Monday, March 9, 2009


I am old enough to have entered the workforce before everyone had a computer. I am old enough to have started working before fax machines were the standard of speedy communications.

In the good old days, when I crossed the threshold to my first real workplace, smelly and outlandishly dressed bike messengers ruled the streets of San Francisco.

Back then, if someone had a computer, the screen was black with green or orange text, not unlike the dashboard of some cars. And you had to know DOS if you were to get anywhere in life.

When I started going on business trips, companies were just starting to use voice mail, and many a focus group discussion session was spent on what people thought of a company or an account rep if they reached voice mail. (Does it go without saying that most saw voice mail as the end of the world as they knew it?)

On those same early business trips, I brought a “portable” computer to take notes on. We rented it from a computer store, and the sucker must have weighed 30 pounds.

There was no such thing as email way back then. There was no such thing as the Internet. When the web started taking off, I remember radio commercials wasting precious moments of their 30-second spots telling people to go to “w-w-w – that stands for “World Wide Web” – dot-COMPANY NAME-dot-com – that’s “c-o-m.” Obviously, there weren’t many seconds left to tell you anything else in the ad.

Why do I mention all this? Because my frickin’ computer is so slow that the only thing stopping me from taking it out and shooting it with Eldest’s air gun is the recall of what slow really is.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to saddle up the horse and carriage and ride 25 miles to get my young’uns to school.


Tara R. said...

Yeah, when I started working there were no cell phones, no e-mail, no laptops. I don't think I could even do my job now without any of these.

D... said...

Amen! I remember all those times, too. And now I get "computer rage" if it takes too long to move. How spoiled we've become!

Unknown said...

What did we ever do without computers and the internet? it feels like so long ago that I was carrying a brick of a cell phone. It would be nice if I could more easily disconnect sometimes, I'll have to work on that.

Jeni said...

Well, considering the Verizon guy asking "Can you hear me now?" has yet to visit the area where I live -we get no signal so therefore, I do not have a cell phone. My daughter -who lives with me -does but it's frequently only useful when she's out, calls home to say when she'll get here, asks if we need anything for her to pick up on the way home.
But so many things in this post brought back lots of memories to me of when I was first introduced to computers -back in the day of keypunch machines and a computer that took up a room larger than my living room -which is 15 x 22 foot! And I remember too, learning to write programs for the computer -using COBAL language -a language you don't hear too much about these days but 40 years ago, it was quite the tool to have in your repertoire. Today, if my computer here goes kafluky on me, I would go into an absolute panic to find an affordable way to get the damned thing fixed ASAP because I am so addicted to it. I used to be able to spend hours talking on the phone today, I spend hours "talking" via my computer, with e-mails, blogging and surfing -none of which were available to me in those golden oldy days of yore!

Unknown said...

Tee hee hee.

Winks & Smiles,

Kelly O said...

I remember in grad school submitting a proposal for a presentation on one of those big floppy discs. We're ooooooold, man.


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...