Monday, February 20, 2006

Lilian's technology meme

1. Do you remember when you saw your first computer? When did you actually use one? What about having your own? Do you own a laptop? (PC or Mac?) Have you gone wireless at home yet?
My dad bought a computer some time in the 80s, I think. It was an Osborne portable--looked like a sewing machine, and was just about as heavy. I bought my first computer when I was in grad school, after we got married, so that would be sometime after 1987. I had an electronic typewriter before that. I did use the mainframe in college to word-process and laser-print my thesis, so at one time I was reasonably proficient with dot commands! (points for anyone else who remembers them...)

I now have a mac laptop that belongs to the U and a mac desktop that's ours. And yes, we went wireless a few years ago and could never go back.

2. When did you first go online and/or use email? Who did you email back then? How did the internet change your life? When did you discover blogging? What about your home internet connection - is it dial-up, DLS, cable?
I got my first email account when I got this job in the fall of 1994. I joined a listserv and emailed friends who were still in grad school. At first I had to go to the computer center, then I got a laptop and had to unplug my phone to get online in my office. The internet changed my life in two ways: one, the listserv connected me to others in my field right away, when I was feeling a little isolated in my first job. I was asked to review books and articles based solely on my listserv postings. It was pretty empowering. Second, I was able to keep in touch with people without the phone. Since I'm not much of a phone person (see below) this was terrific--I love to write, but people don't answer letters. They do, however (sometimes) answer emails.

Like Kate, I think I discovered blogging through my small online writing group. And then Literary Mama came along and encouraged me to blog as well. And here I am, almost three years later, still chugging along despite what The Financial Times thinks.

3. Do you remember your first VCR? What about a video camera (there were some bulky ones back in the 80s and 90s) and home videos?
Hmm, no, I don't. I don't think we had a VCR until after moving to Richmond, though, in the mid90s. Mark's mom had a video camera in the late 80s and we have some video of Mariah as a baby thanks to her. We also used to check out a huge bulky camera from the media resource center occasionally to take video of the kids. We never do it anymore. My parents donated their outmoded video camera to us sometime in the mid to late 90s (maybe around when Nick was born?) and we used it some, but then let the batteries run down and never charged it again. It's still gathering dust in the living room. We are terrible parents, clearly.

4. When did you switch from VCR to DVD? How did it change your video viewing experience? Do you use TiVo or any such "contraption" to tape TV shows? Do you use Netflix or some other internet-based DVD "renting" service?
We were late adopters for DVD; I think we bought our first one only about three years ago, and we still have a VCR hooked up to our TV as well. I'd love to have TiVo, but we don't have cable, so it seems pointless. We do have netflix, though, which is great--though I still maintain a blockbuster membership for last-minute rentals.

5. What about music? Did you enjoy listening favorite music in Long Plays or did you prefer cassete tapes? When did you buy your fist CD player and switched to CDs? Did you abandon them (and turned to dowloaded music) for MP3 players or Ipods or do you still buy CDs?

I remember eight tracks! Though I never had one myself, as I didn't have a car until after they'd already gone out of style. I still have LPs as well, though I'm sad about how many I gave away years ago. We bought a CD player in about 1990 or 1991, I'm guessing--all I remember is that it broke and we returned it, with our lone CD still stuck in it. (Bonnie Raitt...) Mariah has an iPod shuffle and we burn CDs from iTunes now more often than buying physical CDs.

6. Do you own and use a cell phone? Do you think it's useful or just annoying?
(Did you always have a telephone in your house growing up? Did you have a phone in your own room?)

Ha! We bought a cellphone last fall (2004) when Mariah started high school. Mark doesn't carry one. It's useful, occasionally, and everyone else's are annoying! Mariah's pretty much the only person who calls me on it (oh, and other carpool parents, occasionally), and I mostly only call home on it. Not much of a phone person, again.

We had a telephone in our house, though I went to boarding school and had only one phone per dorm. Phones in dorm rooms in college were a great innovation, even though they were pre-answering machine/voicemail... I never had a phone in my room that I remember, though Mariah does now (on our line, though, not her own line).

7. When did you first buy a digital camera? What kind was it (3.2, 4.0, 5.0 mega-pixels or better)? Did you start taking more pictures or were you a photo afficionado before then? What about a digital video camera?

I think our digital camera is pretty low-end. We bought our first one when Mariah was in 7th or 8th grade, so two or three years ago, and yes, we did start taking more pictures then. Previously we'd gotten all our photos on disk or online, though, so we'd been sharing them online for a while before we got the camera. No digital video camera, though. (See above on bad parents.)

8. What about televisions? Have you already embraced the new technologies, such as HDTV, plasma, and flat screen? (On the other hand, you wouldn't remember black & white TVs, would you?)
Of course I remember black and white TV! And Soupy Sales! When we lived in Tokyo in the 60s we had a b&w and we had a live-in maid who had a color TV--my younger siblings used to go hang out with her and watch it.

We now have a plasma TV, to our great astonishment. The idea is that it's less obtrusive. And the picture is pretty good, too. We've had it about a year, I think.

OK, if you're on Lilian's blogroll and you still haven't done this, take a stab at it. Easy blogging...


Lilian said...

Thanks for responding! i'm having so much fun reading these! (it certainly is a good break from dissertation work :)

Mrs. Coulter said...

So fun...I couldn't resist doing it too!

Sandra said...

That's interesting. I'm the same age as you, and so many of my answers are the same, including clinging to VCR, being a slacker with the video camera, and recalling the glory days of the 8-track.

Susan said...

I'm afraid to answer this meme. It would take me an hour.