Chalkboard with a real lightbulb sitting on a drawn thought bubble

That was then, this is [current_date]…

How have changes in technology changes how I do things now? In a nutshell, I spend much more time with devices now. Let me explain.

Olympia Electric Typewriter
Olympia Electric Typewriter

Remember typewriters? Those keyboard contraptions that eventually became available as powered models. You roll in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ blank piece of paper (or if you wanted duplicates, two or three pages with carbon paper in between them) and heaven forbid is you made a mistake! Erasing led to liquid white out, then the dry white out (no drying time!) either little white out papers that you would use until there was not correcting film left in them or the white out tape that you could install in the typewriters directly.

I spent so many hours typing final project reports during my senior year in high school. The longest one was 120 pages long, a analysis and research report on the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello.

IBM PC Model XT 5160, Intel 80286
IBM PC Model XT 5160, Intel 80286

I began using computers in 1992, after having a friend show me this new “internet” thing. Not too soon after, the strange and annoying sound of dial-up at 14K, 28K and 56K (oh my!) seemed like music to my ears. I had learned to program in BASIC, PASCAL and FORTRAN in 1984, but had not had the chance to use those skills for a few years. In 1992, I purchased my very own computer, a used IBM 80286 with a 5 1/4″ floppy disc drive and learned DOS to get the machine to do cool stuff. Pretty soon thereafter, I learned about viruses via my very own Michelangelo virus given to me via a free games disc.

One thing I have thought as technology advances more and more is how easy it is to choose the tools or technologies that fit our needs and/or are the most popular. What is difficult is to maintain a level of literary sophistication in whatever we use, keeping a keen eye on credible and peer-reviewed sources for our information and use critical discernment in what we read and share. Whether I consume or share data bytes from my phone, iPad or laptop, I try to keep reminding myself to keep it “real”.

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