Tag Archives: gadgets

Four Channels and Pong

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My son asked me the other day if we had TV when I was little.  All I could think was “how old do you think I am?”, but then I remembered how old I thought my parents were when they were my age.  So I knew the answer already and decided it best not to ask that question out loud.  My response to him instead was “Yes, we had TV.  But we didn’t have VCRs”.  His reply?  “What’s that?”  [insert eye roll here] I may as well have asked how old he thought I was.  Sheesh.

It kind of blows my mind to think that so many things have been invented since I was a kid.  When I was my son’s age we didn’t have cable TV, VCRs, or microwaves much less DVDs/BluRays, iPods, and tablets.  Of course, technology has come so far in the last 14 years that there’s already things my kids can say weren’t around when they were ‘kids’.

Here’s a comparison between technology when I was a kid and technology my kids have now:

Me- I was the remote control and only had 4 channels to choose from, sometimes 5 if I could get the rabbit ears just right and held my mouth just so.

My kids- can flip through NetFlix and watch whatever they want whenever they want.  The only problem they may have is if the internet goes out…or restriction

Me- decide to watch movie, get in car, go to video store,  rent  VCR, lug VCR home, hook it up, put in movie, rewind movie because the previous viewer wasn’t kind, return movie because tape was broken and wouldn’t play, see step one

My kids- decide to watch movie, turn on NetFlix.  OR Pop in DVD or BluRay.  Enjoy high definition presentation, bonus features and skip to favorite part of the movie.  No need to be kind or rewind; can even be enjoyed in the car

Me- record songs from radio onto a cassette,  have to wait another three hours to try again because the DJ didn’t stop talking in time and ruined the beginning of the song; use pencil to turn the cog in the cassette to un-jumble the tape so it would work again.

My kids- plug iPod into computer, two clicks later iPod is full of music.

And this is just the tip of the ice berg.  Don’t even get me started on video games!!  I started off with Pong.  Two little lines and a dot going back and forth.  Now we have two Kinects in our house that you control games full of extremely realistic graphics with your body instead of a hand held controller.   That is crazy. And so cool!  Then there are computers.   I didn’t get my first computer until right after my first child was born.  And that was only 14 years ago!  And it was a huge desk top.  Even the desk tops are super small and compact now and my kids have iPads instead of textbooks at school.

It’s nice to think back to how simple things used to be.  And you know what, we all survived it.  Sometimes I even wish we could go back to those simple times of 4 TV stations and Pong.  But I have to admit, I love technology [and I sure was happy when the Atari 2600 and 5200 came along].  I seriously would not know what to do if I didn’t have my cell phone!  Or the Internet.  Or my iPod.   I don’t think the world would know what to do without technology now that we’ve had it.  It certainly has made things much easier.  And faster.  Technology has made the world impatient though. Everything is at your fingertips.  You can Google anything, anywhere, any time and instantly.  I think I’m one of the most Google-ing-est people out there, too!   How do you cook tilapia? Google it.  Is this movie ok for the kids to watch? Google it.  Where’s the best place to go hiking? Google it.  What!? There’s such a thing as nude hiking?  Google it. [I’ll pause here while you actually go Google that one.  You know you want to.]

As much as I love technology, my cell phone and Google it is nice to take a break from it here and there.  Focus on the friends and family that are in the same room as you and not the ones on your Facebook friend list who you never even see.   Or maybe even go outside and see the beautiful landscapes that God created for us instead of looking at 2-D images of them that people forwarded you in an email.    Gary and I try to keep technology in perspective around our house with unplugged days, limiting xBox and Wii time and sending the kids outside for some fresh air and sunshine.   We also enjoy family night once a week where we all pile in the living room and watch a TV show or movie.  We can’t seem to find any good family tv shows these days though.  I guess that’s another thing that’s changed since I was a kid.

So, get off that laptop, put away your cell phone and spend some time with actual people.  You can even go for a hike.  Just don’t go naked.  Unless that’s your thing.

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