Do you remember dot matrix printers? We had one when I was a kid and I thought it was the coolest. It might be from before your time. The paper was different. Odd, even. Wait, did I just use “odd, even” as a complete sentence? Rock solid! Anyway, I remember thinking the paper looked all futuristic, but really it was archaic. Reams of these blue and white lined sheets. The borders were tearable and covered in holes. I’d frequently pull off part of a border by accident and feel like I had to tear the rest off to compensate. Wait, why not practice show don’t tell? My favourite thing by far about this printer (apart from the nifty noise it made) was that I could use it to print out cool birthday cards. There was one with a robot, there were others, I think. I guess? I dunno, once I had the capacity to print robo-cards I had no interest in printing anything else. Who wouldn’t enjoy birthday salutations from a robot? A monster, that’s who. Come to think of it, monster cards would’ve been rad too. Actually, it was the 90s, they would’ve been “radical” instead.
There was a bunch of technology I grew up with that seems a lifetime away now. It makes sense when you put it into perspective. I was born in ’87, so even though I’m 30, this is the fourth decade I’ve experienced. That’s a significant period of technological development. When I was a child, I had a My First Sony Walkman. Cordless home phones were frivolous rich people toys. Now it’s gotten to the point where people listen to music on their portable phones and landlines are pointless. It’s been about eight years since I last owned a TV and likely longer than that since I seriously used one. I’m not complaining, gloating or anything in between, I just think it’s interesting. This is what ageing is, finding the tools of your youth fading into irrelevance. It’s a fine and natural part of growing up.
This article encapsulates it pretty well. I may sound wistful, but I’m generally a fan of new and emerging technology. I’m may not be a gadgets person (my phone upgrade strategy is accurately expressed in this classic XKCD comic), I am however delighted by finding cool and efficient ways of doing things. The one way in which I am a curmudgeon is when we get unnecessary developments in order to drive consumer interest. Do we really need to be driven to upgrade so often? New iPhone models seem increasingly Malibu Stacey in their benefits.
I wonder though, how long before I’m aged out of progress? I got a non-standard cardboard VR headset (it was a work promo) the other day and I can’t get it to work properly. My headset didn’t have the QR code where it was supposed to, so I used a Google one, figured out my phone’s DPI and input the details. Yes, I have an old phone, but I thought I’d configured everything correctly. The demo worked, blurry as it was. When I tried to use other sources (porn, he’s talking about porn), I got audio without video. It wasn’t ASMR, so where’s the fun in that? For some reason my girlfriend’s phone (many years newer than mine) wasn’t compatible at all, so we’re shit out of luck. Of course we were both curious. Who wouldn’t be?
Of course I felt entitled to it. I was lucky enough to have the internet kick into my life with puberty. I never had to forage in local parks for encrusted magazines or try to hack free cable. I had it easy. Now there’s a form of porn that’s out of reach and that feels strangely unjust. I don’t want to upgrade my technology or shell out for a better headset just to watch. It seems so unnecessary and mercenary. Who knows if it’s even good? 3D movies turned out to be a shitty money grab. Why would porn be any better?
On that note, I wonder if Leisure Suit Larry will ever go VR…