Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday - How Did the Baby Boomers Get Online in 1958?

A "personal favorite" posts from 2009, repeated once in 2014, and edited a little.  My son is grown up, and hopefully, knows the truth now.

How Did The Baby Boomers Get Online in 1958?

First, I am not trying to mock my teenage son. But it shows how, in some ways, the mindset of the present generation is so much different from those of us born only 35 or 40 years earlier.

My son knows about what the computers of the 1950's looked like. People of my baby-boomer generation, do you remember the UNIVAC?

Do you remember the famous "hoax" picture of the 1954 RAND prototype of the first home computer? Maybe that was what son was thinking about when he asked his question.

One evening my son asked me "how did you get online when you were growing up? Did you have one of those huge computers in your bedroom?" I thought he was pulling my leg.

He wasn't.

Although he intellectually knew there was no "internet" as he knows it back in the 1950's or 1960's, he had to believe that there was something out there, just something very clunky, probably in black and white, and using technology full of vacuum tubes.

No.

Interestingly, son is also very interested in "old technology". For example, he is looking for a good Betamax player (and has several Betamax tapes). He just couldn't make that intellectual leap of people living before certain technology existed..

 Let's think about this a minute. I bought my first home computer (a bit later than other people, I admit) in 1996 and went online in January of 1997. So my son was in early elementary school at the time.

From his viewpoint, there was a computer in his life "forever".

By the way, when did the Internet start? The answer is complicated. This link has quite the discussion and the answer is..."it depends".

Do you remember life before "online"? Or, has there been a computer in your life "forever"?

15 comments:

  1. YEARS AGO, talking to someone younger about watching the first moon landing (which I don't remember, *too young* cough), the youngster asked why we just didn't "record" the event happening on the TV.

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    1. Ah, these generation gaps. I'll laugh when my son has children.

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  2. I got my first computer in 2000 and before that I had access in school. The life before internet was pretty active .. after that I had to take conscious effort to remain active :)

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    1. The Internet has affected our lives in many ways we never expected when it first appeared on the scene.

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  3. I go with the tcp/IP theory. Right about my grad school days.
    And, my childhood internet? Bell Tell...

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  4. My first husband and his company--Computer Terminal Corporation... name changed to Datapoint Corporation--invented and holds the patent on the first, desktop computer, the Datapoint 2200, then the first smart, desktop computer, the Datapoint 3300, as well as one of Datapoint's engineers developed the microprocessor. Note to self: Blog about this. So, I've had a computer since 1971, and no... Now you're wondering how old I am. LOL! Brenda

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    1. That's a fantastic story, Brenda. I know people who were on BBS, GEnie, CompuServe (gosh, I was even on CompuServe, but after the Internet existed)I was a little bit late to the party, although I did take a FORTRAN class around 1971, in college, and even a COBOL class at one point. Both my instructors said I had coding talent, but it somehow never happened with me.

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  5. I know. My children are about the same age as your son, and they have no recollection of life before cell phones, home computers and the internet. Me, I feel like I'm a character in Star Trek when I use my smart phone. Interesting perspective, isn't it?

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    1. Yes, the perspective of "our lives, considered as a museum". Might be a good name for a memoir. Or not.

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  6. I have similar discussions with my kids, my daughter thought I was pulling her leg when i said that in 1985 when i was based in Germany and going out with her mum, if I wanted to phone home I had to que up at the phone box, no mobiles then

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    1. I can't wait to see when our children have children, Mike and have to explain the "good old days" to their children (while said children roll their eyes, etc.). It should be worth a lot of merriment.

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  7. I definitely can remember the old computers. Things sure have changed!

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  8. The part of India I was brought up, computers came late. So for first 16 years of my life I had not seen one. So, yes - I have been privy to that life too ;)

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  9. This reminds me of the time a student said something to me about how I must have used cell phones in class when I was in school. I had to inform her that cell phones did not exist when I was her age. She insisted that the brick phones existed. Sure. But I had to explain that no one could afford them (nor would it have occurred to us.)

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