From the Dark Ages

This morning Roo asked me if I voted when I turned 18. I was actually a little embarrassed to say no.

“So, when you were 20, you voted, right?”

“Um…, well, no.”

“Why not?”  He asked.

“Well, I didn’t feel like I knew enough about politics to make an informed decision.”

“Why didn’t you just google the information?”

I couldn’t help it. I started laughing.  Buzzard, quick as anything, caught on.

“Mom, they had computers when you were in your twenties.”

“Well, yes, they had computers.  But they were so big, they took up a whole room.  People didn’t have personal computers.”

“You could’ve used the library’s computer.  They always have computers,” Roo says, as though this was the most obvious of next moves.

“Actually, libraries did not have the kind of computers you think of as computers,” I say, marveling at how far technology has come.  “And the kind of computers people eventually had in the very beginning did not function like what you know now.  You actually had to know a little about computer programming.  They weren’t very user friendly.”  There is dead silence while they absorb this.  “It was actually easier to just use a typewriter,” I added, watching their extraordinary expressions.  I pressed on.  “There wasn’t even an internet, back then.  People used computers for programs they wanted to run, and word processing.  But not as a source for gathering information.”

They both looked dumbfounded and stumped.  I had actually rendered them speechless with this amazing information.  We have been so submersed in the information age, that I had actually forgotten what it was like before the age of computers.  The tedium of researching information through mountains of encyclopedia’s, newspapers and other forms of print.  Now everything is at the touch of a button.  Just like a dial telephone, they will never know what that is like.  And while I celebrate technology, and appreciate it’s handiness and efficiency, the nostalgic part of me kinda misses the dinosaurs sometimes.

As a Post Script to this blog, there is an interesting article here on the developement of the internet and the World Wide Web, which incidentally was introduced August 6, 1991.  The article is short, and an easy read.

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