Author: Jen Talty (page 1 of 5)

Just a 90’s baby in my 80’s Mercedes…

Every time I hear that song, I think of the year I graduated from high school… 1984. Why? Because I was completely and utterly mortified that I had to drive to school on the few days I got to drive to school in my mother’s 1974 Mercedes. I guess that was better than when she had the 1966 (the year I was born) Mercedes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure back in the 70’s it was a sweet ride. But not so much when the ‘it’ cars back then were either a Black Trans Am with a T-Roof and an after factory installed stereo system with a tape player! Or a Yellow Camaro, with the similar system. Not a brown Mercedes with an AM radio!

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This I remember from 1984 without having to think about it:

Like Oh, My, God!

Someone, can’t think of their name, made the “first untethered space walk”. I remember because I thought, wow, wouldn’t that be cool. I want to do that. And back then, I think I did want to do that. Now. No freaking way.

I also remember that Apple Computer started selling the Macintosh Personal Computer and I thought, that will never take on. PC all the way baby! What the hell did I know back then. I was a business/computer major. Macs were for dorks.

I voted in my first election. Ronald Regan defeated Mondale (and not saying I voted one way or the other). During that election I kept thinking back to when I was just in elementary school in the 70’s and there were long lines at gas stations and my dad would tell this horrible joke all the time: “Hey Jenni, guess what I saw today? I saw a Ford on a truck and a Dole on a Banana.” Har har, real funny Dad.

Who can forget the famous Oscar speech by Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me!”

Like a Virgin was hot.

Purple Rain. Saw it a few oh…dozen times.

I fell in love with Kevin Beacon in Footloose.

But, mostly I think back to the first half of my senior year where I took a Media course and we had to read the book 1984 by George Orwell. The chant at school that year was always, “big brother is watching!” And we often thought the world was spying on us since we kept getting caught doing things we weren’t supposed to be doing…


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Even back then, I was a bit of a tech nut. Typewriters were considered ancient. If you didn’t have at least a word processor, you were so not cool in my book. Of course, I had an original IBM personal computer long before the schools had them. Now Bob’s going to go all, but I had the original Mac whatever. I’m still the coolest tech nut in Cool Gus, just saying. So, the concepts in 1984 fascinated me and actually, the book is what sparked my interest learning more about technology and studying computers and informational systems when I first went to college. I was already into science fiction, but only when it involved Aliens, like ET, but that was summer 1982, so I really digress.

While the 1984 I lived in, with all its bad fashion and big hair bands was not much like the novel (though the overall uniforms was a tad freaky since overalls were kind of hot back then too), there was a scary undertone that the entire class could not deny. As the generation that grew up “learning technology” as opposed to those before me who are still fighting it and those after me who are, well, don’t know life without it. The idea that a fiction writer could be so forward thinking as to write 1984, not knowing that our current world would not only have the capabilities, but using them? And of course, the super secret underground agencies. All so fascinating. Makes you really wonder about the Hunger Games and will our future look something like that, doesn’t it?

Final thought: Did you know that many technologies of the world today came from people and inventors watching the Star Trek TV show? Really. Its true. A topic for next time.

So what do you remember from 1984? The year? The book? Both?

Techno Thursday: Beam Me Up Scotty!

Right now I’m thinking a transporter that can take me from Rochester, NY to Madagascar would be pretty cool considering I hate flying and the trip to Madagascar is pretty long. 3 Planes to be exact. Two of them over 8 hours long. Me not a happy camper. Then again, do I really want all my whatever’s split apart then put back together on the other end? What would happen if a tiny little piece of me got left behind? Would I still be me? Maybe Cool Gus’ Science Advisor can help out with the idea of a transporter and quantum teleportation because that is out my league!

I’m going to stick with the “communicator”, which Captain Kirk never left home…I mean his ship…without one. If he needed some quick info while on some strange faraway planet, all he had to do was take out his trusty communicator and call the Starship Enterprise.

Star Trek aired in 1966. We landed on the moon in 1969. That was broadcasted on televisions across the nation. In 1973 a senior engineer at Motorola made the first mobile phone call.

So was Star Trek really ahead of its time.

Oh yeah, baby.

First, the transmission from the moon: NASA had to have stations on three continents. They had to have a 200 foot in diameter radio dish. Ha. I had Dish TV a very long time ago, and I thought 5 feet was huge!

As far as the first mobile phone call? The battery had to charge for 10 hours and it only lasted 30 minutes. Motorola didn’t come out with its first commercial mobile phone until 1983 at the tune of 4,000.00. I shudder to think the roaming charges on that sucker.

While we did have the technology to communicate without telephone wires long before it happened, it always takes a while for the technology to get to the point where the masses can afford them. Or see a need for them. Then can’t live without them.

We think technology moves fast and changes fast. It does, once it gets to the point where everyone is getting one. Cell phones really didn’t become popular (out side of wealthy people) until Nokia and Motorola started making small devices or flip phones at affordable prices, and the cost to use them went down, in the late 90’s. I think today we call them dumb phones. Remember texting on those suckers? The first Blackberry in 1999 was more like a small PDA with a keyboard.

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Have to admit the flip phone looks an awful lot like the communicator!

So the question really is, how much of technology comes from shows like Star Trek?

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And just for fun. Short clip from the original series. Notice the use of the communicator!

Techno Thursday: Back to the Future Part II

We’re gearing up for the release of Nine-Eleven by Bob Mayer, which is a Time Travel novel, so I thought it fitting to actually talk about time travel. The rules of Time Travel are mind boggling. I can barely keep track of the time differences in the different time zone’s my kids live in, much less consider the world of Time Travel and the ramifications that Time Travel could cause. That said, I’m utterly fascinated by Time Travel.

Back to the Future II was released in 1989. I was 23. Married for a year. Still in college. Was using a dot matrix printer. An original IBM PC (still think I’m cooler than Bob with his original Mac whatever). I had finally declared a major of Business Education with a Concentration in Marketing in Sales. I was in it for the computers. Seriously. The class I really wanted to teach was BC/BCA or Business Computers/Business Computer Applications. I worked in the PC computer lab at college. Lotus 1-2-3 and Word Perfect were the best software programs out there. And DOS! Oh the days of the C Prompt.

I frame this because one never knows what our future will look like in say, a short, twenty-five years or so…or do we?

Back to the Future II introduced the concept of head-mounted virtual reality devices.

Here’s my cousin at a family gathering just last year!

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I wish I had a picture of the little box that Bob and his wife Deb got while I was done there a while back on business. Deb tossed it at me and was like, what on earth is this. I was determined to figure it out, as I put it together and stuck my iPhone in it and low and behold, a virtual tour of a City. It was kind of cool that a little box you put together, then insert your phone would do that.

I’m not totally sure the movie created the technology, but there was nothing like that head gear anywhere at the time. And lets face it, fiction writers have very unique imaginations.

What are some of your favorite technologies that came to life after being show in a movie?

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