The virtual world has become so vital to day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget how new all of this technology really is. Do you remember using an encyclopedia as a reference to write a school paper? Or relying on an atlas for directions? Millennials roll their eyes at the absurdity of these questions, while Baby Boomers will get misty thinking about a simpler time. And then there’s Generation X.
Gen Xers had the benefit of computer technology, but without the infinite connectivity of today’s internet. For the most part, they came of age in that glorious window of time known as The 90s. While young enough to understand and embrace today’s tech, Generation X didn’t grow up with it. From beepers to portable CD players, let’s take a look back at the technological ancestors of today’s digital world…
Beepers. Sometime between their early adoption by um, purveyors of the black market and their current role in the medical field, beepers had a few years of widespread popularity. Incapable of sending messages, beepers could only receive them and were further limited by the fact that these messages contained no letters, just numbers. If someone beeped you, you would pull over, find a payphone, pony up a quarter, and call them back. So convenient! (And more so when you don’t hold them upside-down…)
Personal Computers. Before the internet, computers were used primarily for word processing. And when compared with typing a paper on an actual typewriter, the word processor was nothing short of a gift from the universe. For starters, you could make a mistake and not have to retype the whole page. Just hit the “Back” button, correct it, and get on with your life. You could save your work on a floppy disk and print it somewhere else! The possibilities were endless. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the games…Millennials will never know the joy of having your entire family die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail.
Discman. Successor to the Walkman, the Discman was a portable CD player. It’s arrival meant you could now enjoy the superior sound quality of a compact disc outside the comfort of your own home. No more messing with the fast-forward or rewind buttons of a tape player; your Discman could jump right to the track you wanted to listen to. It was an amazing leap forward for music and a cool gadget that was so small, it almost fit into your back pocket. Except no one tried to put it in their pocket because you had to hold it completely level for it to work.
Are you part of Generation X? What was your favorite pre-internet gadget? Tell us in the comments section or on our Facebook page!