Thinking in Hyperlinks or How Is The Internet Like the Gutenberg Bible?

In the Beginning

The internet has changed the way people think and communicate as much as the Gutenberg Bible did in the fifteenth century. Gutenberg's movable type made the printing and distribution of books possible in a way that changed the world forever. Once ordinary people had access to the written word in their own language, a veritable orgy of intellectual activity occurred. You might say that learning to read changed the way people's brains were wired and made them think differently. It was not just that they had access to more information, the way they processed information they had access to changed and that is what changed the world.

Along came the Protestant Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and so much more that has shaped the modern world. I knew, the minute I saw it for the first time through my Mosaic browser in 1995, that the internet was in the same category. I knew too the law of unintended consequences would soon be in play. I’ve been watching with amazement ever since as the world I grew up in, that shaped and formed me, has receded further and further into the past and a new all-encompassing virtual world has emerged around me, sparking millions of amazing changes to the once unchangeable in every corner of the globe.

I don't think anything in my whole life, except the day my oldest child took his first steps excited me the way my introduction to the internet did. I knew right away that this was not just some new wrinkle like color television or touchtone dialing. I knew in my gut it was a paradigm shift that would change everything and everyone from top to bottom all over the world. It has too in just the twelve years that I have known about it and there is much more to come. Has anyone under thirty ever seen a galley-proof, or a paste up, or typed a letter with carbon copies? Can you even buy carbon paper anymore? Who knew that call centers would end up in India or that I would be able to read newspapers from all over the world every day online, or follow the day to day unfolding of a war half a world away on YouTube. The evolution is ongoing......and it happens in the blink of an eye. One day Yahoo and Alta Vista were the search engines to watch. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere came Google. Printing, Real Estate, Banking,Publishing, Automobile sales, Auctions--every industry I can think of has been restructured in a major way by the birth of the internet.

In 1993, Bill Gates was just a kid who had dropped out of Harvard to make software and I was the proud owner of a MacIIsi with 16 megabytes of RAM which I was haltingly teaching myself to use instead of my old IBM selectric typewriter. There was an odd logic to learning to use the word processing software that was very different from how I had been taught in school. It involved endless hours of trial and error and thousands of odd logical and mechanical connections that seemed to elude me, but were simple once I made them. I had to learn to think outside the box and to experiment for myself until I found the right way. I would spend hours at the keyboard and leave frustrated and with my head feeling like a mush melon. Eventually, I mastered the basics of Microsoft Word and moved online with AOL, when it had only 2 million members and Steve Case sent us all a chummy email every Friday. Once on the net I would skip from hyperlink to hyperlink in a trance. Hours went by as I waded through miles of totally unrelated information. I loved it.

Many in my generation dismissed the internet as a fad in those days. I simply couldn't talk to them about it. The word browser to them meant someone rummaging through a shop, and the word Mosaic referred to tiles for their bathrooms. I used to liken them to monks sitting up in the scriptorium, carefully illuminating manuscripts and telling themselves that Herr Gutenberg’s new fangled printing press would never catch on.

Surfing the Net

So there I was online in the mid to late nineties, making virtual friends with people 30 years younger than me, who were as energized by this new medium as I was, but who grasped its workings in a visceral, organic way that I did not. They had encountered computers in school. I had not. They assumed I understood what they understood and I didn’t. I think our brains were wired differently, the pathways having been set up in childhood and shaped by the world we grew up in. When I was a young child rotary dial telephones were cutting edge and television didn’t exist. The notion of a personal computer was many years in the future. I read books, played outdoors and went to schools where we sat one behind the other at individual desks and listened to the teacher. She asked the questions( and it was usually a she not a he) and we answered if we could. We were in competition with each other for grades. Nobody worried about our self-esteem and nobody ever suggested we work in teams. Original thought was not encouraged. I didn’t learn about that till I got to college. Frankly, as a kid I was bored to death in school. But the result of my schooling is that my instinctive way of learning is linear, set up by rigorous training in what now seems like a very constipated logic.

