forgotten about.

They were still just as good as new, and gorgeous. Unfortunately, I'm about a foot too short to use them, so they went to a tall cousin.

whacko
02-02-2011, 11:15 PM
I was watching the Young One's recently, not Cliff's film but the comedy from 1982, and an everpresent tag in the episode was - "you've got a video?" (Meaning a VCR machine itself.)

And that was the reaction at the time. VCRs were A BIG THING.

Regards

Whacko

Drachen Jager
02-02-2011, 11:17 PM
PET is recyclable. I don't know for somewhere else but in my country there're people earn the living out of finding water bottle and sell it for recycling.

But, less than 30% is recycled. The point is, even if you recycle it is a complete waste. Bottled water is barely different from tap water, certainly from a health perspective there is no appreciable difference in most of the world. In England one major brand of bottled water was even banned because it had dangerously high levels of heavy metal.

Twenty two BILLION water bottles are thrown into landfills every year.

2.5 million plastic drink bottles are thrown in the trash every HOUR in the United States.

There is a patch of floating plastic in the Atlantic that is, depending on which report you listen to, either twice the size of Texas, or larger than the entire continental United States.

Marlys
02-02-2011, 11:28 PM
When MP3 players first came out, I remember asking my husband what good they were. He said they could store thousands of songs. My response: "Yeah? How many can you listen to at once?"

Phyllo
02-02-2011, 11:32 PM
I recall as a student that my father came home one night after work and explained that at his office they'd just brought in a fax machine. He explained what it did. I couldn't believe it and kept asking him to explain to me how a document could simply be "recreated" at the other end of a telephone line. I didn't think he was deceiving me, but it was beyond my brain to integrate this information --it seemed very Star Trek -- with what I knew of the physical world. Probably the same reaction people had been having for generations (telegraph, radio, TV), but without the Star Trek reference point.

Chris P
02-02-2011, 11:35 PM
I remember ads for the Kodak (?) photodisk and photodisk player around 1990 before digital cameras took off, where you could put your pictures on a CD and watch them on your TV. After about a year of ads, there was another ad where the guy nearly begged people to try it. I specifically remember "You might not be ready to try this yet" and they were offering something like a 90-day money-back deal.

Looking at your pics on TV never took off, but Kodak was sure ahead of everyone else with digital photo storage.

Maryn
02-03-2011, 12:29 AM
Looking at your pics on TV never took off, but Kodak was sure ahead of everyone else with digital photo storage.I live in Kodak territory, and their failure to anticipate the huge popularity of digital photography and the decline of film cost something like 38,000 jobs, about a third in my city. Man, why didn't they ask me? Eliminating developing is huge compared to looking at your pictures on the TV screen.

Maryn, who discovered a bunch of undeveloped film recently and isn't sure it's worth the bother and expense

mtrenteseau
02-03-2011, 12:50 AM
One thing that I'm reminded of reading this thread is how ridiculously expensive movies on VHS used to be. Even something awful, if it was by a major studio, would be $40.

Many years after competition and other market factors brought the price down, for some reason Gone With the Wind was still $79.95. It was so long it was on two tapes, but I just didn't get it.

I've never had an iPod. I've never had a Walkman. Regardless of how efficient or inexpensive or "cool" the technology is, I don't want to be walking around tuned out of the world around me.

Just remembered - when home computers first came out, one of the big things they pushed was that you could put it in your kitchen and store recipes on it. Because cleaning cake batter off a TV screen is slightly easier than cleaning it off a piece of paper...

Medievalist
02-03-2011, 01:03 AM
I remember ads for the Kodak (?) photodisk and photodisk player around 1990 before digital cameras took off, where you could put your pictures on a CD and watch them on your TV.

I was doing lots of image licensing for multimedia cd-roms, and high-end laser discs (remember those?) and would request Photo CD format images because the resolution was so very very high.

I bought my mom a RCA CD/Photo CD player.

I think my brother the photographer is using it now . . .

Chris P
02-03-2011, 01:14 AM
I live in Kodak territory, and their failure to anticipate the huge popularity of digital photography and the decline of film cost something like 38,000 jobs, about a third in my city. Man, why didn't they ask me? Eliminating developing is huge compared to looking at your pictures on the TV screen.

