Where have they gone?

Subtitle “Time to remember”.

When I was in high school, the consumer society began to take shape in Vietnam: beer, cheese, cigarettes, toothpaste and vinyl music albums. Then we moved on to AKAI tape.

By the time I got to the US, the first item I purchased was a portable cassette recorder

(to record music from home, not knowing that someday, they could be digitized, compressed and downloaded).

We used Super 8mm for home filming, and Sony 3/4 inch field recorder for news gathering (some stations still hung on to 16mm film, but this required dark room, which slowed down news processing) while college roommates wouldn’t let their  8-track player out of sight.

Audio Editing back then required one to cut the tape by a razor and scotch-tape it back.

And computer time at the lab meant sitting in the hall with punched cards in hand. Those equipment are now museum pieces. Gone also were names like Zenith and RCA. (BTW Samsung is getting into Medical Device space ).

We have tried so hard to deliver goods and services from point A to point B.

Encoding and decoding the content, medium-agnostic e.g. tin cans, message in the bottle, pigeons.

(in today’s term,  “dumb” phones).

Learning in an analog age was cumbersome e.g. researching a subject (Dewey system) and tabulating the findings.

I posted a BBC clip about the Joy of Stats. The professor was able to show case 200 years of progress in 4 minutes. Comprehensive and captivating.

3-D holographic presentation sure beats the transparencies of the overhead projector (whose bulbs got hot and burned out quickly, often times, in the middle of the spill).

Or the slide trays which “sync” pulses on music tracks, and we called that multi-media.

It is hard for today’s teens to comprehend the pre-Google pre-YouTube age. And just for amusement, we can show them a picture of mobile movie box (often on bicycle). I spent a large chunk of my allowance on those Charlie Chaplin clips with head stuck inside the dark drape.

The kids I hung out with, Pierre, mixed French and Vietnamese, Ali, Indian and other half-breed French kids in the neighborhood. where have they gone? And the technology and tools I was used to, where have they all gone as well.

To be sustainable, we will have to do away with resource-intensive tools.

And to accommodate a larger crowd on spaceship Earth, we will have to learn to negotiate in this new economy of hope.  In San Francisco, they are now testing a car-sharing model with many benefits e.g. help pay the bills, reduce CO emission and require less parking space.

If you come to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

And marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge, which still stands uncontested throughout the rise and fall (and reinvention) of Silicon Valley. That I found reassuring. A bridge from point A to point B . It’s still there, so is my resolve to cross it.



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