Anyone over the age of fifty probably knows what I am talking about. We’ve been trained to think narrowly and deeply, attacking subjects separately and one at a time. We follow one train of thought down a logical trail to its conclusion. Those born after 1970, as I observe them in my travels through web 2.0 social networking sites, are wired quite differently. They think in hyperlinks-- jumping from one thing to another with ease and without confusion. I am fascinated by their ability to think broadly and cross pollinate ideas. They are amazingly creative. On the other hand, I am sometimes appalled at their lack of specific factual knowledge and seeming unwillingness or inability to consider nuances or entertain dissent about a given topic. In the real world I am terrified by their ability to multi task. You haven’t lived until you have watched a 19 year old simultaneously drive a car, take a picture with her cell phone and post it on the internet while talking to you about something completely unrelated.

I blush to admit that I have never taken a picture with my cell phone or made a video with my webcam.....something the average twelve year old can pull off with aplomb. The most I can handle is paper jams in my printer….. and I still like to print things out. There is comfort for me in the printed page. I like storing hard copies of things in physical folders instead of on my computer. It’s familiar, linear and tactile like the way my brain is wired. I like books too. There is something incredibly satisfying about sitting in a comfortable chair and turning real paper pages. Funny, that in the fifteenth century it was access to books that changed the paradigm and today they are old hat. Today the web is the new printing press. It's the free and open marketplace of information that connects humans to other humans everywhere and takes the exchange of goods, information and ideas to an undreamed of level. I may be an old dog learning new tricks, but I still feel so lucky to be a part of what is, in my opinion, the seminal event of the last 400 years. I can't wait to see what happens next.

I wonder what Johann Gutenberg would think of the Kindle.

An Old Fashioned Help Desk

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Comments 54 comments

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

Robie,

What an awesome comparison. I do think the printing press and the Internet have both changed the world in significant ways. I too am an old dog, trying to learn new tricks, but am so amazed at how much fun it is to learn. Perhaps Johann Gutenberg would think it is just a "kick in the head"!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Ah well, Doghouse, I bet Gutenberg would be surprised at the impact his invention has had on Western civilization. he died poor and un-sung. (Check out the video) But I bet you are right--he would have liked the internet.


pgrundy 8 years ago

Great hub robie! Remember MS DOS commands? LOL! No sooner did I learn those than they went the way of the dinosaur, which is where I'm going too! I really see the change between generations at work. The kids born into the computer age are so savvy they are like aliens to me--they can do all these magical technological things without thinking and do three of them at once. Text messaging is the one that overwhelms me--the first time I tried to enter a chat room I thought I was going to explode, WAAAAAY too much going on all at once. My brain doesn't move that fast.

Did you know John McCain has never gone online, ever? Doesn't know how. When asked about it in an interview he answered that Cindy does all that for him. And this guy wants to be President. I mean geez, at least TRY John, do it once so you don't look like such a codger! LOL!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi pg--Well one of the reasons I became a Mac girl in 1993 was so i wouldn't have to deal with MS DOS. :-) I found it very intimidating at the time and I did love my Macs. My last one was a G3 which is still sitting in my attic.

I'm fascinated by the way twenty somethings and younger think--in awe really and I do think their brains are wired differently. As for McCain....yet more evidence that he is too damn old and out of touch. . I wish he'd just go down to the senior center and play bridge or something--maybe they have free computer lessons there for him. LOL

Seriously, I have two friends who won't use a computer--don't even have email. It limits them terribly in so many ways they are unaware of. It's like being illiterate--you can get by without knowing how to read but not very well. Do we need that in a Prez? No way.


MJ Dakota 8 years ago

Wow, how I relate to this post! I too remember the typewriter as I used it to publish a HOA newsletter. When computers came along I was in heaven! No more white out, spell check replaced my dictionary and no need to go and make copies for mailing, just print!!

My children were on the computer at the age of 2 and they blow me away with their surfing knowledge and don't even get me started on the text messaging. LOL

Great Hub and an awesome comparison on inventions and change.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Robie, I love this! Even for a "young" 39-year old, I remember quite clearly learning how to type on a regular typewriter in high school. In my first job as a lawyer in 1993, they were just starting to use email. During our summer jobs, the interns shared a single computer in the library. How far we have come! I guess I consider myself in-between the 2 worlds - the one of which you speak in the past, and the new web 2.0 world. There has got to be a unique way to characterize those of us born in the mid-late 1960s to the mid-1970s.....

