1. Collecting the free America Online (AOL) CD's so you could get onto the internet. Not all that long ago, accessing the internet was pretty difficult. Students had to use a computer lab at school and many adults only had access to computers at the public library. if we did have internet at home, it was expensive! The free hours of internet access those CD's from AOL gave us was huge. We hoarded them like a miser hoards gold.
2. The pain of waiting for dial-up internet. In the early days of the internet, there was no such thing as high-speed. Desktop computers were large and clunky. When we did want to get online, we'd turn on the computer, select whichever internet provider we had, then walk away to make ourselves a cup of coffee or do the dishes. Yes, it took that long to get online. Dial-up was slow and unreliable. At peak usage times, it could be impossible to secure access. So, we learned to adjust our schedules and do our research late at night or very early in the morning when fewer people were online.
3. The aforementioned floppy disc. Early on, there was no such thing as CDs or flash drives. We saved our work onto large, 3 1/2 by 5" soft, floppy discs. There was no cloud. back then so if you lost your floppy, you were out of luck; all your hard work was just gone. Some documents were too big to put on one floppy and required multiple disks. And don't forget to label them so you know which ones go first.
But all the old technology wasn't limited to just computers!
4. Phones used to look, well, different. Telephones, as kids know them today, didn't exist until the mid-to-late 1980's. Prior to that, phones were large, tethered to the wall by a cord, had a rotary dial, and a telephone operator that you called if you needed assistance with placing your call...or if you wanted someone's phone number. Sure, they had telephone directories back then...Those were large books that had the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone who lived in your area. But if you needed a number for someone outside that area, you called the operator and asked for directory assistance. Long-distance was expensive until some companies began offering free or discounted rates after 7 pm weeknights and on the weekends. So that;s when we called home to tell mom we made it to our destination and were fine.
5. Maps for navigation. For centuries, humans relied on paper maps to help them find their way around. Whether you were traveling to the next town or clear across the country, you got out your well-worn map, carefully unfolded it and "mapped" out the best way to reach your destination. There was no GPS and if you didn't have a map or left it at home, you stopped...a lot...to ask directions. And you actually got help. Nowadays, if you ask for directions, you're apt to get a response similar to "I don't know" or "pull it up on your GPS.
6. When the weekend finally rolled around, we'd relax by watching a movie. No, we didn't stream it onto our computer or TV. Roku didn't exist. So, how did folks in the "dark ages" get a movie to watch? They'd get in their car and drive to the store and rent it. Movie rental stores were a big business for a lot of years. When you got to the store, there was a good chance your chosen movie would be out-of-stock. The three or four copies of the film would be already checked out by others. Then the hunt began for a substitute film...you never knew if the comedy, drama, sci-fi, thriller or what-have-you was going to be any good until you got it home and watched it. It was kind of a crapshoot. We weren't able to pull out our smartphone and "Google" a review. And the movie rental store charged a fee if we didn't rewind the movie.
There are loads of bad things we can say about technology but, really, how many of you would want to go back to the "good ol' days?" Not me! I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. If your children already think you're SO OLD, share this with them. They'll quickly think you're positively prehistoric! See you tomorrow.