The Tech of My Youth

I saw a note recently that Panasonic had a data breach.  There was a time I had a number of Panasonic products, from music players to telephones. My wife had them as a client and got a few swag items in the early 2000s. However, I don’t often buy electronic appliances, and I haven’t seen the Panasonic brand name in some time.

As I approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, I find myself nostalgic for brands that I used to seek out. I read a biography of Akio Morita, founder of Sony a long time ago and I admired their products. At some point, I had a rack of Sony gear in high school, including the double cassette deck. I bought my first TV, a Sony, in college. I can’t remember the last time I picked up or used something from them, having moved on to Apple for most of my music needs and Samsung for TVs.

Nokia and Motorola used to be the phones to buy, and they aren’t really in today’s conversations. Palm Pilot and Blackberry devices were on belts in purses everywhere. Today I know none in use.

Radio Shack was where I shopped regularly for all sorts of parts to fix things. I grew up with an Atari for games, a Commodore 64 for programming, and lots of floppy disks. I remember learning I could punch a hole in a disk case to make it double-sided. I used to drive to Blockbuster when I wanted to see a movie. I wish they had somehow found a way to transition and compete with Netflix.

I used to covet Sun Workstations, a huge company that no longer exists. I bought and assembled quite a few Compaq servers. One of my early jobs had me helping the boss use Alta Vista to search the burgeoning web on Netscape Navigator. For that matter, ESDI, IDE, and SCSI, and even spinning disks are no longer a part of my world.

As I walk down memory lane, I think about this thing that used to sit on my bedside table. From middle school until about 4 or five years ago, I had an “alarm clock” that woke me up in the morning. First no-name analog ones, then Sharp, Sony, and other digital brands. First for paper routes, then school, then work. Now I use a smart watch with a vibrating alarm. That alarm clock device is one piece of technology my wife is glad doesn’t exist anymore.

Steve Jones

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