Back to the future

I recently had a good laugh reliving some aspects of my youth from 30 years ago, whilst checking out 36 reasons why our parents should’ve been in jail’ . This is obviously simply a generational thing, and as each decade passes, we look back in awe, envy and sometimes shock around the habits and ways we use to live. Though, sadly, some people and countries are still stuck in the 1980s.

With more of a focus around technology, and to give some context for those of you not born in the 1970s; if you were lucky enough to have lived through (and survived) the 1980s, then you know it was an amazing decade. It seemed like every month cool new technology came onto the market. With many of the most popular consumer products today having made their mark in the 1980s. Here are some personal favourites:

  • Camera on your phone, boring. We had the ‘disposable’ Kodak camera. Just think how far Kodak has come since, oh …
  • App games on your iPad? Online gaming? Yawn. It was a case of move over ZX Spectrum, I now had to decide between an Atari 520STFM and a Commodore 64 (sorry, C64). Life was good. I went Atari, and loved playing Leisure Suit Larry and Sensible Soccer. Endless hours of fun.
  • Super power, thin and light laptops? Means nothing when you had the choice of IBM’s 5150 Personal Computer with the all powerful Intel 8088 processor that ran on version 1.0 (1.0 people!) of the PC-DOS operating system. Oooh.! Even better it supported Microsoft’s BASIC programming language. Ahhh!
  • Then, wild times, in 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh computer. It was the first personal computer to feature a graphics-based user interface. Long live drawing on the Apple at school. I even won prizes for my graphics!
  • White Apple headphones, how common. Back then walking with your Discman – later know as the ‘CD Walkman’ – and your funky headphones was all the rage. Not only did this revolutionize the music industry (iTunes you are nothing), it practically killed off the cassette (I miss using my pencil to rewind a cassette though) and the vinyl market (who did not love scratching vinyls, pretending you were a DJ? Right?), but also the budding computer industry (though 3.5” floppies did hang around a long time).
  • Finally, and there are many more examples of great technology from the 1980s, but I could not leave out my beloved Gameboy, which came out in 1989. Gaming in your pocket. Hurrah!

After a published article ‘Kurzweil predicts’, it made me think about what will my son (aged 6) and daughter (aged 7) laugh at whilst looking at pictures of their young lives when they are my age. Hmmm? I’ll ponder this some more and report back.

Yes, that is me in the photo above circa 1986. Check out part of my Dad’s record and Betamax collection, cool. I do miss the telephone, and still have them in a box somewhere. Proper vintage.

What would you add to the 1980s cool list?

Thanks for reading.


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