Sunday, October 12, 2008

Iz In Ur Blogz, Stealin Ur Kontenz!

Last week, CW, over at Refugees From the City, wrote a post about outmoded technologies and which he actually remembers using.

I'll take a stab at it

How many do you remember?

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor. Yes
Ignition switches on the dashboard. Yes
Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall. Yes
Real ice boxes. Grandma had one in the garage.
Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. Yup
Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner. I think I have one in the basement.
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals. I remember doing this on a bicycle and having to prove I knew them for Driver's Ed, but I'm not sure if I was ever in a car without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you
were told about Ratings at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum No
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water Oh yeah!
3 Candy cigarettes Loved 'em.
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles Little 10 oz. Cokes.
5 Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes Those are obsolete?
6 Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers Yup
7. Party lines I don't think I ever actually spoke on one, but I knew about them.
8. Newsreels before the movie That, at least, is before my time.
9. P.F. Flyers Had 'em.
10. Butch wax Uh???
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933) My childhood number was ELgin-5-0038.
12. Peashooters We used straws.
13. Howdy Doody Never saw the guy.
14. 45 RPM records Yup
15. S&H Green Stamps Yup, but they were for trailer trash.
16 Hi-fi's Yup
17 Metal ice trays with lever Yup
18 Mimeograph paper Loved the smell.
19 Blue flashbulb Yeah
20. Packards Don't think so.
21. Roller skate keys Yup. and also those metal roller skates that locked onto your shoes, but not well enough to actually stay on. Also, the metal wheels made the whole skating experience pretty crappy.
22. Cork popguns Yes
23. Drive-ins Yes
24. Studebakers Not so much.
25 Wash tub wringers I saw one in a museum.

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt! I didn't have to count.


1. 5 1/4 inch floppies (or better yet, 8 inch floppies). Bonus points if you remember the capacities of 5.25 and 8 inch disks. Extra bonus points if you had a computer that loaded the operating system on floppies. I was computer-phobic until I got my first PowerBook 160 in 1992

2. The TRS-80 See above.

3. Pure-text internet. The idea from this post came from John's reference to Usenet. Bonus points if you used the pure-text internet on a machine with floppy-loaded operating system and a monochrome (green) monitor, connected via a 2400 baud modem. (Bonus points if you thought 2400 baud was impossibly fast.) See Above above.

4. A modem (probably 1200 or maybe even 300 baud) that involved sticking the phone handset into large rubber cups. Continue seeing above.

5. Gopher You mean the guy on The Love Boat?

6. Loading an IP stack into Windows For Workgroups 3.11 to connect to the internet via a modem (maybe 4800 or even 9600 baud). Back to above.

Moving on to some non-internet stuff:

7. The TV antenna on the roof of your house that had a large dial on top of the TV to rotate and point it (I may have used that one in my old blog). Yes

8. Cable TV with 13 (or fewer) channels. No

9. Making coffee with a percolator, or even by putting the grounds directly in a pot of water and boiling them (folks who camp or spend a lot of time in remote areas without electricity (Jim maybe?) probably not only remember that but still do it that way. I still have a percolator. It makes great strong coffee. (I can't remember the last time I pulled it out, though.)

10. Those "All in one" stereo systems that combined a turntable, cassette player, and receiver in one, cheap, enclosure. Speakers were usually separate. Double bonus points if you had one of those in quadraphonic. We had a Panasonic.

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And now, in the interest of being not completely derivative, I'll add some stuff of my own.

I remember the telephone and the telephone table in my grandmother's house. The phone, (dial of course), was made of bakelite, weighed a ton and would make a really nifty weapon. It sat in a place of honor on the "telephone table". This had a shelf for the phone itself, a drawer for the phone book and a small writing surface for taking notes. When you made a call (or answered one), there was no multi-tasking. You were on the phone! In our own home, we'd graduated to the wall-mounted push-button phone in the kitchen. The one with the 25' cord, so Mom could make dinner while chatting away.

I remember actual Carbon Paper. I love how cc: still means the same thing in emails. And I don't trust the bcc:. I'm always afraid that will turn out like the dreaded Accidental Reply All, so I forward stuff to anyone that I want blind copied. I know. Luddite.

I remember the little plastic spacers you put into 45 RPM records so they'd fit on the Hi-Fi spindle. I also remember nobody thinking twice about stacking a dozen or so of the suckers on at once.

I've mentioned before that I remember having dog tags as a child. Living in Jacksonville, FL, we were considered a likely "First Strike" target, so they had to have a way to identify my charred little remains in case the worst happened. The tags had my name, address, phone number, Dad's name and the fact that I was White and Jewish. I didn't really understand any of this until I was about 18 and remembered having worn them. I still have the tag and the bracelet.

I remember wearing a beeper for work. I also remember the year the phone company was on strike, so you couldn't find a working payphone in NYC. Yeah, sure, I'm gonna pull over just because you paged me. Sure.

Not only do I remember P.F. Flyers, I remember getting them at the Buster Brown Shoe Store. When you got real shoes, the salesman would cut a crosshatch pattern in the sole so they weren't so slippery.



That's all the remembering I'm gonna do right now.

4 comments:

Jeri said...

Hey! Where was the Saturday multi-post? Are you replacing it with a weekend content heist instead?

Nathan said...

I refuse to get predictable.

MWT said...

Apropos of nothing (just like Jeri's!), this article seems like the sort of thing that'd be right up your alley.

Anonymous said...

any content coming ?