November 22, 2004

tin cans and a piece of string

It's likely, pumpkin, that you're not going to believe a large portion of this post. The concepts and devices mentioned here will seem as ludicrous to you as if I was speaking instead about using a piece of wood to fashion a workable microscope. I'm aware of this, and so I'm going to break it down into as simple a progression as I can.

Put simply, these are the facts:

Telephones, when I was a kid, were things that lived in buildings and were attached to walls. If you wanted to call someone, you would try to work out where they were most likely to be, and call that place and ask if they were there. If they were not, you would ask the person you were speaking to to write the fact that you'd called on a piece of paper, along with the number of the building that you were most likely to be in when the person you wanted to speak to was likely to return. Phew. Even writing about that is complicated. You're probably thinking 'geez, that sounds like a lot of work, why didn't you just send them an email or IM instead?

Here's the kicker, pumpkling.

No internet. None. I distinctly remember the first modem I clapped my eyes on, about age 9 (and remember here, that this was in the home of Grandpa Phil, so we were quite technologically advanced). It would transmit and receive data at the astonishing speed of 2400 baud (loosely translated, this is approximately 2.4 kbp/s) and was useful for precisely 9/10ths of stuffall. We used it to log on to 'bulletin boards', which were the distant ancestors of web pages.

But no email. None. Not until 1995 did I get my first email address (and I was one of the first ones).

As I'm sitting down writing this, I'm realising that even some of the things that I'm writing about, like cell phones and desktop computers, could be obsolete by the time that you get ready to use them. Who can say what form the internet will take in the year 2015 when you're 10? My trusty playstation will certainly be out of date, although I do promise to save a copy of Grand Theft Auto for when you turn 18. CD players, which were the cool of cool when I was about 10, are now all but gone.

It's becoming increasingly likely to my mind that by the time you get around to listening to your own music, the idea that one had to physically collect something and put it in a receptacle to play some toons or a movie or a game might be as old as the hills. That connection will be your birthright. That you will be able to get what you want when you want it, as long as you can pay for it. Or, more to the point, as long as I can pay for it.

Love you.

No comments: