Print Story Randon thoughts and stuff.
By wiredog (Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:58:32 PM EST) (all tags)
Or, stuff about random thoughts.

If the movie "Back to the Future" were made today Marty would be going back to 1980, when I was in high school.

Is 1980 as far away, culturally, from today as 1955 was from 1985?

In 1980 "texting" wasn't a word. A "text" was a book. I had never heard of cell phones. We all had landlines and, in the US, the phone company was, well, THE phone company. AT&T, Ma Bell. There were no others. Many people I knew still had rotary dial phones. Payphones, many in actual phone booths, were outside many businesses and in every strip mall.

In the suburbs of DC we had no cable TV. There were 7 broadcast TV channels. 3 Network, 2 independent, 2 PBS.

On the first Wednesday (IIRC) of the month, at 1130, the air raid sirens were tested. This was, presumably, so that the Authorities could let us know the missiles were on their way.

Most of the neighbors drove American cars. Lots of GM's on our street. "Japanese" and "Taiwanese" were still synonymous with "cheap".

Home computers? A couple of kids in school had Apple 2 pluses. One had a TRS-80. The father of one guy I knew had a machine used only for Wordstar, hooked up to a Selectric. I had a manual typewriter of roughly 1955 vintage.

Internet? I'd not even heard of BBS's at that point. Mail was handwritten and physical, in an envelope, with a stamp. Newspapers were thriving, as were newsweeklies.

Maps were on paper, available in every gas station. There was nothing like GPS.

In "Back to the Future 2" Marty goes forward to 2015. 5 years from now. I want my hoverboard, dammit.

Living without Cable TV these days. I get 20 broadcast channels. Well, more, but those are the ones I might actually watch. 8 are PBS, 2 are weather, 1 sports, 2 run old tv shows and movies. Still thinking about making a HTPC out of a Mac Mini, but don't want to spend the money right now.

Also living without a landline. Between the two I'm saving $150/month. Paid off the car (early) which saves $450/month. Looking for a house. I talked with a loan officer, who was recommended by a friend, and told him what I could afford in terms of a monthly payment, and where I was looking, and he came back with some numbers. I may actually be able to afford a house in Pimmit Hills. My target payment is $CurrentRent+$OldCarPayment, as I was able to make those payments without trouble, and still save some cash. In two years (after the CC is paid off) I'll be able to afford more, but house prices and interest rates are likely to be higher then, too.

Being a veteran, I can get a zero down VA loan now. So the loan officer is working on that.

I find that I don't really care, personally, about open source, open hardware, etc. That is, I understand their importance, and hope they continue, but I don't, personally, want to deal with them. I like the Apple sandbox.

My Mac has only crashed once (ironically, it was Apple software that crashed it). The only people I know whose iPhones have crashed are the ones who've jailbroken them. I suspect the iPad will be similarly crash resistant. I may buy one in a year or so. I don't really need a laptop, and an iPod Touch is too small to read on, much less watch movies. The iPad is something that can do light word processing (via Pages), watch videos, and read newspapers and magazines on, while on an airplane or just sitting around. The option to get monthly 3G plans, so that I can only pay when I'm on the road, is a win.

But I'll keep the iMac for Real Computing Tasks.

< His Booky Wook | Sore wrists, body image, etc. >
Randon thoughts and stuff. | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)
When I talk to my kids about by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:12:19 PM EST
what things were like when I was a kid, I realize how different life is now.


The 80's came up because my son and I saw the preview for Hot Tub Time Machine. I don't know if my boy will ever understand how getting a hold of someone was very different back then.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

I was dating this girl who was 8 years younger... by greyshade (4.00 / 2) #2 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:43:37 PM EST
her: why are you parking out here? just park up there, it's closer.
me: this is my spot.  If someone wants to know if I'm here they look for my car in this spot.
her: why wouldn't they just call you?
me: this strategy predates cell phones.

She was dumbfounded.  She could not imagine a life without cell phones, and was likewise amazed that she was dating someone who had lived in such a time.

"The other part of the fun is nibbling on them when they get off work." -vorheesleatherface
[ Parent ]
7 ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:50:00 PM EST
independents were channel 20, channel 50, pbs was 26.. Then 4, 7 and 9 were the networks (forget which was which)..

(Occasionally we'd get the baltimore pbs, wasn't that 22 ?)

Hell, I got off school the day the cable guys came..

4,5,7,9,20,22,26 by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 02:33:04 PM EST
4,7,9 were network (NBC,ABC, CBS respectively), 5 became Fox. 20 independent. 22 and 26 PBS.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
you never got 50 ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 02:59:31 PM EST
(I forgot about fox.. heh).. 50 was, hmm, wwdc ? It had caps games on occasionally, and other independent programming.. But actually picking it up on the antenna was a bitch..

Hmm.. says it started broadcasting in 81.. bummer.

[ Parent ]
No 50 back then. Got 45 sometimes. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:21:09 PM EST
Today 50 is 2 channels, the regular "CW", whatever that is, and an old TV shows and movies channel. Sunday they did the "Fistful of Dollars" movies.

