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My How Things Have Improved With Time

Updated on October 21, 2012

Time has done wonders for us all

Thinking back over my life I have noticed how much technology has advanced and how it has made life simpler and more complex at the same time. Let us see how a few things in our everyday lives have evolved or gone extinct over time.

Television when I was a kid there was a big television in the living sometimes made of wood and sometimes of plastic. It was the center point of the living room and where we all gathered after dishes were done and homework was finished. The family gathered to watch television and the options were not very many. There were 3 main networks NBC, ABC, and CBS. Can you believe that? There were no remote controls so whoever was closest to the television got the honors of changing the channel. That honor usually was given to the child in the family. Channels were sometimes hard to pick up and in my teens we got an antenna to put on the house. This antenna was able to rotate to pick up signals and we felt like we had hit the big time. Before that we had small antennas that were on top of the television and we had to maneuver them to get reception even attaching tin foil to help the process. It may have been in our minds, but it seemed to help. Now you can watch television on your phone or wherever you happen to be what will the future be like when it seems like we have it made right now just as we did back then.

Radio when I was six years old there was this device called the transistor radio. It worked on a battery and for a headphone there was one little ear bud to stick in your ear. It was freedom to take this little thing, put in your shirt pocket and ride on your bicycle. In a nostalgia catalog I see they are still making them today and I am glad to see it. They deserve to be saved from extinction just for the memories they conjure up.

The Typewriter what a great invention. Instead of writing in long hand this machine allowed you to type even faster than you could write and it all looked so neat. First there was the manual typewriter which required no electricity but required strong fingers to tap down the keys. Threading the ribbon in the typewriter required skill and patience. You could get a few uses out of it by reversing the ribbon. Next came the electric typewriter and it seemed you could do things even faster. The ribbon then came on a cartridge, but the ink never seemed to last as long as before. It felt like a money racket for the cartridge people just as the ink for our scanners seems today. The worst part of the typewriter came when you needed carbon copies. This put pressure on the typist because if you made a mistake not only did you have it on one page, but you had it on the three or four pages you typed. One mistake created a lot of hard work and you either had to keep erasing the copies as neatly as possible, use white out, or start all over again. Any of those prospects meant aggravation and lost time. Now we have computers that have made it all so easy I don’t think anyone of given a choice would ever go back to the typewriter.

Recording devices when I was six my Dad had a reel to reel small tape recorder just like the Mission Impossible days. I didn’t really mess with it because it was my Dad’s but I still remember it today for its coolness. When I got older I got a cassette recorder. Oh the fun I had recording my voice and others, doing accents, and singing into it. Some things were better left unrecorded. I also recorded off the radio. Oh the patience I had to listen to the radio until I heard my favorite song. Then quick as wink just as the DJ stopped talking hit the play and record button to get my favorite song. Nothing could be more irritation than the DJ talking through the beginning or interrupting the end of a song I was waiting to record. Thank heavens for today’s MP3 songs that don’t require buying a whole album if you weren’t sure of the group, or waiting to record the song on the radio. One fad I never really got into was the day of the 8 track player. These clunky cartridges took up space and never really sounded as good as a record or cassette player to me. Luckily I didn’t buy but a few of them. Cassettes on the other hand, I had a ton of them. The only flaws in them were the times the tape broke or came unraveled. That could be irritating. Now we have MP3 players that can hold endless albums and that is a beautiful thing. I have a great love of music and now we there is a way to have music at my fingertips at all times.

VIDEO TAPE RECORDER I first purchased one after I got my first job. The machine was expensive at that time and it was as big as a dinosaur. What a wonder it was. You have to be a little savvy to get your shows recorded, but it was worth the trouble it took to enter it knowing you had your shows to watch later. The drawback was a tape that would unravel in the machine or a tape that would snap during a rewind. Not good I had that happen to a few family videos I recorded and the memories are lost forever. Now we have the DVR and I couldn’t be happier. It is much easier to set recordings and it doesn’t have a tape that could snap.

CAMERAS I inherited a love of photography from my Dad and I have had many cameras in my day. Nothing fancy, but to me they were the best. Oh the days of film. Taking pictures you had to be sure to have that loaded in your camera and that could be tricky at times. One time my Dad was using his 8mm camera to film the Thunderbirds. I was oohing and ah hing about his great shots. It turned out he forgot to load the cartridge and he wasn’t filming anything.

The film was on a roll and you had to feed it into the camera. If you didn’t put enough of the film into the slot it wouldn’t wind on to the spool and you would miss some priceless photos. On a roll of film you felt like you had to take just the right shot. If not you would run out of film and have to buy another roll. Now with today’s digital cameras you can take as many photos as you like and not have to worry about spending more money or running out to the store.

This article has felt a bit like Back To The Future. It was fun to think about the gadgets I have seen in my life. They say change is good. I usually disagree because I hate when things change, but in the case of modern technology I have to agree. The gadgets in our lives today have enriched us all. Who knows what the future will hold. After seeing what we have today I don’t see how it could get any better. I guess the same thing was said back in the day.


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