Maryn, who discovered a bunch of undeveloped film recently and isn't sure it's worth the bother and expense

For such an early start it's surprising they dropped the ball so thoroughly later on. Was the photo CD such a commercial flop at the time they gave up on digital all the way?

thothguard51
02-03-2011, 01:55 AM
Lots of things I remember as a first, and many of them have already been mentioned. While dishwashers, microwaves, computers and even the Internet were cool, the thing that still strikes me as the most awesome invention is the Space Shuttle.

I remember watching the Enterprise flying on the back of a 747 and thought how magnificent both aircraft were. Then seeing the first shuttle launch and I remember holding my breath as it did a roll over, (which I did not know was planned).

To this day I still get goose bumps every time I see a shuttle launch because it is one of the most complicated machines man has ever invented.

I also am angry with the direction the space program is heading... We are taking giant steps backwards...

Tiger
02-03-2011, 01:59 AM
I live in Kodak territory, and their failure to anticipate the huge popularity of digital photography and the decline of film cost something like 38,000 jobs, about a third in my city. Man, why didn't they ask me? Eliminating developing is huge compared to looking at your pictures on the TV screen.

Maryn, who discovered a bunch of undeveloped film recently and isn't sure it's worth the bother and expense

Film lover here. The wife and I often go cruising with the venerable Canon EF and the thoroughly modern F-1N. If I had enough scratch, I'd get a Hasselblad (with a film back). I hope that the day that film disappears completely won't come any time soon.

mattias
02-03-2011, 02:14 AM
I am probably alone on this one, but I remember the first time I saw a computerized telescope. "I can find the galaxies myself!" was my reaction then and it still is. It is good to have if you are a photographer though.

The Internet is probably the most important new technology I have experienced. I remember the first web page I ever saw. It was the White House and it turned out that Bill Clinton had a cat called Socks.

The reaction I remember most was all the business people could do without having much knowledge. Today web design is a mature business, back then people who "knew HTML" could make decent money on nothing but HTML.

debirlfan
02-03-2011, 04:29 AM
Ah, you're making me feel old...

I remember our first microwave. My father and I built it from a kit (anyone remember a company called Heathkit?) I think I was 13 at the time, which would make it around 1973 - I think we were the first people around to have one. My mother's response was "What am I going to do with THAT? You just want to build it." (My father built almost everything the company made - TVs, radios, etc.) Now she can't get along without one.

BTW, I get my water out of the faucet - and I still refuse to own a cell phone. :)

blackrose602
02-03-2011, 04:51 AM
This thread brings back a lot of memories, and I was born in the mid-70s!

CDs: We got our first CD player in 1985. My parents were so blown away by the sound quality that they decided to take a CD to the white elephant gift exchange that Christmas. Nobody wanted it, because no one in our entire extended family had a CD player yet!

Computers: We got a Timex Sinclair in 1981. My dad did his engineering homework on it, and took it class and set it up to show the professor. I learned to play chess on it. The thing was so slow, I would make my move, go to school all day, and come home just as it made its move. But it was so cool! Traded up through a VIC-20, Commodore 64 and Commodore 128. Didn't get our first PC until 1992. We also bought two games: Myst and the Seventh Guest. We immediately had to go invest in another 4 MB RAM, because the 4 that the PC came with weren't enough.

Internet: I first went online at my friend's house during a 1989 sleepover. She had Compuserve, and we stayed up all night playing the British Legends MMORPG. Her dad flipped when he got the Internet bill for that night....somewhere north of $300!! We got AOL at home in 1995. I was working at Innoventions at Epcot then, where we showcased all the latest technology, but only a couple of us had internet. A work friend sent me a 30 second AVI clip from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It took me several hours and a bunch of technical workarounds to download it, but I thought it was the greatest thing ever!!

VCR: I remember the VHS-Betamax wars, and renting not only videotapes but video players at the grocery store. After VHS won the war, my parents bought our first VCR. But tapes were so expensive we mostly rented or recorded stuff from TV. I got a copy of Rocky Horror for the 15th anniversary in 1990. It cost $150!! And it got stolen!! My parents actually replaced it for me, for another $150.

Cell phones: My mom came home one day in 1996 and announced that she needed a cell phone. She had a long commute, and had a miserable time trying to get to a phone when her car broke down that day. So my dad, who always swore cell phones were stupid, finally gave in. She became the proud owner of a Motorola StarTac, the first clamshell phone. Dad refused to get one for another five years, but let me buy one on Mom's account in 2000. The biggest problem then was the calling area division. Dad worked in Orlando and we lived 40 minutes away. Our cell calling area included Tampa, 40 minutes in the other direction. But Orlando was long distance, and long distance cell calls were horribly expensive. So if he had a cell phone, Dad wouldn't really have been able to call us anyway.