A big thumbs up and thank you for sharing your wonderful writing and perspective


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Such a great hub, Robie! I used to teach a class in the mid 90's called "Intro to Netscape Navigator" and the people in the class would look at me like I had two heads for the first hour or so. The online world was so different then! I fall into the same generation as Steph. By high school computers were becoming mainstream. In college I was furious that they only had pc's in the computer rooms. How dare they!

I remember teaching my mom,an extremely reluctant student how to use word, excel and outlook. She agreed only because she had to for her job. Now, she walks around with her Blackberry glued to her hand and is texting her college aged granddaughter. :)

Anyway, I so enjoyed this hub! Loved reading your take on things, as always!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks M. Dakota-- it's so nice to know I'm not the only one:-)

Hi Amy and Steph and thanks for your wonderful, personal comments. I guess you guys are the generation in the middle--the bridge so speak between the old and the new. You have a foot in both camps... the 1965-75 crowd should have its own name Steph. And Amy-- remember when Netscape Navigator was cutting edge? LOl I remember Netscape was one of the first internet companies to go public with an IPO and there was all kinds of Wall Street talk about it--Netscape was theFirefox of its day LOL Kudos to you and your Mom -- I certainly identify with her fear. I can still be a real technophobe sometimes. it's like hanging on to the windowsill with your fingernails because you are afraid you are going to fall and then finding out when you let go that you were standing on the ground all the time :-)


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Robie, that is just perfect hub for 'our generation'! Old fashioned type writers, sometimes even electronic, though...later 8 bit micro processors such as Intel 8086/8088, Motorola 6502, 6510, 6809, 68000, Zilog Z80: Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari, IBM PC XT, Apple Lisa, Apple Mac...all the way up to the modern Windows Vista and Apple Mac ultra powerful computer systems. Broadband Internet is transforming the entire world society very fast.

Still, I love old fashioned and thick books even more today...Robie, could you imagine old monks in monasteries hundreds of years ago, handwriting wonderfully ornate colorful books, which cost a fortune in that time?


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hello Solarshingles-- yes from the typewriter to Windows Vista-- it has been a very fast ride, hasn't it? And yes, I too love books. There is something wonderful and solid about a book. Amazing that when the printing press was invented by Gutenberg, very few people had access to them and after printing started the world changed bigtime--just like it is changing today because people could communicate and get information in a new and different way. The computer has changed the world the way the printing press did and we are barely at the beginning.

As for those monks--I've seen a few illuminated manuscripts in museums and they are so beautiful--when I think of the discipline and skill it must have taken to produce them, I imagine that it must have been a great labor of faith and love. The invention of the printing press gave us something but took something away too. Every advance in technology is like that, I guess. The internet has given us so much, but it too has its dangers:-)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It's always good to see you:-)


LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

LdsNana-AskMormon 8 years ago from Southern California

We've Come A Long Way Baby! But, in such a relatively short time.

What an enjoyable and informative Hub on the advancements in communications. Thank you.

tDMg

LdsNana-AskMormon


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi LDS Nana --we have come a long way haven't we-- and this is only the beginning. Imagine what the coming decade will bring. Who would have imagined a decade ago that people from all over the world could meet in a virtual place and write and share ideas and call it Hubpages LOL thanks for reading and commenting. Good to see you.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Hi robie2. Great hub. It reminds me what an old fogey I am these days though. When I left school at 16, in 1976, I went to work in a big civil service department which was already computerised. The computers were huge, and they were kept in an air-conditioned room, and tended by men in lab coats.

