Throwback Thursday: ’70s State of the Art Technology

It’s Throwback Thursday here at Our Space, and guess what, I am writing about technology. Again. How does this happen? It seems statistically unlikely that the two times in a month that I post, I am allotted the same topic. It’s like a cruel joke.

Nevertheless, let me start by confessing that I have not succumbed to the iOS upgrade pressure. That’s right. I didn’t have to read Will’s review to know issues would need to be resolved before I subject myself to this unnecessary change. I get it! Change is good! Change is essential for growth and advancement as individuals and as a society. I, for one though, cannot allow a product’s need to be more competitive and sell more units cause me the inevitable stress that ALL change brings.

I know, I know– my apps will stop working, blah blah blah. I will deal with that when the time comes. But at the moment, my battery is not being drained, my music is safe and I have my familiar screens.  No cartoonish icons, no early glitches to contend with.

Having said that, I thought it might be fun to visit some of the technological advancements that made center stage when I was growing up. Here are a few of the inventions that impacted my early life.

Electric Car Windows

Though available as early as the 1940’s, it was not a standard feature (except in high-end vehicles) for some time. My first exposure was in our classic 1976 Buick Electra. Based on how my kids play with the window in my car, the feature has never lost its novelty.

VCR / Videocassette

Our Space Videos Technology

Invented in 1971, the videocassette absolutely revolutionized the way we were entertained. Prior to its release to the public, VHS technology was used solely in the entertainment industry as the new and reliable means for duplication and distribution of material. This big clunky “cassette” was the prelude to Laser Discs, DVDs, Blu Rays and the like. Without the VHS’s humble beginnings, there would be no Blockbuster (Who?), NetFlix and – of course – the convenient DVR options available so that we can be oh so conveniently entertained.

Our Space Telephone Operators 1952 TechnologyPush Button Phones

I personally would like to find a rotary phone simply because I like the sound that they make as they rotate. Do you know what that sounds like? Probably not. These days, with our instant communication, it is hard to believe that before the antiquated rotary phone the only other means of connecting across the miles was through switchboards – before that, the telegraph and earlier still, The Pony Express which delivered, if you can imagine, hand written letters. Gasp! You should try writing one sometime. It really is a lost art.

Microwave Ovens

Finally, I must tell you of the most important invention of my early life. Though the technology existed twenty years prior, it was very expensive (as new technology typically is). It wasn’t until 1976 that the microwave reached the majority of American homes with 60% owning one. As a latch key kid of a single father, the microwave may have been the only thing that allowed us to eat in those years. I am happy to say that short of convection ovens – and the decrease in size of microwaves – there has not been a newer technology that has taken the place of this classic invention.

I was going to talk about how special effects in movies was cutting edge in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but I have run out of my word count and time… Also, my kids think it is ridiculous to consider Close Encounters of the Third Kind as special effects. Just because they can create something similar, maybe better, through iMovie – does not discount where it all began.

Change does not negate the brilliance of the original idea. Right? All great things evolve from somewhere. Right?

So, for a little while longer, I am going to stick with the great and original idea of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6. I am going to relish in the history of the technology – remember the humble beginnings.

Eventually, I will cope and adapt with the reality of this ever-changing technological landscape. I will go the way of the crowd and install the update. I will adjust to the stress of different screens and confusion of not knowing how the damn thing works anymore.

Until then, I will enjoy my old-fashioned, outdated system, which still – like a rotary phone – works perfectly well.

Cover Photo Source: Alexandru Nika
Photo Source 1: Rob Pearce /© rcp:251010:a0028 via Flickr
Photo Source 2: MBisanz via Wikimedia Commons  

 Jennifer is Director of Content & Ideation at SJG. I am convinced that every human being is innately creative – Picasso said the key is to remain childlike within the body of a responsible adult, or something along those lines. As the oldest member of this opinionated clan, I feel responsible to share a different perspective. Engage me – I love a good debate!