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Tech the kids don't understand
Old 08-23-2011, 09:40 PM   #1
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Tech the kids don't understand

I had an odd experience. The local Comcast salesperson came by, and instead of simply ignoring him I thought I'd find out exactly what he was selling.

He's polite, says "Hello", and looks at the address listed on his clipboard. There's some other information there, too. "I see you've never had Comcast service at this address."

"Nope."

"So, do you get TV service from AT&T then?"

"Nope."

"Ah, then you must use DirectTV."

"Nope."

"You get TV here, right?"

"Yup."

"Well, how do you get it, then?"

I point up at the roof, where our ancient Yagi antenna is visible.

"Um," says Mr. Comcast. "Would you like to get high definition TV?"

"Got it."

"Um. Really? Because we supply our customers with high def TV through our cable system."

"Really. It just falls out of the sky. High definition and all."

"Uh... Could I interest you in our package of high definition TV, Internet access, and phone service?"

"Nope."

He thanked me for my time, and left. Probably mumbling under his breath.

Any other examples out there of tech the kids think can't possibly work? (I'm tempted to resurrect a vacuum tube radio just to freak out DD.)
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:59 PM   #2
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Over the air TV doesn't work very well at all for lots of people, including non-kids like me. It's been over 30 years since I've had, or even seen, over the air TV.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:55 PM   #3
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Any other examples out there of tech the kids think can't possibly work?
My daughter with a manual transmission. She could probably drive one of us to the emergency room if she had to, but it wouldn't be pretty.

She was 15 years old before I realized she had no idea how to read a street map. My bad. I didn't see how much hand-held GPSs and smartphones were ruling the next generation.

During a family visit she was freaked out by her grandparent's phone, which was set to pulse dialing. (Grandpa doesn't like to pay the bahstids the extra $1.40/month for touch-tone dialing.)

She's pretty sure my computer science degree is worthless, too, especially when I wax all enthusiastic about this TCP/IP stuff and try to explain the concept of "dialing in" to a "mainframe" and communicating using a "terminal". She thinks it's much easier to just use broadband to download from the cloud.

The good news is that since she's started college, I've become much smarter.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:00 AM   #4
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Don't worry, it is cultural too. The kids starting in my office don't know who John Wayne is or have seen the original Star Wars.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:58 AM   #5
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Some of the many things kids don't know

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:15 AM   #6
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I had to explain DOS commands to my nephew, the computer programmer. He said "DOS - what's that?"
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:16 AM   #7
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About 10 years ago my Dad asked DS to go into the garage and call someone. The garage had an old rotary phone. DS couldn't figure it out. Once Dad showed him how to dial a number on the rotary phone, DS was fascinated with it.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #8
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I had a Comcast cable knocked down in my (large) back yard. A young guy from Comcast came out around noon to verify that it was indeed their cable. He needed to write a description of the cable's location and asked me which way was North. I pointed to the sky and said , "See that bright thing up there?" "That's South".
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:13 AM   #9
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I wonder what the next three (or more) generations will be responding to such a question, in 100 years, at our current age.

There will always be "the past" to contend with and folks of our age/generation to just shake our heads with the comments of those a generation (or two) younger than we are, today.

DOS (Disk Operating System)? Old hat.

Heck, I was in the field for a few years before I worked on a mainframe running TOS (yes, Tape Operating System).

Before that time I worked "programming" unit record accounting machines using control panels (patchboards). Anybody remember a jackplug, timing cycle instruction manuals, X/skip punches (on an 80-column Hollerith - AKA "IBM card"), or an IBM001 manual punch?
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:21 AM   #10
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Some stuff gets passed on even though we never used it. I call a refrigerator the ice box. At least I understand the origin.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:29 AM   #11
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The good news is that since she's started college, I've become much smarter.
I've heard that happens often. When I was 15 my Dad was the dumbest idiot east of the Mississippi. By the time I was 20 he sure learned a lot.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:02 AM   #12
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A view from Japan where my son lives. He grew up in Venezuela where electrical and water outages are common. Since the loss of the reactor there have been power problems (which also disrupt water distribution) and he chuckles when he describes the reactions there. People are so used to high service levels that they don't know what to do. No water for hygiene, no power to prepare food, traffic comes to a halt.

He has a bicycle, bought some sterno and a little grill, and keeps the little washing machine full of water. He says with all the problems it is still an order of magnitude better that what he grew up with, yet people act like it was the end of the world.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:07 AM   #13
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Anybody remember a jackplug, timing cycle instruction manuals, X/skip punches (on an 80-column Hollerith - AKA "IBM card"), or an IBM001 manual punch?
No, but the first computer program I wrote, in 1960, had to be punched onto a paper tape for entry into the computer (a Bendix, with a magnetic drum in the bottom). I did have to punch a few programs onto IBM cards for a programming course I took sometime in the 70s, but that was just to give students a sense of tradition.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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"The Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students. It started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980.

What started as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues "watch your references," has turned into a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness. . . ."



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Old 08-24-2011, 10:58 AM   #15
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Some stuff gets passed on even though we never used it. I call a refrigerator the ice box. At least I understand the origin.
The Italian families I knew had a joke about this:

Kid: "Gramma, how do you say 'refrigerator' in Italian?"
Gramma: " Da Ice-a-box!"


Here's one I printed out for the kids:

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Old 08-24-2011, 11:28 AM   #16
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When I was a kid, my dad's office had a Telex machine in the corner that I thought was the most amazing thing ever.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:45 AM   #17
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Car headlight dimmer switch.....ON THE FLOOR!?!
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:49 AM   #18
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When I was a kid the wood stove in the office had little closed openings though which you could see the light of the fire. The coverings didn't melt! They were somewhat delicate but replaceable sheets of mica. I remember it as much thicker and more opaque than these sheets, but I'll be darned - it's still used for the old purpose:
We supply stove mica sheets or " isinglass " panels world-wide from the U.S and the U.K.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:58 AM   #19
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Having to run a metal ice cube tray under water, and then pulling on a handle to try to wrangle the ice cubes out of it. Bending the handle because they were stuck.

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Old 08-24-2011, 12:08 PM   #20
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Car headlight dimmer switch.....ON THE FLOOR!?!
Parents had a '55 Buick Roadmaster with another floor button to change the radio station ...

They also had a '50's something Caddy that had the "electric eye" to automatically go from high to low beam when an oncoming car would be on the road.
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