26 has 4 channels, 22 has 2, and 32 (another PBS) has 1.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
bugger by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 10:30:48 PM EST
I decided to make attempt #2 to hook up my converter box (attempt #1 was missing RCA cables...) for the Ravens-Indianapolis playoff game.

I get 4 channels. Each a digital split from station #66 (there was another UHF station that would get blocky noise). I'm not sure if my box has mislabeled VHF and UHF (I plugged in VHF and got UHF stations) or I just have no reception (I barely get my cell phone as well).

I do "see" (station looks for it, gets zero signal strength) the stations mentioned above (9 seems to be missing. I think the game was on 9).


[ Parent ]
i suepect by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:50:42 PM EST
Is 1980 as far away, culturally, from today as 1955 was from 1985?

I suspect the answer is further.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

IAWTP by Phil the Canuck (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 02:16:31 PM EST
What was the cultural divide between the 50s and the 80s?  Sugar-free soft drinks?  Fashion?  Reruns?

[ Parent ]
big things that come to mind without much thought by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 02:26:28 PM EST
  • rock music and the proliferation of popular music styles
  • civil rights and desegregation
  • the rise of the antiwar left and the counterculture
  • massive change in the acceptability of premarital sex
  • open homosexuality
  • surf and skateboarding culture
  • video arcades

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
I remember 1980 by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 03:44:18 PM EST
We just got cable, my dad found room in the budget by quitting smoking, though he didn't really quit until around the time of his triple bypass in 1989.

My dad had a Ford Fiesta, domestic tag, built in Germany if wiki was correct. We got a Datsun 210 a year or two later.

We had illegal phones in most rooms of the house, back then you had to pay for Ma Bell to come out and wire the extension, and you had to pay an arm and a leg for a phone from Ma Bell.

We didn't get cable until 84. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:03:46 PM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Of course, my folks had cable in the 60's by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:08:57 PM EST
or maybe it was the 50's, growing up in hilly Pennsylvania there was no line of sight to the TV stations 50 miles away.

[ Parent ]
I don't think my mom got cable put in till by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 09:13:01 PM EST
Dad doesn't have cable today. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 07:07:36 AM EST
He hardly watches TV though.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Early eighties television by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 08:47:34 PM EST
We had the four networks (including PBS but not FOX as it wasn't born yet) + two independent stations + a religious station.

In my bedroom I had two black and white TVs I picked up trashpicking. One had no sound. One had no picture. Together they worked perfectly. But once I saved up enough money to buy a Commodore 64, I stopped using them for televisions. It was the mid-eighties when I was hooking up to BBS's with a 300 baud modem, at a friend's house because I couldn't afford such luxuries.

That said, I think I had one other friend that did not have cable. By the end of the eighties, it was rare to not have cable. But I suspect that was largely a function of moving out of the inner city to the 'burbs. I remember going over to a friends' house to see the Thriller video and thinking how awesome Nick at Night was compared to watching reruns of The Hardy Boys and Jerry Lewis movies.

But that's all technology rather than culture. I would suggest that there are larger cultural changes between Leave it To Beaver and The Honeymoooners to  M*A*S*H and Three's Company than there is between M*A*S*H and Desperate Housewives.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Try explaining by Phage (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 03:45:37 AM EST
What a 'B' side was, to your daughter.
I also remember smoking in the office, the tea trolley and lusting after the new PCs which were just starting to appear. Most offices just a romm full of fax machines.
I remember reserving the ASX address for the first time and helping set up the website long before I had my own email address.

No hoverboards by brokkr (4.00 / 1) #16 Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 09:22:30 AM EST
But wireless electricity is just around the corner.

It's a great idea until the day you don't towel properly after showering and accidentally walk in front of the spool ...
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

I had by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 07:31:40 PM EST
I had no idea what any of the cultural references to ABC shows were in that time frame because the closest ABC station was in Pittsburgh, and we lived 2 hours away in the mountains.  So it was CBS and NBC.  Dad did set up a tall antenna at one point and we could get KDKA and WTAE from time to time and did see some Monday Night Football games.

Hell until the early 90s the cable company that ran line in the valley only had 13 channels.  Then my grandmother sold a piece of land up on the hill and  CNN came to the valley.  Those bastards still try to send her a bill every so often and threaten to take her to court for stealing cable.  Hell they even, blood sucking assholes, tried to have her send them the original contract she had drawn up, thinking an 80 year old grandmother would just do it.

God I hate those fuckers.


Oh, thanks. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 2) #18 Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 09:10:00 PM EST
Thanks for painting that picture of exactly how old I am.

On the other hand, we're a little closer to Buck Rogers than we used to be. Today I saw an article about how a turkish lab that developed a way to spray a coating of nano-particles of silicon dioxide (i.e., glass) onto almost any surface imaginable - and how the glass effectively creates an anti-microbial surface.

They're spraying it on grape vines to protect them from fungus.


I liked it better when technology was strictly for those of us nerdy enough to master it.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
Life without cable by duxup (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Feb 05, 2010 at 09:00:43 PM EST
Sports keeps me on the cable, well the Mrs. too but my only big loss would be cable.

PBS puts a lot of their shows online.

Randon thoughts and stuff. | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)