Monday, 20 February 2012

Does my ASUS look big in this?

This post is being written using what my forebearers would have called 'new-fangled-technology'.


Now I'm all for technology, new-fangled or otherwise, so long as it educates, informs or makes a life slightly simpler. The modern microwave, the high definition televisions and boil-in-the-bag-rice being prime examples.
On my last day at school I remember looking back over my shoulder as I left the 6th Form Portacabin (every expense spared in 1980) as four burly men carried a big square metallicy-plastic thing each into our design technology building. Even the words Design and Technology, to me, meant absolutely nothing, let alone give me any clue as to what those bulky machines were going to be used for.

Although come the following September my brother two years my junior became insufferable in his delight at having a new addition to his timetable called 'Computer Studies'.  Ha, I thought, that'll probably be just the same as woodwork but with more metallic bits.  And my parents were convinced it'd never catch on.  New fangled nonsense.  Wasting public funds. Flippin' comprehensives. That sort of thing.
And for the first year he did this weird-sounding course, all he seemed to do was bring back little strips of paper with patterns of holes punched through them and binary numbers written in scrawly biro underneath.
Dullsville or what?
He dropped the subject as soon as he could and took up double skive and extra curricular smoking-related activities.

I'd been using a Petite typewriter for a couple of years at home before I found a job in an office, so of course I had the necessary 'typing experience' when I landed the prestigious role of  Q.A Technician at our local Texas Instruments.  It was like walking onto the set of Space 1999.  Not only did everyone have  badges with their names, faces and codes on them, these 'keys' were also used to enter corridors and areas that I only had the necessary clearance for once a month.  And we'll have no sniggering about the Menses Room, please.
Oh yes, here, on the last Friday of every month I was allowed, permitted, cleared even, to sit at a screen (like a telly - a TELLY!) and tap numbers out on a keyboard and watch them come up in neon green on the screen - and then type in a name and a code at the top and then press a key and it would be sent halfway across the world.  Oh, VDU's where did you go? 
And the day TI started selling the first calculator (a snip at £49.50) was the day I thought I'd died and gone to heaven - not that I really needed one now that I wasn't at school anymore and crying over algorithms and friggin' fractions, but what they hey, I'd have one anyway.
The dawning of a new generation - and I was proud to be part of it.


So I've never been shy of  modern technology.  I remember typewriters being manual, then golf-balled and daisy-wheeled - a different daisy-wheel for itallic font!  Does anyone else recall the machines where one line of text came up on a little screen atop the keyboard and then printed the line out mad-fast when you pressed the 'Return' button? And the first time I was given a proper full-sized screen, keyboard, floppy disk drive and laser printer was the day I could have stayed at work 24 hours without pay.  I loved it.  I lapped it all up, this new fangled stuff that was happening in the world.


And so to celebrate half a century on earth, I have been given what I can only describe as something beautiful and wondrous with which I can just about do anything.  Write, read, mail, listen to music, video-call my Australian family, you name it... well, okay then, it won't reheat a chilly brew but that's a minor consideration and one that I'm perfectly willing to overlook.

Besides which, technology and me and a cup of tea.....?  You just don't want to know.



11 comments:

Fionnuala said...

THAT is a thing of beauty and where you shall write a best seller. I demand it x

Sandra Davies said...

My ASUS says 'hi' to yours, and thanks for a thoroughly entertaining post.

JO said...

I remember cardboard computer cards, punched with mysterious little oblongs, and the machine itself filling a whole room!

Makes me wonder what the world will be like when my grandchildren are over 60 ...

Gillian McDade said...

Technology excites me! Who knows what the future will hold for books and writing.

I usually lose my temper with my printer and have been known to kick it in an attempt to make it spew some paper!

Debs Riccio said...

Doubt I'll write a bestseller on it, Fi, the keys are 'too flat' for this old school gal, but thanks for the encouraging vibes!
Sandra, my ASUS says 'hi' back - they've great manners these machines, don't they?
Jo, I remember whole rooms full of computery type things too - the heat and the hum that emanated from those areas!
Gillian, I get very excited too - I don't think I'd be as excited without an Esc or Undo button though! :)

Derek said...

If you put it up on the shelf, for a break, does this qualify as a High-ASUS? (I'm still available for greetings cards and parties...)

Marilyn said...

There you go again! I had a Petite typewriter. I loved it so much. And I remember all those typewriters, I started my career (my college training in fact) on an Imperial 66. I remember the daisy wheels and the golf balls and the frustration when the ribbon ran out and I could never replace it properly.Then - ribbons in cassettes! Exciting. I would never go back to those days though, I love this new fangled stuff.

Debs Riccio said...

Derek - boom boom!
Marilyn, I'm sure I must've looked like a deranged madwoman the day I was given my first correctable tape for my OEM Screentyper - what an invention! And don't tell anyone but my blondest moment came when I automatically started to dot some Tippex on the first screen I had .... what?

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Debs! And oh yes, all these are imprinted in my memory too. I remember working as a typist in the BBC newsroom back in the early eighties when half the room were still using manual typewriters. We were often still typing breaking stories when the news was on air, on multiple roneo copies and frantically (in my case) daubed with Tippex before the script was torn out of my hands to be run to the studio... happy days.
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

Susie, I never EVER imagined I'd be living through some proper 'good old days' of my own when I was younger! My daughter even refers to my youth as the 'olden days' - FFS!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

I know! We Are History. :0
Though I'm more historical than you.
Susiex