Or: Why, yes, I am ancient.
Not long ago someone asked me what time it was. “Quarter to 2” I replied. And then I was informed that the asking party had never learned time by halves and quarters. Evidently a child of a purely digital age? I had to re-phrase to “1:45” – and explained what the quarters and halves meant. I doubt it took hold, considering who it was that asked.
Every once in a while there’s some young new hire at work and if they stay around for more than a night or two (it’s amazing how many do not realize that ‘night shift’ still means having to do work) I might ask them some questions like…
Have you ever done chemical (film) photography?
Ever waited for ALL the tubes to warm up?
Set the needle in the groove?
Threaded the (open reel) tape?
The movie film?
And it amuses me that by now my aging car has a unexpected theft deterrent for many: a manual transmission.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s if I watched a movie set in the time of its own making (not historical or attempted futuristic) from say the 1930’s to the 1970’s, things worked pretty much the way I saw in life. Lights were generally incandescent. Music was by radio or phonograph (or instrument, had one the talent), phones had dials (the first pushbutton phone I encountered myself was still pulse-dialing as the local phone network wasn’t ready for TouchTone yet – it was oddly disappointing to discover that), Western Union was in the telegram business, and so on.
Now music is often by mp3 and the only moving part might be a speaker or earpiece diaphragm. Lights are more likely to be LED or maybe fluorescent. Phones have buttons or screens – and they (except for businesses and such) connect people rather than locations. Telegrams have become text messages.
I’m sure I’ve missed a good many things, but the idea is there. The old movies that might have looked a bit dated before are apt to look downright foreign to many today.
I will not deny that there has been much real progress. Today’s world is more accessible, more capable, and more survivable due to various advances. But it still jars me some to see microcontrollers used where analog circuitry was once common (“the ubiquitous 555 timer” as an article in Popular Electronics once put it). Though it feels like overkill, the micro is cheaper, less subject to variability, likely needs fewer support components, and more readily tweaked to change behavior if need be.
But every once in a while I think it might be a good idea to get a wind-up alarm clock, just in case. Then, I still have a slide-rule too, though I never really use it.