Tech has come a long, long way – but has it all been for the better? There are some strange pleasures, like ripping the ribbons off the edges of printed paper, that fresh-faced IT professionals will never know.
Here are some signs you grew up working with technology in the eighties, and some things you may or may not miss.
The Beefy On-Off Switch
Back in the day, when you turned a computer on, you really knew you turned it on – from the loud click of the switch to nearly banging your head on the monitor trying to reach it.
Now, you just press the square at the front of your computer. Where’s the challenge in that?
These days, people talk about machines like Cortana that can talk to you. Big deal. Computers have been talking to us forever, and none more so than an old style modem.
If you can recall when “going online” meant dialling into a text-based BBS while your painfully slow modem made bizarre noises at you, you definitely worked with tech in the eighties.
The Dot Matrix Printer
Ah, do you recall the dotted ribbons attached to the sides of printed paper? How about having to tear it off and find a place in the bin to put it? But what you probably don’t miss is having to wait around for it to finish printing.
If you had a backup, it was on this kind of disk. When you wanted to install Windows, you carried around a plastic case with the dozens of disks needed, all labelled numerically.
Data protection was just putting a notch over your floppy so nobody could write over it.
The Turbo Button
Speaking of interesting buttons, the Turbo button was what you did before DOSBox. When a program was running too fast because your processing power completely outstripped it, clicking the turbo button reduced the speed.
… Which, when you think about it, is some pretty misleading labeling.
Freeware and Shareware
Back in the day, there was a lot of neat commercial programs. However, there was also “freeware” and “shareware”. You would basically mail someone a check to thank them for writing a program. Pretty cool, right?
IT Manuals and Magazines
Working IT in the eighties meant spending your time reading a lot of manuals and magazines. Magazines specifically would have a lot of programs you could type in to run – or, if you were lucky, it would come with an included floppy. It was a good time to learn how to code.
Social networking basically meant sitting with your friends and exchanging floppy disks, or the things you learnt out of manuals.