The other day I typed out a letter at work, and typed c.c. on the bottom because a copy was being sent to a second person. 'I wonder what c.c. stands for?' I mused to my colleague, thinking that it was some archaic piece of Latin. 'Carbon copy', he replied. Not quite Latin, but still archaic!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hello Amanda-- lovely story about c.c. LOL Then there is bcc which stands for "blind carbon copy"--funny how vestiges of the past follow us into the future, isn't it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and sharing your memories of the pre-PC age.


desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

I'm with you!  I can remember when a computer program or monitor that had WYSIWYG (whizzywig) was a big deal...and now, 20 years later,,,does anyone under 45 know what this means or cares? And re: above comment, my husband says I'm the only person he knows who remembers that FAX is short for the actual word Facsimile.  Ah, the wisdom of the ancients that we hold for succeeding generations!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

What you mean everyone doesn't know that fax is short for facsimile????<grin> Ahhh yes Desert Blondie-- the wisdom of the ages indeed. I recently saw a 14 year old girl whose cell phone was dead, try to figure out how to work a rotary dial wall phone. She called it an "antique" phone and I had to show her how it worked. I'm still laughing--guess I am the antique eh?? thanks for reading and commenting. Good to see you as always.


Toms Cabin profile image

Toms Cabin 8 years ago from Australia

Do you remember the gelatin duplicator or jellygraph? It involved transfer of an original page document, prepared with special inks, to a pan of gelatin or a gelatin pad pulled tight on a metal frame. At school my teachers would suffer through this process to give us our printed handouts. Some things definately change for the better.

Given the impact the internet has had on our lives it is a little bit scary. The simple introduction of a new bit of software can take our lives in directions we never dreamed about. And then along came Hubpages...


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I had my first computer back in the late 1990's and fell in love with the Internet. It opened up the world for me, I was able to communicate with people half across the country, and learn so much by finding information on practically every subject. 

 I am hearing impaired and cannot use the telephone, so you can imagine how cool it is for me to be able to jabber away. When I travel, I have my trusty Blackberry to email my mate, or sis or friends, so I never feel the vulnerability of not being able to communicate.  I can't fathom someone not using a computer at all in this generation if they are of at least average intelligence, it is now the equivalent of being illiterate, so when I heard Mccain has never sent an email, I said to myself that's not good for a president, nope!

Another good hub, Robie!  


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Toms Cabin and Violet Sun and thanks for your personal memories of this journey in a brave new world. VS-- thanks for reminding me what a boon the computer is in opening up communication for the hearing impaired and for many other people with specific needs as well. I'm so glad you shared that.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I share with you the excitement of seeing what happens next. The printing press has had 569 years to work its magic on our ability to communicate, the Internet a mere 38.

One thing that strikes me these days is how much information I unintentionally communicate in the beat of a butterfly's wing, because of the Internet. A friend of mine told me the other day that she was up very early, browsing HubPages, and noticed that I had left a comment on someone's Hub just a few minutes earlier. She was tempted to call me, knowing I was awake, but then thought better of it...perhaps I would think she was spying on me! So there, in my early-morning Hub comment, I coughed up a moment of my personal space in time for the Hub world to see.

It's a new world we're headed for, and the Internet will be one of its primary shapers.

As always, Robie, a thoughtful and thought-provoking Hub.


ResumePro profile image

ResumePro 8 years ago from Jamestown, PA

Robie2,

Hi, I think I am a new fan of yours! You and I would have made great partners in 1994 when I presented a college honors project called "Textmorph: The Coming Internet Revolution and the End of the Age of Print" in which I predicted all kinds of tech advancements, which to my surprise all came true within a year! One prediction was that students would one fine day be able to e-mail assignments back and forth with their professors. AH HA! Within two years, every student at my college was required to start freshman year with a laptop computer. :-)


2patricias profile image

2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

WE think that as 2 women over 50, we are pretty amazing to have our own website (http://www.looklovely.net) Of course, our kids don't think there is anything special at all about working out how to do something new!

Robie, this is a great hub - the Gutenberg printing press changed the world almost beyond imagining, and we think that the Internet has done the same.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hello all of you and thanks for the great comments

Sally's Trove--it is amazing how much is out there isn't it-- just try googling your own name sometime-- it's a bit scary:-) Is 6am a good time to call you?LOL

ResumePro-- I definitely need to be a fan of anyone with such good taste in hubs:-) Thanks for sharing all that--it is amazing isn't it? As ST said it took 500 years for books to make the kind of changes in society that the computer has made in just a few decades.