Portable television: My parents bought me a cheap portable black and white TV when I was little, because I always wanted to watch Silver Spoons and Punky Brewster, but we normally visited family on Sunday nights. So I'd watch that thing in the car...pretty revolutionary for 1985!!

Ms Hollands
02-03-2011, 04:33 PM
I remember video hire shops started popping up next to takeaways in Melbourne (Australia).

I remember dad putting lambs brains (ew) in the microwave and not having a clue how long to put them in for. They exploded all over the place and he was totally surprised! No clue how fast they were compared with an oven.

Car phones were envisaged to be in every car within five years or something. Hah!

Minidisc players were The Next Big Thing after CD walkmans and we're going to become the new CD...

Snowboards were seen as an item to ruin ski resorts, and their users were lawless cowboys. I remember other skiers glaring at me when I went up a t-bar with a snowboarder (boyfriend at the time no less - the HORROR).

Voice-activated word processing software were going to mean the end of 'secretaries' worldwide, as bosses dictated their own letters directly to the computer ("Dire Mary, I'm writing tattoo you four an umber of raisins" etc.).

Chris P
02-03-2011, 04:38 PM
I remember the first time I heard about the Internet. It would have been about 1986, and the librarian at my school said his computer called the FBI's computer. My first thought was "Did they know?!? Did you get in trouble?" He said it was perfectly fine, and the FBI expects that. They showed him pictures of the 10 Most Wanted and if he had the right kind of printer he could print the pictures. I thought "Gee, that's cute, but why not just write them a letter and have them send you the pictures?"

LBlankenship
02-03-2011, 05:24 PM
My parents are nerds, and started buying home computers in the early 80s. I remember we used to leave it running overnight so it could calculate and print a Mandelbrot set. Wow!

...you can get screen savers that'll do that, now.

Medievalist
02-03-2011, 10:35 PM
My parents are nerds, and started buying home computers in the early 80s. I remember we used to leave it running overnight so it could calculate and print a Mandelbrot set. Wow!

...you can get screen savers that'll do that, now.

Heck, Google does it now (http://juliamap.googlelabs.com/#ll=0,0&z=0&p=ffffff,ffffff,ffffff,ffffff,ff0000,ffff00,ffff00 ,ff00,ff&f=mandelbrot), sort of.

the bunny hugger
02-03-2011, 11:29 PM
I
- When the handicapped stalls were first put into public restrooms, I remember there being lines but that stall staying empty. People didn't know you could use it.

Arguably, you shouldn't. Some advocates say this should be left for disabled users because otherwise they have to queue longer than anyone else.

There is the old 'broke the cup holder' effect with floppy drives. I am told that actually did happen.

Medievalist
02-03-2011, 11:39 PM
There is the old 'broke the cup holder' effect with floppy drives. I am told that actually did happen.

The CD tray, when they used to slide out.

And I have personally dealt with a new Windows 3.x user who called to tell me her "foot pedal" didn't work.

It was a mouse.

Hallen
02-04-2011, 01:30 AM
I remember watching the first moon landing on TV. My dad actually took a picture of the TV screen as Niel Armstrong stepped down. It was that big of a deal.

I remember being very excited about it, but the true depth of what it meant was lost on me until years later. I was so young that I expected that it would work and they'd come back and that people did this kind of amazing thing pretty regularly. In other words, it wasn't fully real to me in one way, and in another, it was almost normal.

The first computers I worked with were actually teletype machines. The modem we used had to have the telephone handset (from a rotary dial phone) inserted into it. All the responses from the computer (a UNIX box at the telephone company) were typed out on the teletype. We stored programs on long, ticker-tape reels. We even had a punch card reader. The computer advancements have been one amazing thing after another. It's hard to express how they affect people now because it's pretty normal. Like me as a child watching the moon landing, it was cool, but didn't seem like that big of a deal.

Eric joining Maryn in the old bucket.

the bunny hugger
02-04-2011, 01:33 AM
I will admit to trying to play the 'other side' of a music CD.

maggi90w1
02-04-2011, 06:56 PM
Good God, this thread is hilarious...

