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Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by GHT, Apr 18, 2014.
I'm 35. Is creamy greek yoghurt with 10% fat still allowed??
I’d wager that many a man could, if he dropped his defenses enough to allow for a detached view of the matter, find in Ignatius a little bit of his own adolescent self.
Alas, adolescence extends well beyond the teen years for most of us, eh?
When you have no clue, which generation of the Playstation is actually on the market.
When I appreciate getting old.....
It would ne nice to appreciate getting old, but when your back goes out more than you do, it gets a little difficult.
When you realize you've been on eBay for 23 years.
When you realize you've been on eBay longer than some of the people you work with have been alive.
When your favorite, modern 90s shopping center is getting 24 years old, this year.
And it seemingly never got a general overhaul.
When the American Fender Stratocaster you saved for two years to buy as a student is now twenty-six years old, considered "vintage", and finally worth more than you paid for it in 1994....
When you look at your friends round the pub table, and the ones who once made you feel old are saying how others at the table make *them* feel old. Andthose others, you realise, are youjng enough to have been your children - and respectably so.
Not for nothing does my vocabulary contain the phrase "teenage boys of all ages"...
For me, eBay for eighteen years, and TFL for thirteen. This year, I'm teaching final year undergraduates born in 1999 - the year I started work, and the year after I graduated for the second time. Next year, I'll be teaching kids younger than my "career", and technically young enough to be the children of those I taught in my first year.
I first used the web when I was twenty-two. This year I'm teaching four dozen, final-year unergraduates who don't remember dial-up internet, andfor whom Thatcher an Regan are as historical as Henry VIII.
I never touched a computer until I was thirty-three. Unless you count pocket calculators or the TRS-80 they tried to get me to use instead of a typewriter at one of my radio jobs, and I hated it so much I "accidentally" spilled a glass of Alka-Seltzer into the keyboard...
Technology and I have a love/hate relationship, I love to hate it. About a year or so ago, there was a tentative knock on the door. It was our next door neighbour, would I help their son with his mathematics homework? Previously I had helped him through his understanding, or should that be, misunderstanding, of quadratic equations, the algebraic form had caused many tears. This time he was having severe difficulty getting his head around the binary system.
We chatted about a few things first, how his girlfriend was now his ex-girlfriend, how his team had lost yet again and now his head was exploding with zero, one then back to zero. We talked about the concept of binary, I told him how common it was to be so used to counting in tens that using just two digits was like learning all over again. I looked at his work, it was quite easy, explaining as I went along, he seemed to grasp it, so I told him to give it a go, no problem. "What was all the frustration about," I asked. "You explain so much easier," he opined. "Or maybe you weren't paying attention in class," I said, rather more sternly than I meant. "That too," he agreed.
"What's the point of it though," he suddenly said. "Point of what?" I replied. "Binary, of course," he answered. I explained that when the telegraph service came about, a system was needed to send messages, that's when Samuel Morse came up with his Morse Code. His dots and dashes replaced zero and one. I then asked if he had seen punch tape coming out of a machine in old movies, he had. Explaining that the holes and no holes replaced zero and one. But when I said that when pulse, no pulse replaced zero and one, you had the basis of a computer system, his eyes lit up, his whole demeanour changed, suddenly, in his parlance, binary was "Cool."
He then landed the killer blow, "If you are so smart, how come I had to program your phone to get it started?" He asked. "Good question," I answered as I got up to go home.
...and they certainly don't remember rotary dial phones!
it was a good 25 years or more ago that I first witnessed a kid baffled by a rotary dial telephone — the one hanging on the wall of my brother’s kitchen, which the kid in question, a friend of my then 11-year-old niece, was invited to use to call home to ask permission to stay for dinner.
You kidding? Some of them don't get why you'd bother with a landline at all - "why phone a building to see if someone is in it when you could just phone their phone?"
This is the secret to good teaching that so many fall down on: you have to find the relevancy. So many of my students tell me they hate the jurisprudence class, yet when I point out that the obscenity law lecture that fascinated them was a practical example of the Hart Devlin debate - i.e. how far should the state go in using law to enforce morality - it suddenly clicks... It's amazing hat you can interest people in if you can but make it relevant to their life.
