Throwback technology rocks

I love technology. I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again; but I think tech is cool. Big tech stuff is great and all, but what I really like are the things that I can use every day to make my life easier and more enjoyable.

Let me list the technology I’ve used today (try this game yourself!):

  • Blackberry – first checked at 5:00AM before leaving the house
  • FastLane toll tag – on my way to the airport
  • Digital camera – in the Mass Pike Tunnel. I was driving though the reopened tunnel as WBUR was doing a story on Bechtel and the tunnel collapse. I took pictures of the work but they were all blurry
  • MacBook Pro – working/listening to music/surfing/writing at Logan, on the plane, at LAX, in my hotel room and in Weber Shandwick’s Sunnyvale office
  • Cell phone – multiple times throughout the day
  • Satellite radio – on my way to Logan and here in Santa Clara

That isn’t that much I guess, but that is only the stuff that I controlled. There was a whole bevy of technology that was there supporting my various comings and goings throughout the day.

But enough about all of this; what I was really thinking about was the gee-whiz technologies of yester-year. What prompted me was the man sitting next to me on the flight from Boston to LA. I noticed that he had a small October calendar affixed to his watchband.

I got these once as a kid. They’re made of metal with arms or wings that you bend around your watchband to keep them in place. A pretty simple idea and a piece of technology (after a fashion) that served a purpose.

Group_2.jpg

I looked that his watch with its outdated calendar and thought about the fact that I so rarely wear watches anymore. I have several; the one that I love the most is a mechanical Waltham that my wife gave me as a wedding gift. It’s nearly 100 now, is sterling silver and has a porcelain face. I don’t wear it because I just use my phone instead. I miss wearing my watch and in situations like being on a plane it is a more useful timepiece.

WalthamSeconds.jpg

(Mine looks like this but in silver and without the sweep second hand.)

On the subject of timepieces, another awesome throwback technology is a timepiece that my father gave me. It is portable pocket sundial that I’m sure in its day was the height of nerdly goodness:

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When he first gave it to me I got all fired up about the types of technology a guy like me would have carried around with him to make his life easier and more enjoyable in the past. I grabbed a reproduction of a Sear catalog from the 1890s to look but didn’t find as much as I’d hoped. Knives were big, compasses too, but there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped. I need to continue my search (with any help others care to provide) for great technologies of the past.

In the meantime though, the three that came to mind today (all related to watches or time keeping for some reason) are still pretty cool and are a reminder that people have always sought new and innovative ways to improve their lives.

[tags]technology, blackberry, cell phone, MacBook, satellite radio, wristband calendar, wristwatch, pocket sundial, gadgets[/tags]

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