Buffysquirrel
02-04-2011, 08:48 PM
I remember looking around in my Maths O Level exam and everyone in the room had a calculator except me. I didn't get one because I didn't like Maths. No, really! Why should I spend money on a subject I hated and wasn't any good at? I used to write the times tables on the edges of the question paper instead.

Too frugal for my own good, sometimes.

Stewart
02-04-2011, 10:03 PM
This is true (about plastic water bottles). The industry self-regulates, and there is no proven health benefit to "their" water over good municipal drinking water. Notably, PETE (polyester, or polyethylene terephthalate) bottles leach chemicals (thalates) that are implicated in numerous health studies. One could easily argue that plastic-bottled water is the least reliable form of drinking water, unless no other source of good water is available. The bottle making industry itself generates considerable pollutants during manufacture, as well as during the process of recycling the plastic (what little is recovered). It's an expensive lose-lose scenario for the consumer as well as the environment, one of those inventions that benefit few except the manufacturers.
A PP (polypropylene) or PE (polyethylene, i.e., frisbee plastic) bottle would be much safer. Or, of course, glass.
An interesting irony: PET is transparent to UV, and so in tropical latitudes or at high altitudes can be used to sterilize water. Fill the bottle with pathogen-contaminated water and leave it out in the sun for 4-6 hours and it will become drinkable.

lexxi
02-05-2011, 04:34 AM
I recall as a student that my father came home one night after work and explained that at his office they'd just brought in a fax machine. He explained what it did. I couldn't believe it and kept asking him to explain to me how a document could simply be "recreated" at the other end of a telephone line. I didn't think he was deceiving me, but it was beyond my brain to integrate this information

One day in the mid-1980s, I was visiting my father and telling my 4-year-old half-brother a story about Santa Claus's elves. Brother kept asking for details and seemed to perceive what I was telling him to be nonfiction.

Then the doorbell rang. It was a delivery man delivering a fax machine for my father's home office.

I told my brother that Dad just got a machine that could send pictures over the telephone. No way! That, he was sure, must be fiction.

SirOtter
02-05-2011, 11:55 AM
The earliest invention I can recall being excited about was the transistor radio. My dad got one that I listened to while I was home with the mumps in fourth grade, which would be about 1967 or 1968. We got our first color TV about then. Push-button phones showed up a few years later; I miss rotary phones, and wouldn't have a cell phone for anything.

What a lot of folks forget about cable TV was that its original purpose was to bring network broadcasting out to the countryside and small towns too far from the nearest big city to get decent reception. My grandmother in Northern Alabama got it a good ten or twelve years before Nashville did. We had four (or sometimes five) channels in Nashville; my grandmother got ten! Wow!

jeseymour
02-05-2011, 07:13 PM
I live in Kodak territory, and their failure to anticipate the huge popularity of digital photography and the decline of film cost something like 38,000 jobs, about a third in my city. Man, why didn't they ask me? Eliminating developing is huge compared to looking at your pictures on the TV screen.

Maryn, who discovered a bunch of undeveloped film recently and isn't sure it's worth the bother and expense

Never mind Kodak, I drive by the abandoned Polaroid headquarters once in a while and just keep shaking my head. I loved my Polaroid cameras. I remember how cool it was to take a picture and have it ready to look at in under a minute. No computer or printer needed.

We were the proud owners of an early home video game system. I don't remember the brand, but it came with a shooting game, a pong game and maybe one other game? Then we got an Intellivison, and I played with that until we wore out the controllers. It was so cool, and when I describe it my kids laugh at me. Of course, when we visit Funspot, http://www.funspotnh.com/ I get high scores on BurgerTime and Asteroids. :tongue

jeseymour
02-05-2011, 07:21 PM
I should note that my dad worked with the guy who invented the first video game. Pong. For those of you too young to remember it, it was basically a sort of tennis/hockey kind of thing, the ball bounced back and forth and each player had a control for a paddle. The object was to knock the ball past the other player's paddle. I also remember visiting my dad's work (he works for a major defense contractor) and seeing the computers. They took up the whole room, they had giant open reel tapes, and you could play chess with them. My dad actually let us play Lander on one.

Wonder if I'm as old as Maryn? ;)

BardSkye
02-06-2011, 07:19 AM
I'll have to join Maryn, dolores haze and Eric on the porch rocking chairs.

