189 Responses to “Before _______, We Had ________.”

  1. Sloan

    ZOMG this is awesome. I asked my coworker (Who is 19) if she had a Facebook when she was in highschool and she said “Yes, did you? HOW OLD ARE YOU?!?!!!??” I’m 25…

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    • timmer

      I’m starting to imagine that this particular beer company is under the impression we have all lost our sense of touch and is doing us a huge public service by including visual indicators. Or they’re just really drunk over there in the R&D dept.

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  2. jeandayfriday

    Hilarious! I remember driving to the video store and leaving empty handed because all of the good movies were checked out already. Ah, memories! :)

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    • timmer

      Believe it or not, I kinda miss driving to the video store for weekend movie night. Even if all the good ones were taken.

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      • jeandayfriday

        It did make the watch-at-home movie an event in itself, didn’t it? I liked it, too. Sometimes I volunteer to run to the local Redbox for a quick search and rent feeling. Sweet nostalgia.

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  3. setinmotion

    Ahahahaha, only 2 days ago my guy mates were talking about A/S/L and I was like, What are you talking about?? Fun post, thanks for the giggles

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  4. Nicolle

    Do you remember putting together mixtapes? You’d have to listen to the radio and push record for the songs you wanted and make sure to stop recording when a commercial came on.

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    • thelyniezian

      Never heard of mixtapes being specifically tied to taping stuff off the radio, though I did something similar with records and CDs. I just called them “compilations” after the various CDs of various hits from a given era or whatever. They never made any that did exactly what I wanted, so I just made my own!

      Tried doing it off the radio but failed to find enough songs I actually liked.

      Probably not exactly legal under UK law in either case, technically. Even for personal use.

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      • timmer

        It seemed like everyone I knew was recording right off the radio. Napster changed that whole game though.

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  5. Archie

    In India where I am from the Yahoo Messenger introduced ASL into our vocabulary. Oh those were the good old days, Video Stores; pets that actually lived in your house and peed on your floor and not in some computer; writing on your neighbors wall and by that I do not mean an ‘FB Wall’; you could grow plants that you can eat and have families that did not have a blinking diamond on top of their heads…

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    • timmer

      It was a different time. They’ll be saying the same thing 15-20 years from now as kids ride on their hoverbikes!

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  6. Mikalee Byerman

    Ah, maps — the handwritten or the purchased-at-the-mini-mart version! I can’t even tell you how many maps I’ve purchased at AM/PMs in my life…too funny…

    Brilliant post! :)

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    • timmer

      My parents would navigate the family from New England to Maryland on occasional road trips with nothing more than a flip map. I feel like some people now need a GPS to go down the street!

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  7. broadsideblog

    Mixtapes! The coolest way to try to impress someone you liked a lot…as in the movie High Fidelity. I still have a few and treasure them…even though I now have no way to play them. Can you say…33 rpm? Record? Vinyl?

    Huh?

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    • timmer

      I just missed out on vinyl, though my parents had one. I was quite a thing to actually “hold” your music back the.

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    • kibbled

      My local “music” shop recently starting stocking vinyl again. And my Mother still has a working gramophone which plays at 16,331/3rd,45 and 78rpm

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      • timmer

        I forget that music stores (just like video stores) used to be a very viable business model.

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  8. Dounia

    This is such a great post! And the comments brought back just as many memories…I still remember making mixtapes and waiting for the song you want to come on the radio to hit the record button. And I saw someone mentioned ICQ, I remember that too! There are nearly 10 years between my younger brother and me, and just those years make a HUGE difference – he wouldn’t remember tapes, or not using social networking. I remember dial-up internet, he has no clue. It puts things into perspective when you notice just how quickly times change!

    I’ll make sure to share this post, because I’m sure there are so many people who will appreciate it as much as I did! Thanks for this awesome post and congrats on being freshly pressed!!

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    • timmer

      Thanks so much, Dounia! Glad you liked it. I can’t wait for this current generation of kids to complain how their bikes had wheels instead of hovering off the ground.

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    • timmer

      Right. I remember my parents telling me to be somewhere, or home at a certain time. And then I’d go off into the world without a cell phone.

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  9. Jorie

    Congrats on the FP, my friend! I miss the days of Blockbuster, handwritten directions, and those little Disney viewfinders!

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  10. barefoot_med_student

    You made Freshly Pressed AGAIN! I’m thinking they should just have a standing reservation for you ;)
    Anycase, these are awesome. Saw them yesterday but now that you’re FP’ed I felt the need to comment a congratulatory message ;)

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  11. segmation

    Too funny. I tried to explain to my kids about the Viewmaster and they said what a silly thing! Boy has things really changed, right?

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  12. djmatticus

    Fantastic post. It may just be me, but I still use hand written directions and these things called “maps.”

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    • timmer

      I actually prefer to see a printout of the directions before I travel anywhere. That’s pretty old fashioned for a 26 yrd old.

