Published in El Pais, 12 June 2018.
Usually when people mention the signs of aging they talk about the body slowing down but there are other cultural signs too. Many of us grew up with technology that was intertwined with our lives and it becomes shocking when people not much younger than us have no idea what that device is. With that in mind here are 5 electronic devices/services that we might have difficulty explaining to children what exactly they are.
1. Floppy Disks. Recently I saw a meme of a floppy disk with the caption reading “Look someone made the save icon a real thing”. While I am not sure if it was a joke or not it would not surprise me if that is exactly what younger generations will call it without realizing the true origin of the device. That is not to say that I miss them, a highly fragile device with such limited space that it could not hold a PowerPoint presentation, but the thought of kids not knowing what it is is still strange to me.
2. Standard Definition Televisions. It is not so much the picture quality that I am referring to here, but the giant back attached to it that may soon have kids puzzled. That a tv with a screen half the size could weigh 4 times as much and to top it all off have poorer picture quality will have them wondering why we even bothered watching tv in the first place.
3. Dial up Internet. As I mentioned in the past there is still half the worlds population that is still without internet but the social ventures working on changing that are making sure when they get internet it is at a somewhat respectable speed. Thankfully many kids growing up will not know the pains of taking two to three minutes just to connect to the web with a modem making the most annoying sound. Also, with such low speeds you can forget about YouTube, Netflix, a news website with a lot of graphics on it, and god forbid if someone tried to make a call while you were online.
4. Non-Smart Phones. Many people do use flip phones for cost or simplicity reasons and some manufacturers are starting to bring back budget phones like Nokia reinventing the popular 3310, but many would not imagine a time when phones were just phones and it took a minute just to send a basic text message. Honestly, I feel many adults would like to forget that time as well.
5. Movie Rentals. Back in 2000 Blockbuster Video had the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million and turned it down. Had they not done so their brick and mortar chains would still not exist but at least the brand name that was part of my childhood would still be around. To me there was nothing more exciting that going to Blockbuster and seeing the countless movies to chose from. Of course, with the rise of internet piracy and streaming services, video renting services like Blockbuster are no longer financially viable. You can still rent movies from services like iTunes but its just not the same thing.
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