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"Once Upon A Time ... Vintage Technologies."

by John Asante
Jan 11, 2011

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John Asante

When a new device or contraption hits the market promising to make life easier or better, I'm immediately thankful for my upbringing. My family is from a developing nation, and new technologies tended to reach them later. For the most part, I'm pretty sure my relatives weren't jonesin' for the successor to the record player that quickly. Although I grew up here in the States, my mother never let me forget the predecessor to my Walkman, let alone my iPhone.

She talked about the days of jamming eight-track cartridges into to the clunky players, and having to actually stand by a land line in order to make a call. My, how times have changed.

Canadian journalist Jean-Christophe Laurence can attest to that. He quizzed a wily bunch of 2nd graders from Quebec on what services devices from the 80s and 90s, like old phones and music players, provided in their prime.

The results are both hilarious and haunting.

There will be a whole generation that won't have any idea of the trials and tribulations we went through with floppy disks and tape players. Sigh. Perhaps I tend to lean a bit on the old-school side when it comes to adopting new technology.

On a somewhat related, but musical note, chew on this. A few months ago, my friends and I were chatting with a few teens after a soul concert here in D.C. We got into a discussion about the evolution of rap.

And I kid you not, one of them said the first rap album he listened to was Kanye West's The College Dropout. The choice of artist wasn't the shocker — it was the fact that this album came out when I was a senior in high school. I'm not that old, am I?

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