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    • timmer

      Physical objects will be beamed to us. And movies will be in 5 Dimensions (I’m not even sure what that means)

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      • timmer

        I’m split 50/50 on ebooks. I carry a few on my phone out of convenience, but I definitely prefer holding a physical book. I’m also the kind of person that writes in their books and dog ears pages.

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    • timmer

      My parents had some very weird musical players. I grew up right when cassettes were peaking. And then came CDs. And then MP3 took over the world.

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  13. Creative Metaphor

    I remember before the “internet” we had BBSs. With dial-up modems. I remember when I got a 28.8 all my geeky friends were jealous of me, because they all still had 14.4s

    Of course, I also remember telling my co-worker that her new haircut looked cool, like Cindi Lauper, and she said “who?”

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  14. thelyniezian

    Before camera phones we had… actual cameras which may or may not have been disposable. And ‘disposable’ is a misnomer since you took them in to the developers and they sent the body of the camera back for recycling. You got the photos and negatives back. You can still do this, so not really something for the past tense.

    Some of my own:

    Before PVRs/DVRs we had… VCRs. You had to find a tape which had enough space on it and which didn’t contain stuff you wanted to keep, find the exact right place on that tape, look in the TV listings magazine to see exactly when it was on, and key the times into the VCR. Making sure you left a couple of minutes either side just in case your VCR clock was wrong. Later, key the VideoPlus code of the programme in, and the clock would set itself via PDC. Either way, it was a well known ‘fact’ that old people were unable to cope with this complicated process.

    Before remote controls we had… buttons or a tuning knob on the front of the TV to change channels, which you had to get off your backside to do.

    Before digital TV we had… analog[ue] TV: 4 channels of nothing on instead of 40 (or 400) channels of nothing on.

    Before TV we had… lives, probably.

    Before USB memory sticks we had… floppy disks, which could store slightly over a megabyte at most. Fine for plain text, hell for images (wanted to scan an image in to use in your document? Best keep the resolution and colour depth as low as possible) and as for MP3s, forget it.

    Before MP3 downloads we had… charity shops in my case, where second-hand vinyl could easily be picked up for pocket money prices. I must have been the rare late ’90s teenager into ’80s music, so it was perfect.

    Before the Internet we had… computers without the internet. Software you had to go into a shop to buy, though some good stuff could be found on disks on the front of your preferred computer magazine (or, in the ’80s, program listings which you typed yourself!) The multimedia CD-ROM was a poor substitute, but just about adequate for homework.

    We also had lives.

    Before discussion fora and blogs we had… the letters page of the newspaper, probably. The letters section of one local rag seems to be as heated as any political forum discussion.

    Before GUIs we had… the command line. Learn complicated syntax and no mistypes, otherwise lots of frustration.

    And so on.

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    • timmer

      and on and on. So right about the floppy disk vs USB drive though. That would have definitely been an interesting one to do. And I guess you could also say the Polaroid camera was the “instant gratification” precursor that so many point and shoots or cameraphones are today.

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      • thelyniezian

        Indeed- though the trouble is, Polaroid was a rather expensive form of instant gratification- the ‘film’ (or special photo-paper) cost a fair bit more than ordinary film plus development. Digital cameras and camera-phones are ridiculously cheap by comparison.

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  15. Erin McNaughton

    Brilliant! So much more attention to detail was required to navigate life just 10-15 years ago. It’s truly incredible how much things change. Things seem easier, but I think we’re overly inundated by technology and all those things that can’t wait. I just came across this yesterday: What a Crappy Evening in 1998 Looked Like and I bet you and everyone else here would love it!
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/what-a-crappy-evening-in-1998-looked-like

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    • timmer

      It was certainly very interesting not being so connected or plugged in to a network. A little tangential, but when I think of kids now and how their social networks keep them all up to date, it kind of degrades the mystique of summer vacation. There’s no more reason to be interested in what people did or to see how they’ve changed, because they already know! The same could be said for any types of reunion as well.

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      • Erin McNaughton

        That’s such a great point, and so interesting. It’s true–people broadcast everything online, so there’s never anything new to be learned when you reunite. Especially with this younger generation, I’m both curious and nervous to see how they turn out… technology is really changing the playing field.

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      • timmer

        Yearbooks must just not exist anymore. Which actually sounds like a very marketable app, haha.

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  16. Jenn

    This is too good! I remember running to the video store with my friends, just crossing our fingers that they still had copies left
    of the movie we wanted to rent. And if they didn’t, we would stalk around just hoping that someone would come in with a return while we were there!

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    • timmer

      Oh yea! I remember the floor to ceiling displays and still there were no copies left, but you’d still check frantically behind each case.

