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Walkie talkies were precursor to today’s Smartphone addiction

Posted on November 13, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

Do you remember when a phone landline was a necessity in a modern connected society? How about Saturday morning cartoons? Or life before the Internet?

Yes, there was life before surfing the web and before today’s handheld electronic devices were an added appendage (except for Gameboy and electronic football and retro electronics). People also wore watches, it’s true. Watch-wearers would actually lift their arms up and look at their wrists to see what time it was, rather than take cellphones out of pockets or what have you.

Kids, before Netflix and binge-watching DVD box sets there was a thing called Saturday mornings parked in front of the only TV set in the house to catch the latest and greatest. It was truly, “more than meets the eye.” From early morning until mid-afternoon — cartoons cradled the youth like a warm fuzzy blanket, as kids of all ages ate sugared cereal and chugged Nestle Quick. Parents, sat sipping and savouring weekend coffees or did lawn work. The sound of a lawns being cut could be heard throughout the block. Parents would say, “get outside and get some air” or “the lawn isn’t going to cut itself.” Those were the days — a much simpler time, that’s for sure.

Today, kids and their parents can go online to watch anything at anytime — day or night. It takes away the anticipation of waiting a week to see a new episode of your favourite TV show.

Now, back to communication via good old telephone, not via a cellphone. At one time in history, not so long ago, people of all ages would pick up either a cordless phone or an attached phone to reach out and touch someone on the other side of the world or across the street. The rotary phone is an archaic reminder before the creation of the touch-tone phone. Emergency services departments most likely look back at a time when 9-1-1 wasn’t pocket dialed and the phone user had to slip their finger in the hole and actually turn the number over. It most definitely made the phone user think before calling. Walkie Talkies and CB radios were also pretty cool — for communication purposes. Roger that… over… krrrrrrrr.

What did humans do before computers took over our lives? At one time, there was conversation. Two people, in the same room, at the same time and they would talk — without texting someone else or looking at the time or looking to see if anyone was trying to get in touch. If someone wanted to get in touch, said person would call the person most likely at home or at the office and the call receiver would either answer it or perhaps an answering machine might pick up. Yes, an answering machine, not voicemail. Sometimes, said receiver, might wait until returning a call because they want to. Maybe the receiver didn’t want to talk to the caller at the specific moment in time.

Many humans are ruled by electronics — many live and breath electronics. Many sleep with their electronics, rather than cuddle up with a significant other, while the soft warm glow of the electronic device illuminates sleep time. Books or magazines (with tiny little booklamps) have been replaced by tablets, Smartphones and e-Readers. Others take their electronics into the bathroom to catch up on work or whatever else floats their boat. Some take battery-powered and/or plugged-in electronics camping or to the beach — totally unaware of the nature surrounding them.

Once upon a time, kids would read on family outings and trips or play “I Spy” or other travel games. Others would sleep or listen to music via a Walkman. Nowadays, kids are glued to portable DVD players, tablets and Smartphones — this is helpful though, as a parent can only hear “are we there yet” or “Sally keeps touching me” a hundred or so times before turning the car around and going home.

Many moons ago, it seems, the Internet was hatched. Dial-up was the norm and music, television and movies were bought at a music store, watched on a TV when a certain show was scheduled by a network and viewed on a big screen at a theatre.

Radio was once considered a way for music to be distributed to the masses, now it’s iTunes. Sam the Record Man and HMV once thrived in a society where music lovers had to go to malls or random stores to buy top hits to listen to on car stereo systems made by Pioneer, Kenwood or Alpine. Only select individuals could be a DJ — those with the knack of knowing how to fill a dance floor at any event or venue. Not some guy in a backwards cap with an iPod named “DJ Sparkles” shouting, “Who wants to rock the partay?”

Before computers, a person wanting to write a story or letter would actually take a pen or pencil and print or write in cursive. Then came the typewriter. Then the word processor. Now, a tiny touch pad with auto-correct.

The calculator came along, many years ago, to help with figuring out math-related number questions. Funny, calculators haven’t really changed over the years — similar to toilet paper (see “Seinfeld” for the reference).

Today is the day to look back at innovations from the past. Without those prototypes — many of today’s technological wonders wouldn’t have a life.


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