TechMom Tuesday: What the Kids Will Never Know


I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.

(I think this is the first time this was actually posted on a Tuesday here.  But full disclosure, this was posted over at AlliOSNews for all things Apple last Tuesday. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on.)

“I need to watch more baseball!” screeched a TechTot. “Turn it back on!”

And in that moment, I learned that I needed to explain to my children the concept of commercials. They had never before experienced a forced pause in their show – due to DVR, On-Demand, Apple TV.

Technology exploded upon us as I was growing up. And as the whirlwind continues to encompass us (iWatch anyone?), those initial and introductory predecessors are getting lost in the dust (sometimes literally if you ever saw the innards of my old 386 PC).

So in no particular order, I give you things relegated to the history books for children of the teens (2010s that is):

I worked at Blockbuster back in high school. Be Kind! Rewind! Then phased out by DVDs, the large-scale movie rental chains are declaring bankruptcy because of digital. Now even Radio Shack has ceased sales of the tapes that decreased in quality every time they played.

Apple TV and iTunes anyone?

Cassette Tape
My first cassette was Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up.” (Stop laughing at me.) I played mix tapes in my car created by rushing to the boom box and hitting Play/Record. That all changed when I hit college during the Napster boom. No tape players in the TechTots room. They fall asleep to digital renditions of classical lullabies.

iPod anyone?

I could spend hours wandering the bookstores – killing time or just relaxing among the intoxicating aroma of ink bleeding onto milled and bound paper. Today, it’s just one click and the book is mine. I can now carry 278 books on vacation with me. I’ll be at the pool if you need me…

iBooks and Newstand anyone?

I was a theatre nerd in high school. After rehearsal, all the budding thespians would loiter outside our cafetorium – waiting to plunk the quarter and dime into the payphone so a parent, or anyone with a car really, was willing to come pick us up. Today you see a decimated phone booth and instantly think drug deal.

iPhone anyone?

Pager code
411 – I’m home. 143 – I love you. Wearing our pagers on our hip like we were super cool, we’d race to that payphone to see who was calling. But the codes were like text in its infancy.

iMessage anyone?

Remember going on vacation and madly snapping memories in 24 clicks and bursts? Part of the adventure was rushing to the drugstore after returning home to see if you managed to get any decent shots. And also if you’d be able to get your photos, as opposed to someone else’s when they were developed. Now, it’s point and click NatGeo quality panoramas with your phone.

Camera and iPhoto anyone?

Ah, the sweet screeching song of a modem connecting to AOL and the rush of excitement to see if you had an email before someone yelled at you to get off the phone. Today’s kids wonder why anyone talks on the phone anyway.

Wi-Fi anyone?

Floppy disks
I loved racing to the “library” in my house, the downstairs hallway/entryway where the newfangled computer was stashed. My precious Apple IIgs was a magical entrance to Narnia where I’d travel the U.S. along the Oregon Trail, track super-villians across the world looking for Carmen San Diego and crush math problems with Number Munchers.

(Although TechDad was still required to use floppies to transfer data for work when the TechTots were born. And we made fun of him. His office migrated when supply ran out since manufacturing had long ceased.)

Who still writes checks? Oh yes, the woman in front of me at the grocery store when I have a cranky toddler whining that he wants to go home. But other than that, everything is online these days. Banks are even creating methods for digital deposit via camera for those wayward folks determined to use the last of the personalized checkbooks. Balance a checkbook? You mean logging on to my bank account?

Bill Pay and anyone?

Oh the allure that was one a crisp notebook, its blank lined pages sticking slightly together as you opened it for the first time – pondering the possibilities you could create within its confines. One of my colleagues tried to purchase a notepad at the airport on his last business trip. The cashier couldn’t comprehend his request; but she did politely point him to a selection of iPad styluses available.

Pages, Reminders and Evernote anyone?

Fax machines
These aren’t dead yet. But they should be. They were the introduction to the tech era. The first taste of instant communications that got us all addicted. There are better alternatives now. Let’s let this one go.

Email people! You can scan things now.

United States Postal Service
The TechTots see FedEx or UPS and scream, “Look! The mailman!” A U.S. legacy for sure, but I just don’t trust them to accurately deliver the mail anymore. Which is kind of a large problem given their alleged purpose. We’ll always have the Pony Express (for when the carrier pigeons get tired of shuttling those data packets our interwebs couldn’t handle).

It was the competitors’ tracking systems that ultimately did this one in.

Kinda tech related since it was advanced astronomy systems that led to the demotion of the little planet that could. But mostly included because I feel bad for it, the icy planet-ite that got picked last in gym class.

Here’s hoping our sense of selves and ability to be individual’s isn’t next on the chopping block.

Somebody You Used to Know


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