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  17. Emma

    My roommate and I used a road atlas to drive across the country just last summer. The GPS on her phone was forever giving incorrect directions. Plus, it is so much more fun to look at a physical map than have to deal with the possibility of batteries dying, etc.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and sometimes we marvel at how our communication has evolved since the beginning of our relationship: phone calls and texting, AIM, Myspace, Facebook, Skype. It’s pretty incredible. I’m only 24, but I sometimes feel generations removed from my 18 year old students.

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    • timmer

      That’s awesome though that you just traveled by atlas. It has a very beat generation aura about it. I also remember being a kid and seeing shows that would telephones where you could see the person on the other side. Never imagined that would one day be normal.

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  18. Jean

    I lived through all those phases. Actually…..it gives a person much better appreciation of the technological conveniences today. But it also helps a person live with any technological breakdowns and ability to tune out the noise of some useless Facebook strangers and Twitterers. The world will not crash if you don’t have FB nor Twitter. Nor will a person be a social outcast either.

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    • timmer

      I completely agree about growing up through the tech evolution of social networks and devices. It’s familiar to know how to function without them.

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      • Jean

        I know alot of people who still aren’t on Facebook nor Twitter. Or they tried and gave up. Life is short. Better to spend time on face to face loved ones that we personally know. Make our personal digital space and playing ground, a quality meaningful place to be and to learn productively.

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      • Aja

        I prefer face to face conversations and interactions rather than all this cyber stuff. Plus it hurts less when i loose things (like my phone), unlike someone who’s attached to their phone and can’t go a second without updating their status on fb or tweeting. Life is too short to have your head stuck to your phone. We need to look up and enjoy life and the people around us. Nothing lasts forever x

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  19. thisworldthrumyeyes

    There is actually still a video store near me and even thought I use netflix, cinema now and a couple other movie sites I still go to the video store occassionally. We go as a family and everyone picks a movie, sometimes we have themes like 80’s night (yes they have old movies 2 for a dollar). Seems corny but we all enjoy it!

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  20. Amy E

    Before we had Usb drives
    we had floppy disks…big ones

    I wonder how many kids don’t know why the save button in Microsoft Works is a floppy disk…

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  21. Kris F

    Screensavers…kaleidescopes. Google maps…foldable maps you could write on. Texting…conversations face to face. Cell phone per person… one family phone on the kitchen wall. This is GREAT! Thanks. Congrats on FP!

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  22. theprojectboard

    Oh AIM. The main reason I can type 85 words a minute is because of so many hours logged on to AIM as a teenager. Also, before we had cable internet, we had dial up. My husband and I were just talking about that yesterday. We so do not miss hearing, “Get off the internet, I need to use the phone!”

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    • timmer

      85 is really good! I remember “typing” classes in middle school. I don’t think they included that in the curriculum anymore because they assume this new generation is born with keyboards in their hands. Home keys forever!

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  23. mrcrish_cjr

    File under, “Completely useless technology”: cold activated beer cans. Things must have been slow around the office that week for a bonehead idea like that to get a green light. Awesome post – good for an audible laugh in the office – thanks!

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  24. Delana

    Every time I sit down at my computer to work on a story or book I think how wonderful it is to back up when making a mistake and how easy it is to cut and paste. Remember typewriters? Correction tape? Literally cutting and pasting a corrected paragraph? Great post!

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  25. shetraces

    How about before we had free wireless internet any time we had to find an AOL CD that promised us 7,000 hours a month?! Or before we had a choice between Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome- we had only one; Netscape Navigator.
    Before GPS I literally had a folder of Google Maps prinouts- why? Just in case I needed to go somewhere twice. Of course, I had to always start from the first destination.

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  26. misspiggielovestoeat

    Great post!
    Very funny.
    Of I used to love the hand written directions – it gave character and you had to pay more attention to your surroundings incase you miss the big apple tree next to the blue fence house.

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  27. Meghan

    Great post, totally love this and can really relate to all of this things! I was just talking about mix tapes with someone the other day and how fun they were to make!

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  28. toddasaur

    I enjoyed this. Haha the beer can hand one was amusing, made me smile I use to hate going and getting a fresh can of beer or pop from the drinks fringe in the garage ha coz I would have to juggle them so my poor skin wouldn’t freeze off haha. #firstworldproblem

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  29. Alethea

    Ah…I have such pleasant memories of Video stores and tape cassettes. I was too young to go and get movies myself so every time my older cousins rented one,they’d let me know and we’d all watch it together. And my dad used to record TV shows that we liked in a video cassette (is that what they called them?) during our exams or if they were aired at night so we could watch them later.
    FM was my best friend….and oh mixtapes
    Thanks for the post!!!!

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  30. Elwin

    Nobody mentioned Gopher yet… and the rotary dial … is this a sign I am getting older? Replied from my TRS80 Model-1

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  31. Larry McCormick

    I could not read this most excellant post. I am busy playing “pong” on my Comodore 64.

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  32. Kiersten

    I love your post and the illustrations! I might as well be 6 because nothing holds my attention for long if it doesn’t have pictures lol

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