The kids here all know how to use a rotary phone, because they've all used one at my house.
Rotary phones were still dominant in Maine until the mid-1990s, which was a time less than twenty years removed from the elimination of the state's last manual exchange. I never used a touch-tone phone until I was in my late twenties, and I've never actually had one installed in my house.
You can see how a young person would have that perspective, it's pretty funny in a way - "why phone a building to see if someone is in it when you could just phone their phone?"
We gave up our landline about 15 years ago as we simply didn't want to pay for it as the cell phone served the same purpose for us. Now, I like not having a landline as it would just be another thing to check, break, fix and, as noted, pay for. I also prefer texting to talking as, in most cases, it's a more efficient, less intrusive way to communicate (again, for how we use a phone) - check on a date or time, progress on something that day, a quick question etc. When done in text, you don't get into a long conversation.
And there, Edward, is where you have hit the hammer right on the head. In my schooldays I was lucky enough to have the kind of English teacher with that gift of relevance. He would give you sections of homework of whatever your weakest subject was, to be written out half a dozen times, as a form of punishment for any sort of transgression. He did this as an alternative to writing out, "I must not talk in class," 500 times. A number of us actually argued that learning Shakespeare was irrelevant in modern society. A month later, our English class was to attend the Shakespearean play: "Othello." We were allowed to bring our text books into the theatre, but most of us were unexpectedly absorbed by the play. Better still, when the audience had left, we were brought down to the front two rows to meet the cast who had returned to the stage, still in costume, to answer our questions. The cast all sat on the edge of the stage and addressed every question, or confrontation, asked of them. I had the same lifting of the scales as my young neighbour did, I saw how Shakespeare had changed our language, how he had dropped things like verb endings, how we didn't need to conjugate verbs like those who speak of a Latin based language, and so much more. At last I grasped Shakespeare's blank verse, to this day I have such a liking for the work of The Bard and that's all thanks to Mr McCardle, my former English teacher.
We still have, and use, our rotary phone, the one that was installed in our first home in 1968. But we also have a modern phone connected to it. There's two reasons why the modern phone is there. Firstly, it shows on it's screen, the incoming number, which we can then decide whether we want to take the call or not. Secondly, rotary phones cannot be used when you have a choice menu. If you are asked to press one for money, two for the show, dialling it will get you cut off.
I have a working phone hanging on the kitchen wall but it’s not really a landline. It’s part of the “bundle” we pay Comcast waaaay too much for every month. I have the ringer turned off, and I don’t give out the number, so the only calls we receive are calls we have no interest in answering.
I pick it up every now and then to erase the voicemails. Solicitors, robocalls.
I have a perfectly functioning Western Electric 302 — a 1940s-vintage example, as best I can tell — for which I paid $1.79 at a Goodwill store going on 50 years ago. It still has the Goodwill price tag affixed to its baseplate.
Also got a WE 2500, a touch-tone desk phone, which one might argue is the property of the successor to Pacific Northwest Bell. (It says so on its baseplate — “PROPERTY OF PAC NW BELL.”) It came my way c. 1979, when I ordered phone service and the installer presented me with this black phone, and for which I paid a monthly equipment rental fee until the deregulation of the telephone industry, several years later. At that time PNB sent me letters and gave me calls asking that I return their phone. I replied that they were welcome to their phone, just tell me when you’ll be coming by to pick it up. The calls and letters ceased right about then.
To your point regarding the practical necessity of a touch-tone ...
Yeah, I pay most of my bills and make appointments and refill prescriptions and buy all sorts of stuff and and and on my iPhone, without talking to a single human. Touch-tones. Couldn’t do it without ’em.
It reminds me of a fellow I worked with 25 or so years ago who said he couldn’t foresee any need for him to have a computer. Another coworker and I told him it would soon get to a point that he would have little choice in the matter, that he would be needing Internet access the way he needed a car. You pretty much gotta have one to participate in this economy.