Pantyhose: Wow. The school uniform was skirts and nylons for girls and those nylons were a real expense until I switched from playing French Horn to flute. (The bell of the horn case snagged my nylons every time I carried it.) And you didn't need garters to keep them up!

Music synthesizer: My school saw one of the very first breadboarded synthesizers presented at Place Ville Marie in Montreal. I thought it was fascinating.

Saturn rockets/space program: That looked initially like we'd be living in Buck Rogers' world pretty quick and I couldn't wait to grow up and go visit the planets and asteroids. I'd still like to, but it ain't looking good.

My first job was running a telex machine - a kind of updated teletype. Occasionally I'd be asked to contact someone in Germany or Japan with a question. It was pretty thrilling to type an inquiry and suddenly have an answer typing out on the screen from halfway around the world. I also used an old Series 1 IBM computer and had to call the techs at the head office at least once a week to compress the files so we had enough storage.

Beta VCRs: Imagine! You could watch a movie without having to go out to a theatre! What a fabulous idea.

Mobile/cell phones: Our local phone company used the advertising blurb "Never be out of touch again." My first reaction was, "What an appalling idea." I haven't changed my mind on that. Don't own a cell, don't want one.

Bottled water? Nope. Silly idea. Never touch the stuff unless it's been boiled and flavoured with tea then served hot.

Medievalist
02-06-2011, 07:46 AM
I will admit to trying to play the 'other side' of a music CD.

The first CD I listened to in its entirety was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Full Moon Rising.

At the beginning of Track six Petty says "Hello, CD listeners. We've come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette, or records, will have to stand up, or sit down, and turn over the record. Or tape. In fairness to those listeners, we'll now take a few seconds before we begin side two. Thank you. Here's side two."

There's roosters in the background . . .

cbenoi1
02-06-2011, 07:57 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSHeKfZG7c

-cb

Stlight
02-06-2011, 07:57 AM
I remember Polaroid photos being kinda neat with the slow from blank to picture, but I also remember that after a few or ten years the pictures disappeared.

Xelebes
02-06-2011, 09:19 AM
I remember getting the internet in 1993 on the Freeweb service. I didn't ever find anything useful and so remained pretty much hapless on the internet until computer classes in grade 7 in 1997.

I remember the first CD we got: Rankin Family back in 1993. Still a very good album if anyone ever wants to dig into some Canadiana. Don't remember my reaction at first but I remember being told to not touch the surface of you would scratch it.

The first video game console I was exposed to was the NES in 1990. Memory is vague on reactions but I remember the blowing on the cartridges and the games you'd try to play when the game was half-blown.

First exposure to the computer was in 1989. Saw my dad have fun playing a primitive flight simulator. Never saw that computer again as I think my dad had to return it to the office or something.

mp3 Players and Mini-Discs- I thought they were neat but too small. And they kept getting smaller. :(

Cell phones - I'm still fearful of them and do not know how to use them. Mind you, I'm pretty helpless on a normal phone so. . .

Digital turntables - the original ones were awful for DJs and there was a great push-back against them in the period 2002-2006. But they eventually got it right and it became easy to use. The turntablists soon became Live-tinkerers. Digital turntables are now club standards and still don't do that great job on scratching.

benbradley
02-06-2011, 10:50 AM
I recall reading EE times circa 1997-1999 about many things. There were several articles on the emerging MP3 audio file format and its growing popularity - it had 90 percent of the sound quality of CD, but used only 10 percent the storage of uncompressed audio, so song files could be downloaded from the Internet over dialup modems (then up to a blazing 56k bits per second) in a reasonable time. The record labels knew about it and were concerned about the ease of copyright infringement.

Circa 1998 I finally got mp3 plaiying software (Winamp) and heard my first MP3, "Cows With Guns" by Dana Lyons. It sounded as perfect as a CD to me. Later I got my own encoding software, heard what different bit rates sounded like, especially lower rates with their wishy-washy underwater sound, and after hearing all that I could detect the same artifacts in "regular" 128k mp3's. But it seems most people still think they sound exactly like CD's.

EE Times also covered the Diamond Rio and the RIAA suit. I thought about getting the Rio thing, as it could be a collector's item. Few know what it is nowadays, but I recall hearing about four or five years ago that Apple had sold 100 million iPods.

