What kind of technology existed around your house as a child?
Let me see now, we had a television, a radio, a record player and a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
What technology do you remember coming into your home for the first time?
I remember when I first bought a microwave oven. It was the late 80s or early 90s. It was such a boon as David and I were both working full time. I also remember him buying his first compute. It was a Commodore Vic 20, soon replaced by a Commodore 64.
What kind of televisions or radios did you have – post pictures if you can find them.
I don’t remember what kind of television we had when I was a child. I do remember when colour TV started in Australia in 1975. Naomi bought herself a National TV. She still has it, it’s in the garage. She has another old black & white TV downstairs as a display piece.
Old television sets could be lovely pieces of furniture in woodgrain cabinets. I did admire flat screen TV’s when they first appeared though. I could see how much space you could save in a small room. Of course, back then they were not the enormous things they are today.
How did music technology change in your lifetime? When was the last time you purchased music? In what form was the music?
We’ve gone from vinyl records, 45 RPM and 33 1/3 RPM to cassettes, to CDs to MP3 files to now when everyone streams their music. I do remember 78 RPM records too but they were already on the way out when I was a child. I remember the first stereo records and record players, then there was quad which seems to have disappeared. I have seen but don’t really know anything about cartridges. We had cassette players as teenagers but not a Boom Box.
I haven’t bought any music for quite some time. The last time I did I downloaded it from iTunes. I don’t currently have a record player or CD player in the house so I mostly listen to streamed music. Naomi has a lot of music stored on her computer and we have that on a lot.
I do kind of miss albums though. You didn’t just get a record, there was the cover art, often with information about the artists and the song lyrics printed on the back. Sometimes there would be inserts with booklets, photos and other goodies. CDs were just not the same.
Did you have a home computer? If so, what was it? Did you have a webcam? Did you stream content with it?
As I mentioned David bought a Vic20 and later a Commodore64. I didn’t really understand them at the time. I did learn to use it for writing letters but I found it difficult and time consuming and didn’t really take to computers until Windows arrived. We bought a Pentium computer with Windows 95 and I started to learn about how to use it. I even went to a class. Since them you might say computers and I have been inseparable. I did have a webcam on one of the early computers but didn’t really use it. I’m not really comfortable showing my face on camera. . Streaming had not been invented yet.
What kind of phone did you have? Do you have a landline today?
We didn’t have a phone in the house when I was growing up. That might explain my lifelong hatred of them. We got a landline phone when we bought our first house back around 1978. I didn’t get a mobile phone until decades later. I still do have a landline although it is less useful these days because it is connected through the internet. If the NBN goes down or we have an outage I can’t use it. However, I like to have it because I don’t like giving my mobile number to everyone.
Did you have toys with integrated technology, robots, automation, etc?
Not really, we had clockwork toys, battery operated toys and of course the electric train set.
What technology ‘blew your mind’?
There are so many amazing pieces of technology it’s hard to pick just one. The internet is like magic really. One really useful piece of modern technology that I’ve seen is parking assist. It really blew me away the first time I saw (on TV) a car parking itself.
When did you get your first cell phone? What brand and model was it? Did you carry a pager?
I think that the first mobile phone I had was either a Nokia or a Motorola. It was what I think they call a bar phone. Later I had a succession of Motorola clamshell phones which I preferred. It is a bit vague in my mind now whether I got it before I left the railways in the late 90s or a bit later in the early 2000s. We may have bought one when I was working at night so I would know when David had arrived to pick me up but I have distinct memories of using payphones so I’m not sure. The only time I ever carried a pager was for a short time when I was working at a hotel in North Adelaide and relieving the supervisor.
Is there any current technology you refuse to own or have in your home?
Not really. I don’t own a smart watch because the only thing I need a watch to do is tell the time. I don’t need it to monitor my health or pay my bills for me. I wouldn’t refuse to have it in the house. I just don’t care about them. The other current technology I absolutely refuse to use is self-service checkouts at the shops. I’ll wait for a human being thank you very much.
Final comment: Apart from the computer I think the the technology that has meant the most to me is digital photography. No more worrying about running out of film, expensive processing and having to wait to see your photos.