2Patricias-- I just went and took a look at your website and I love it! Keep up the good work--great beauty and fitness tips--especially for women "of a certain age" I've bookmarked it to look at more closely later. Thanks for stopping and commenting.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hi Robie - Great hub. The Internet is the biggest change agent we've seen for a very long time. Wireless was another, especialy in its expansion between the two World Wars. TV less so, because it's just wireless with pictures. More addictive, but basically more of the same. But the biggest difference with the Internet is that it is interactive and proactive, or can be. It's not just about sitting in a chair being talked at.

I still like books :)


Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

I was born in 1962, learnt to type on a portable (thats a typewriter not a laptop LOL) and bought my first computer in 1987 - an amiga - it wa very cool as it ran CPM on a disck not a tape (as in a tape recorder tape)! I made good money in London in the late 80's because although I knew WordPerfect well offices had all sorts of word precoessing packages e.g. wordstar and if the girl was a way the boys couldn't print anything - lol - I used to be spent out for a minimm 3 hour call out to figure out how to turn the thing on and print LOL ! At the same time I once at only got to send a telex - the office still used them to communicate with Africa - Ithink - faxes were a bit new then !


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hey Robie - At this moment, your hubber score is 100! Congratulations! I thought I'd let you know in case you missed it :)


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

Great hub. you certainly stirred up some nostalgia for me. I worked for 20 years in the newspaper and magazine arena and was one of the pioneers of electronic editing In South Africa in the early seventies. we replaced Hot metal galleys with cold type using phototypesetters. We intially used Composition Systems Incorporated (CSI)systems with  Dec 1170's linked together with Motorola based "green screens" hanging on the the linked Dec's. The programs were kept on The DEC's in Machine code and downloaded to the Motorola's via dual links from seperate computers for fail safe purposes.The system was written especially for us (The Argus Group in South Africa).

On reflection perhaps I should do a hub on the transformation of typesetting in South Africa inspired by your hub. This was of course long before the internet.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Hi Robie,

My introduction to the computer came in the mid 90s.  My son had one, and when I would visit, he'd be sitting there typing away on the computer.  I was only slightly curious.  He showed me how it worked, explained some of the things one could do on it, and at that time, it held no interest for me.  After many visits, with his asking me every time why don't I get one, I finally relented.  He built my first computer, brought it to my house and set me up.

There were months and months of me calling him, saying, hey, something weird is going on, what did I do wrong?  or, how do I go here, or there, or, I need you to come fix this thing.   I will never forget one time, after pretty much getting the hang of the contraption, I was talking to someone through an IM.  In the midst of my typing, I would see nothing but gibberish being typed, then a word, ghost, then more gibberish.  This went on for several minutes when I called him and said, there is something very wrong here.  I explained to him what was happening, and he simply said, the computer must be haunted.  Well! that was no explanation.  I said please, you don't understand, I cannot communicate.  People I talk to are asking me what the hcek am I trying to say, because all they saw was a string of random letters then the word ghost.  Well, he came to the house, did some stuff, and said ok, you should be ok now.  He didn't give me an explanation to exactly what caused that to happen, nor did I ask.

Then, a year or so later, that topic came up about how strange an experience that was.  I look at my son, and he is laughing.  So I said, well yes, it's funny now, but it wasn't then.  He kept laughing, then it dawned on me.  He had played a practical joke on me.  He was doing that to my computer from his home.  Don't ask me how, I have no clue, nor do I want to know. 

It has become one of the many 'fond' memories of my owning a computer.  Oh, and I still love my son :)

Thanks for sharing a wonderful hub, as always,

Trish


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Paraglider-- thanks for your comment. You remind me that wireless used to mean radio and now it means how I connect to the internet from my laptop LOL. The telephone was another biggie I imagine. I understand that before the telephone big cities had two or three mail deliveries a day and people carried on "conversations" by mail. i do think thought that the internet is a kind of paradigm shift that humankind has not seen in 500 years since Mr. Gutenberg's invention--and we are just at the beginning--oh braave new world:-)

BTW, I just noticed the 100 hubscore --thanks for pointing it out, I'm thrilled, I have to admit and have no idea why--I better enjoy it while it lasts LOL


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Lissie-- how good to see you and thanks for the personal reminiscences-- I remember those days well. I had a Wang word processor in the '80's at work and they sent me to Wang school to learn how to use it-- you can just imagine the office jokes LOL

Sixtyorso--the world of paste ups and galley proofs is as far away from us now as the world of illuminated manuscripts--but I too have my moments of nostalgia and like to think that those of us trained in those early days have skills that still serve us well. I'm looking forward to your hub:-)

Trish-- I'm laughing myself silly over this. Your son has a good sense of humor and so do you, obviously. I remember when my son loaded a bunch of fonts on that first Mac of mine and used up so much memory that the thing wouldn't work. He had to remove all but six of them LOL.