Speaking of turntables, Technics has in recent months announced it's stopping manufacture of the SL-1200 turntable (thing that plays LP records), which became the "standard" disco DJ turntable back in the late 1970's, mostly because it came up to speed from a full stop faster than just about any other turntable. It has continued to be popular among "turntablists" to this day.

jeseymour
02-06-2011, 06:42 PM
I remember Polaroid photos being kinda neat with the slow from blank to picture, but I also remember that after a few or ten years the pictures disappeared.

I have albums and albums of Polaroids, they haven't disappeared. The oldest are from the late 70s, maybe the earlier technology was different?

veinglory
02-06-2011, 10:11 PM
Never mind Kodak, I drive by the abandoned Polaroid headquarters once in a while and just keep shaking my head. I loved my Polaroid cameras. I remember how cool it was to take a picture and have it ready to look at in under a minute. No computer or printer needed.

You can still buy film for polaroid cameras from "the Impossible project" online.

DrZoidberg
02-07-2011, 01:11 AM
There's still people who believe microwaves cause cancer. And people who believe cell phones do it too

Medievalist
02-07-2011, 01:23 AM
I have albums and albums of Polaroids, they haven't disappeared. The oldest are from the late 70s, maybe the earlier technology was different?

Like all photographs, negatives, and slides, exposure to light and chemicals will bleach them.

Elias Graves
02-07-2011, 07:58 PM
The first high tech toy I remember being especially impressed with was the digital calculator. My parents bought one in the mid 70s, I guess. If I recall, they paid like $75 for the thing. I was amazed. Then we figured out you could put 7734 on it an look at it upside down. :)

The microwave was huge when it came out. Mom warned me not to stand too close.

Bought my first CD player at cost ($360) in 1986. Went to Jack's Records and tapes and he had like 4 CDs. I bought Band On The Run. Good stuff.

My father in law had a Commodore 64 computer. He had to write all his own programs.

EG

RJK
02-08-2011, 01:13 AM
I remember telling my sister-in-law that the molecules in the baked potato she was eating were still vibrating from the microwave oven. That's why it was still hot.
She dropped her fork and asked, "Are we eating microwaves?"

I also remember the Texas Instruments desk electronic calculator my brother bought in 1975, from Radio Shack. It cost $79.95 and could add, subtract, multiply and divide instantly. It was amazing.

In the late-eighties, my wife was touring Mexico and traded her $2 credit card sized, solar-powered calculator for about $20 worth of clothes.

blackrose602
02-08-2011, 01:51 AM
Does anybody remember the books of websites? It was around the time we got our first PC, so it would have been 1994-1995ish. My dad came home from the local bookstore with a thick paperback book filled with URLs, all neatly divided into categories. There was a "how to use the internet" chapter at the beginning. I think there were a few different books published during that era.

Kathie Freeman
02-08-2011, 08:12 PM
When I first heard about microwave ovens my reaction was "when can I get one?". When we finally did, the first thing my husband did (I wasn't hone at the time) was try to cook a whole egg in a Pyrex dish. The oven survived. The egg and dish - not so much. And I do use it for actual cooking, not just reheating.

Tiger
02-08-2011, 09:45 PM
I should note that my dad worked with the guy who invented the first video game. Pong. For those of you too young to remember it, it was basically a sort of tennis/hockey kind of thing, the ball bounced back and forth and each player had a control for a paddle. The object was to knock the ball past the other player's paddle. I also remember visiting my dad's work (he works for a major defense contractor) and seeing the computers. They took up the whole room, they had giant open reel tapes, and you could play chess with them. My dad actually let us play Lander on one.

Wonder if I'm as old as Maryn? ;)

Actually, I thought it was more of a ping pong thing :). It started showing up in pizza parlors and places like that to long lines of gamers wearing flaired jeans or Farrah dos. There was a game called, Odyssey that people could by for their TVs at home--I'm not sure which one came first. I still remember the music: "let's you and me play ODYSSEY..."

benbradley
02-08-2011, 11:09 PM
Does anybody remember the books of websites? It was around the time we got our first PC, so it would have been 1994-1995ish. My dad came home from the local bookstore with a thick paperback book filled with URLs, all neatly divided into categories. There was a "how to use the internet" chapter at the beginning. I think there were a few different books published during that era.
Yes, I remember one called the "Internet Yellow Pages." Those things came and went as fast as the Elcassette, which I thought was really neat and I was looking forward to it.

And there was "AOL for Dummies." Is there a "Facebook for Dummies?"