Technology Time Travel, One Keystroke At a Time

August 23, 2011

Many of you may already be aware, but here at Fast Horse we don’t have assigned desks. Ponies sit wherever creativity and productivity will be best channeled. While this is great for getting work done (and satiating my caffeine fix at Corner Coffee), my computer has become a necessary appendage rather than a simple work machine. The past weeks have delivered fatal blows to my right-hand man because, as we all know, technology is never reliable. My computer has been my partner in crime, archnemesis and forcefully loyal sidekick while words like malware and virus have hung in the air. A seriously nerve-racking situation—especially with so much coffee coursing through my veins.

Would life be easier without all this reliance on technology? Would I be more productive? It’s hard to say because I’ve been engrained to feel that normalcy means: a fast computer, flawless internet connection, a functioning smartphone and instant replies to emails or text messages from people who are just as attached to their phone as I am. Let be honest, this just isn’t the case.

However, there was a simpler technological time filled with dialing noises and virtual door slams—and not too long ago. Technology has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and in honor of FHLT08, my Fast Horse computer, I’ve compiled my top five earliest technology memories.

In case you were worried, my computer is still alive and kicking.

Mavis Beacon
In an effort to encourage educational computer use, my elementary school required we practice and pass a typing test on Mavis Beacon. Not only was this terribly boring, I never caught my typing stride until I signed up for AIM.  Typing skills weren’t critical until it applied to chatting with my friends. Typical.

A/s/l? I’m a little embarrassed to admit that AOL chatrooms were a staple of my online experience as an impressionable 13-year-old. Nonetheless, they were key to my junior high school sleepovers, serving as late night entertainment and creative fodder for making up fake personal information.

“You’ve Got Mail”
My parents vetoed AOL early on because it was too expensive and couldn’t be swayed by my desperate pleas to activate my chosen screen name. All I wanted was to hear the computerized man say those magical four words, but I’m guessing the aforementioned memory had something to do with their refusal to join AOL.

The dreaded dial-up
I had a good friend who, for the longest time, only had one phone line and a dial-up internet connection. In the time before cell phones, any attempt at communication was beyond frustrating and you were left with dial-up tone ringing in your ears.

No overhaul of early technology would be complete without mentioning Napster. Downloading popular singles and burning mix cds for friends, this peer-to-peer music sharing site is the grandfather of today’s online music purchasing and listening business (iTunes, Amazon music, Spotify and many more). I credit Napster for cultivating my early love of music, as well as single-handedly booming blank cd sales.

How about you? What are some of your earliest technology memories?