Thanks to you all for these wonderful personal reminiscences-- It's been quite a road that all of us older folks have traveled in the last decade or so--but soooooo interesting and exciting.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

Robie: What a great hub. I too, was captivated with the net back in 1995 when I first plugged in my 14.4 dial up speed demon. LOL. So much has changed since then. If I hadn't been in the start up years of my business, I'm sure I would have been a tech guru like my older brother is now. He told me the internet was going to be huge. I wasn't as sure as he was. That's why I'm where I'm at (without grudges) and he helps run the IT department at Scottrade. Excellent job.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Rob-- thanks for the comment. I was Dolly dial-up for years and thought I was a speed demon with my old external modem too. Come to think about it my computer was pretty clunky too:-) The pace of change is so fast--it's very exciting-- oh brave new world eh?


usguide profile image

usguide 8 years ago from California

At this moment, your hubber score is 100! Congratulations! Wow!!!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Guess I missed my brief moment of fame and glory:-) It's 96 now. But thanks for letting me know and thanks for stopping by usguide.


FRANCINE ST MARIE profile image

FRANCINE ST MARIE 7 years ago from Formerly of Heathen Peak

You're wonderful--I truly enjoyed this article! Thank you for it.

--Francine


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks, Francine. I'm so glad you liked this:-)


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

VERY well done. I admit that I'm behind in the learning the technology and I think it is because it is chaning so fast. They didn't have to worry about that with the Gutenberg Press. They enjoyed for a LONG time.


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Good point RGraf--and we are still enjoying books to this day--well, at least some of us are:-) The printed page made it possible for anyone to learn to read and think. The internet is doing the same thing and we are only beginning to feel the profound changes it is bringing-- only much faster, as you point out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

This was GREAT, and such an apt comparison! Aside from bringing up a lot of fond memories around typewriters and carbon copies, it made me think of Diderot and the encyclopedia, of all things! Imagine if the guy came back and was introduced to the wonders of Wikipedia!


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

LOL at Diderot and Wikipedia--as Mark Twain( I think) said: "History doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes"-- glad you liked this on and thanks for reading and commenting:-)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

What a fascinating hub!

I'm probably among the oldest people who grew up with computers as "normal". My Dad bought two Amstrads when I was about 7, and my sister and I got a Spectrum 128k +2 the same year. I got an Amiga when I was 12, and from that time on, typed everything.


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Glad you liked it and I envy you your organic familiarity with technology. I'll never get it but I'll never stop trying:-)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

My mother reckons it's the same difference as being a native speaker and learning a new language as an adult.


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Well put-- it is just like that-- no matter how computer literate I become, I will always have a "foreign accent"LOL


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

When my mother was at Cambridge in the late 60s, the university had A Computer. Took up several buildings, and she never saw it (-:


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

yup-- those buildings were climate controlled and the whirring buzzing machines were quite mysterious. Programs were fed into them on these funny punch cards. It was a totally different world.


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

I have enjoyed reading your Hub and the responses following it.  They all bring back memories. 

It’s amazing how much I have forgotten in my endeavor to keep up with new technology.  Way way way back when, I couldn’t get over how much time it saved when I learned short hand.  The use of the getsetner and the electric typewriter was a total shock to the system.  Today new technology seems a daily event. 

