Thursday, July 05, 2012

Now vs Then

A humorous view point from one of the Web Developers at Rocktime, about 'Now vs Then' and the advances in technology; with reference to some nostalgic technologies.

As a child, who was born in the 70’s, my childhood experience of technology differs greatly from the world that my daughter will grow up in.

My little girl turned one at the weekend and as such she will never know of a world without mobile phones, digital photography, the internet, on demand television, online shopping, iTunes, sat nav or Facebook. I on the other hand grew up blissfully ignorant surrounded by red phone boxes, cheap instamatic cameras, BBC Microcomputers, TISWAS, waiting 28 days for delivery, our price, maps and actually having to speak to people face to face.

So in the interest of having a little bit of fun, let’s have a look at each of these points in turn.

Mobile Phones vs Red Phoneboxes 

Although I work at Rocktime, I must admit to having a bit of a pet hate towards mobiles. Granted they have completely changed the face of communication and with each month there appears to be a new all singing all dancing model that claims to rival a Cray Supercomputer.

So what if you can play games, surf the web, take photos, listen to music, check emails, augment reality, or make a super skinny yummy mocha latte with your latest phone. I still can’t shift the 80’s image of larger-than-life men going through a mid-life crisis showing off their breeze block sized phones as a bizarre status symbol. Before mobile phones we made plans and we stuck to them.

Technology - 0 : Old fashioned red phone boxes - 1

Digital Photography vs Cheap Instamatic Cameras

I used to go travelling with a Boots instamatic, that cost about a fiver and come back with dozens of rolls of film, not having the foggiest what was on any of them. Eventually, I would get around to developing them and spend a few hours grinning like a deranged madman as I would re-live the events surrounding each photograph.

Of course, out of perhaps several thousand snap shots that I’ve taken this way, there are probably less than a dozen that would look good hung on a wall. While the professionals may debate whether film or digital produces the best results, the sheer numbers of photographs we can take inevitably mean that we’ll get a greater number of photographs we can be proud of using digital. But please remember people, simply going out and spending a few hundred pounds on the latest piece of kit does not make you David Bailey.

Technology - 1 : Blurriness - 1

The internet vs BBC Microprocessors

No contest, the internet wins. You can play the Acornsoft classic elite online!

Technology - 2 : 32kb - 1

On Demand TV vs TISWAS

Okay, if all TV was like TISWAS, great as it was, on demand would probably win this one. I do think that the likes of Virgin’s on demand service, iPlayer and the like have taken away the mystique of my beloved telly. I remember when there was only three channels and recall watching the first episode of Countdown the day that Channel 4 launched to great fanfare. We had to watch what the schedulers said we should watch and as a result some programmes became a national event.

The next day we would gingerly discuss the previous evening’s entertainment over monster munch and frazzles. Every Christmas they would show Star Wars and The Great Escape, there would be a Bond film pretty much every bank holiday and we would lap it up together as a country! Nowadays, you can download a film before the actors have even finished filming it and all sense of grandeur and occasion is lost as it squeezes onto a memory stick.

Technology - 2 : Nostalgia - 2

Online shopping vs Waiting 28 days for delivery

Firstly, whenever you sent away for something you had to pay for it with a Postal Order as very few children had bank accounts! These were only available from Post Offices (Do they even exist now????) and as such the experience would inevitably involve having to stand in close proximity to a gaggle of pensioners. Inevitably, the cost of the goods meant that you had to purchase a ridiculous combination of smaller denominations of PO in order to get the correct amount. You would then have to buy a stamp, find an envelope and a piece of paper, write down your details and order, address the envelope and then go and post it in the mail box. For some reason everything used to take 28 days to deliver which meant by the time it had turned up you were either no longer interested, or the purchase in question was so drastically out of fashion that you dare not be seen with it in public for fear of being branded a social luddite!

Technology - 3 : Rubbish - 2

iTunes vs Our Price

iTunes. If you could buy vinyl from apple I would have scored them 2 points!

Technology - 4 : My cassette has broken - 2

Sat nav vs Maps

Every so often you hear about someone who’s blindly followed their sat nav’s instructions and ended up either in the wrong county/stuck up a mountain/or at the bottom of a lake. Sensible route planning is in order.

Technology - 4 : Learn to read a map, it’s not that hard - 3

Facebook vs speaking to people face to face.

While Facebook is great for catching up with old friends, seeing what people are up to and having several different conversations at any given moment; you can’t beat good old fashioned human interaction.

Technology - 4 : The Dark Ages - 4

So it’s officially a draw. My daughter’s life will be pretty much the same as mine and in years to come, most of the items listed above will be obsolete and serve only to serve up fond memories.


Every aspect of working in web development and creating integrated search marketing campaigns is driven by change; be it innovations in hardware, software, social commerce, or Google algorithm updates. Please contact Rocktime if your business recognises that it needs to increase its online visibility globally, nationally or through local optimisation; we can help develop a strategy to embrace these changes.

Author: Foz


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