Week 8: Technology

I am re-posting some of my old blog posts to keep the history of my blog alive. This post is from the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History blogging prompts series.

This post appeared originally on my blog on Feb 27, 2011.

Week 8: Technology.  What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?

I missed week 8 too but here is my entry for Technology:

Technology exploded during my childhood.  From the time I was a little girl until now there has been incredible progress in every area of scientific exploration!  It is sometimes completely unimaginable to me how things were when I was a little girl compared to the technology that is available to my niece and nephews and the information explosion that has taken place in that time.

When I was first born, the United States had not sent a man to the moon!  Pluto was still a planet and computers were computation devices that took up rooms and processed punch cards to store data.  Now a computer that would have taken up a complete floor of a very large building is not held in your hand as a cell phone.  As a little girl, we got only about 20 or so channels and our TV didn’t have a remote control (that was something that was shown on TV  as an advance for the distant future on Star Trek!).  Although parents did have remote controls in the form of children who got up to change the channels for them!

I was in high school the first time I ever used a computer.   It was an APPLE that was programmed in BASIC programming language.  The program had to be retyped into the computer anytime that the computer was turned off or rebooted.  I also worked on a word processing device in high school in my typing class.

When I was in college was when I really started to use computers.  I was a junior in college when I got my first home computer.  I bought it used and got a virus on it the very first weekend!  It had a newer operating system on it than I had access to so I had to call the guy I bought it from and beg for a copy of his operating system startup disk so that I could get back into the files I had already loaded onto the computer!  It was a tremendous buy at the time $700 and it had 4MB of storage memory (Hard drive space!).  I thought it would surely see me through the rest of college and that it would probably even see my brother and sister through college!

I got my second computer about 2-3 years later and it had more storage memory (probably a few hundred MB) and the operating system was on 25 or so 3 1/2 inch disks.  I again thought that would be a computer that lasted for probably 10-20 years.

I have since been through at least 5 computers after that.  Now I use a laptop that has 3GB of RAM memory and 150GB of Memory storage.  Dad is now using a laptop with 4GB of RAM and a 320 GB Harddrive!  Mom has a netbook!  My Brother and Sister and their families all use computers.  In fact, my youngest nephew who is four years old spent time playing games on the old laptop the other day and one of his favorite things for me to do with him is show him the videos of Volcanoes we find on the internet.

The internet was just beginning to come into its own while I was in college.  Chat boards and AOL Chat rooms, Instant messaging and email were just becoming widely used.

When I was in high school and I had to do a paper on some subject, I had to go to the library and search through numerous reference books and encyclopedias to find the information for my report. It was usually at a least several years old.  Now, when my niece and nephews have to do a report, they look on the internet and find the information!  My oldest nephew who is 10 does his presentations on PowerPoint.  My niece has her own cell phone!  My nephews want cell phones!  I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was in college!

When my niece and nephews have a sporting event or a school program I go and take photos and videos and I can post them on Facebook for all the family to see within minutes from my cell phone!  My mom would take photos and go get them developed and we could look at them a week or so later!  The grandparents would be lucky to see them a month or so later!

The advances in technology especially in computers make my genealogy research possible!  I can only do my genealogy on weekends and evenings because I work all day during the week.  Without the records available on the internet I would make little progress but with the internet I have added generations and hundreds of records!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.