I have been nicknamed Inspector Gadget because I love all those new electronic toys even though I know how quickly “new” becomes “old school - I just can’t help myself.  *grin*


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Well hello Duchess:-) nice to meet someone who remembers the old IBM selectric-- remember the little ball that you could remove to change fonts? It's hard to imagine that there are functioning adults running around today who have never used a typewriter-- but then that's what makes life exciting. Thanks so much for sharing your personal memories and opinions on this and for taking time to read and comment. Nice to meet you and I'll be looking forward to reading your hubs:-)


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 5 years ago

We are still in a transitional age. I am actually surprised by how often I meet people who rarely use a computer and are scared to death of the internet.

I have heard many brain researchers argue that multi-tasking is a myth. It seems that people are able to do things simultaneously, but in reality, they are doing nothing particularly well when "multi-tasking." So your brain might not be hardwired as differently as it seems. It is definitely true, however, that kids are very comfortable in this technological universe that is unfolding.

I'm a history teacher, and I just wrote a hub about the potential impact of the digital age on the future of historical writing and human memory. Like you, I believe that we are seeing something unfold that will be at least as revolutionary as the printing press:

http://hubpages.com/education/Will-You-or-I-Be-Rem...

Thanks for writing.


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

And thank you, Freeway Flyer, for stopping by here and commenting. Loved your hub. Left a comment and am following you now-- nice to read something so intriguing and thought-provoking. Welcome to Hubpages. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

:) you got me smiling there with this hub. My mum is a little over 50 and she's angry when I start thinking in hyperlinks. She wants to learn how to use the Internet and gets angry when I'm too fast with moving around on the screen or typing. She always says: "You don't have any patience. You're not a good teacher to me. Why do you expect me to understand these things so quickly?" She does take pictures with her cell phone, though, and she knows how to use Skype and the web cam lol I have to show her this hub!

P.S. Here's a funny, true story about television: my mum told me that she remembered when the first black-and-white television showed up in the neighbourhood. The people would gather around in the evening (that's when the program would start) and wear their best suits and dresses for the occasion. When the TV host said: "Good evening, ladies and gentleman!" - they would reply "Good evening!" LOL They thought the TV host could see them from the other side of the screen. That's why they wore their best clothes and politely greeted the TV host. I think that was so cute and funny!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Vox, and thanks for the delightful comment. Glad I made you smile and tell your mum that using the internet is like adapting a recipe. You are a lone in the kitchen about to make beef stew for four people when you suddenly discover ten people are coming to dinner and you don't have any been but you do have a chicken....... you think outside the box and end up making a big chicken fricasee that will feed ten.... the internet is like that-- you just keep trying different things till something works.

Yes, I remember those early days of TV-- we used to go to a neighbor's house and they would have chairs set up in the living room in rows like it was a movie theater. We would watch Milton Berle( google him if you want to know who he was) and then the hostess would make popcorn. I was a little kid so I would fall asleep but the grown ups would politely say goon-night like it was a party at the end-- I would be dragged back home half asleep LOL -- I think it was not only a different world, but a different planet:-)


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

I see, Mr.Television a.k.a uncle Miltie. He had an interesting life and I believe that he well deserved his induction into the California Hall of Fame. Nice metaphor with the chicken and all (lol). Yes, Internet does require a lot of adapting.


halodaemon 3 years ago

I'm 20 and I started using the web regularly around the time the "cool kids" were starting to migrate from MySpace to Facebook. Ever since, I've "grown up" on the web. When I encounter an unfamiliar term or concept, my first instinct is to look it up on Wikipedia. I often go on late night "wiki walks" and then find myself adding hyperlinks to my internal monologue when I think about real life.

As a software developer with an unusual amount of free time, I challenge myself to learn frequently new technologies, techniques, and ways of thinking. Above all, I enjoy it ("how much does it interest me" is the supreme arbiter of the time I invest into something), but I also make an active effort to prevent myself from being limited to one pattern.

Even as open-minded as I consider myself, The future terrifies me. I know older people who are smarter than me and yet seem to have a limited ability to understand new technology. Interacting with them is a humbling experience because it makes me realize that I can't even predict the ways future generations' perception of me will be parallel to my perception of people generations older than me. The general thought is "If people smarter than me--often more knowledgable about computer science itself--struggle to adapt to a lifestyle that comes naturally to me, how much farther behind the times will I be when a new generation is born into a new technology I couldn't even imagine at a young age?"

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