Products of the Past

June 13, 2010

A teacher arranged her young students into a circle. She then went around the circle and asked each one a question.

“Robert, what sound does a cow make?”

Robert replied, “It goes ‘moo.'”

“Albert, what sound does a cat make?”

Albert said, “It goes ‘meow.'”

“Oscar, what sound does a lamb make?”

Oscar said, “It goes ‘baaa.'”

“Noel, what sound does a mouse make?”

Noel paused, and said, “Uhh … it goes … ‘click…click!'”

This is the age of technology

There was a time when mouse used to be a rodent and windows were fixtures inside your home. Today you have mouse, wireless mouse, mouse that operates with radio frequency, track pads are replacing the mice. Disruptive technologycy is here to stay. There was a time when it took a long time before a new product was accepted in the market place. Today the market eagerly awaits the launching of the next big thing in technology

I was giving a seminar then and people began to smile, some were giggling and a lot more of them began laughing. I asked, “What’s going on?” One brave soul responded and said, “Francis, you said we need to read books and we need to listen to tapes. But nobody listens to tapes anymore.” “Oh boy, “ I told myself, caught in a time warp. How could I have missed that?

After giving a talk, one lady approached me and said, “Francis I love your talk. Have you recorded it in a cassette?” “Cassette?” I half smiled but that’s exactly what happened to me. The only difference is that I said, “Tape.”

This makes me think. What has happened to the products of the past? The hits? The wonders? The breakthrough technology that made the world marveled? Products like:

  1. The video recorder? (Circa 1983) The one with the flashing 12:00? Never figured out what that function was for anyway.
  2. Brick (circa 1990) – I remember my first cell phone was a phone named ANTEL. Compare the size of that today to the newer ones my first cell phone was as small as my Coleman Water Jug. You charge the battery for 8 hours and you get to use it for only 2.
  3. Cloning (same time) – The biggest worry at that time was not virus but cloning in an Analog platform not digital.
  4. Let’s go back – way back. Remember phones had party-lines and you fight them all the time?
  5. What about Caller ID (circa 1995) – Staring at a number that came in and you shock the callers by knowing it was them.

And for those who first saw the light in a hospital after 1990, a quick fad then was called the DAT. DAT stands for Digital Audio Tape. Sony Corporation introduced this in the mid-1980’s. This replaced the old cassettes that really lasted many years.

And the CD’s came into the picture and is now losing ground to Ipods and MP3 Players. A couple of years back I remember entering the last 2 days of Tower Record’s existence in America and everything in there was sold for just $2 and less. Today online music purchasing gains momentum everyday.

My son plays the drums for a popular band. He says that their first hit became a hit without a CD. It was placed on-line and people here and even in places as far as Belgium and Germany listened to it.

Products of the past. I wonder why as I think about them the same products bring back memories of events tied to the same.

And what about future products?

I read about scientists and researchers developing the next generation paper battery. A supercharged battery that can be bent, rolled, twisted and cut to size like a piece of paper. It looks like the next great thing; a breakthrough technology which becomes today’s hit would in a short span of time quickly turn into tomorrow’s museum piece.

May I make a suggestion? Don’t be too much of a hurry in having to HAVE that new toy. You spend a great deal for it and then a few months later that “new” thing will be left with just the “thing” when the novelty of newness is gone. Just because you are using an old cell phone does not mean you’re second-class and old. It may mean you are frugal and practical that’s all.

Somebody says: “The world is getting complicated. Somebody just gave me a battery operated paperweight.” And you’re probably asking, “Paperweight? What’s that?”

Don’t let technology complicate your life. Live it simply but live it to the full. With or even without the latest technology.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Arnel Cayabyab

    Good day, Sir! I just finished reading your book, “DUH?!!”. I learned a lot from it and I really enjoyed reading it.

    Some products from the past that I also remember:

    1. In the early 1980s, before Nintendo came out with their family computers/NES gaming consoles, they had Game & Watch (now they also have it for Nintendo DS). This was how it looked like,

    While my classmates had their Atari or ColecoVision consoles, my siblings and I shared this one Game & Watch game. It was also very useful as we used it as our alarm clock to make sure we get to school on time. hehehe.

    2. Beepers were also a fad in the early to the mid-1990s. EasyCall, Starpager, etc. were some of the brands. I remember the difficulty of relaying my message through the operator and finding it funny that after you relay your message slowly and repeating it at least once, the operator still makes a mistake when he/she sends the message.

    I always have lengthy conversations with my siblings or friends when we talk about the past. Whether it be the gadgets, the street games we used to play(sadly, the youth of today are happy with just sitting down and playing on their PC’s, laptops, Wii’s, PS3’s, PSP’s, etc.), old television shows like Knight Rider (which had a sub-par T.V. remake), The A-Team (I have yet to see the present version), or animated series like Mazinger Z, Voltes V and the like…

    Things are changing at such an amazing pace and you really have to be aware to be able to keep up. It was just like yesterday when I taught my parents how to use their Nokia 5110 phones. Now you have touchscreen mobile phones everywhere. However, I believe that as long as we stay informed, we will be able to keep up with the technological advances.

    By the way, Sir Francis. You might have seen this already but I would like to share this YouTube Video about Pranav Mistry and what he calls the “Digital Sixth Sense”. It’s very interesting…

  2. Ramel Fragata

    Wow! definitely true, let’s control the technology not the technology controlling us.

  3. Myrtle

    Party lines? haha! I remember that! I was in gradeschool then.

  4. malou rait

    Actually my thesis proposal is related to technology. And nice knowing from you an additonal info. I am glad i met you personally in our schoolhope to hear/ read lot form you.

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