What will be my child's analogue


As I near the birth of my first child, I begin to wonder what will be her “analogue.”

I have many long lived members of my family. Octogenarians, Nonagenarian and even a few Centenarians number in my family line. As a someone born in the 1970’s, I have already seen so much change. Eight-Tracks players were still a car option when I was born.

My Great-Grandfather was born 15 years after the American Civil War and 2 years after Einstein. He managed his fields for many years with horse team. I used to spend my summers at his farm and he shunned anything he did not raise or grow on his table. His food did never came from a plastic package. In his 101 years of life here are a few things that happened.
-the radio
-electricity in homes
-the safety razor
-the car
-the airplane
-the telephone
-Space travel capable of reaching the moon
-the first home computer

He had electricity put in his new house, after a fire in the 1960’s and he only had a transistor radio and a bible he read over and over as his entertainment. His radio was reserved for the farm news report and a gospel program once a week. He read that bible from cover to cover dozens of times. A phone was put in when my aunt moved in to keep him company in his 90’s.

My grandmother was born before World War I, she took a horse and buggy to a small school house and had dreams of being a school teacher before a law was passed her last year of school requiring college degrees for educators. She had the same black rotary phone on her wall till her death in 1998. She had a black and white TV till 1980.

I grew up with all these analog items, my friends giggled while I dialed out and waited for the clicks to finish the number. I may not have know what color the cool new toy was because I saw it first on grandma’s B&W tv. I grew up playing cards and puzzles for entertainment at my grandma’s while my friends had Atari’s then Nintendos. (Can you also tell we are slow adopters?) I still enjoy a good book over a tv sitcom.

My great-grandfather thought TV was a waste of time, could he image we could have access to libraries of knowledge in the palm of our hands? The same device that would have encompassed all my grandmothers books, and her TV, phone, and camera?

What will pass in my baby’s time? Will this desk top computer be her analogue. Will the keyboard be antiquated like my ability to write in cursive/script? Will there be 2-D anything? I can only guess what she will find fun and quirky from the past. At least she will have dad to tell her about the 20th Century.

written by neanderthalis on 2012-11-17


  1. holgardo
    holgardo ·

    It's kind of sad to see how some technologies (taking the concept in a broad sense, even pen and paper are technologies) can disappear.

  2. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    I was having a discussion with my father similar to this recently. We were lamenting the loss of certain sounds from society. Things that were commonly heard but never today. The phone clicking was one of them, as were steam trains, dot matrix printers, the clunk a cassette player made when it finished rewinding...

  3. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @holgardo You are correct, hardly anybody hand writes much anymore. I find even my hand cramping for more than paragraph because it is out of practice.

  4. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @adam_g2000 That is funny that you brought up the dot matrix printer. I remember the noise that thing would generate as I printed out my school essays. If had an older one there was tearing off the perforated track holes on the sides. How about clocks that ticked? I don't hear those anymore. My kid is never going to believe me.

  5. asharnanae
    asharnanae ·

    It is odd to think what has gone by the way side, and what will in a few scant years time. I describe to the kids at school the process of loading a program or game onto a computer from a cassette tape, the squealing and burbling it would make, and how you had to wait and wait and wait. They think we were crazy to sit there that long. But we still have ticking clocks in my house, and as an artist I am still very connected to the pen, pencil and paintbrush, as well as sculpting tools. Though I have to say, I don't write in my paper journal near half as much as I used to. My family, particularly my dad have always been technological hounds, wanting to use new things. And yet at the same time, my dad has old valve radios, bits of old telephone exchange. As a family I feel lucky that we have always had the old and new side by side in all parts of our life.

  6. bloomchen
    bloomchen ·

    i guess music will still be to some degree analogue - at least when performed live. and i will tell my sons about good old vinyl. and my older son already knows about those black plastic discs and sometimes asks me to play records.
    just today i heard of a 8 year old girl from finnland who was kidnapped but obviously it didn´t came to the kidnappers mind - even not in the home country of nokia - that a 8 year old girl is possessing a mobile phone. so we put her in the shelter and she called dialed the police number and was rescued via tracking the call.
    i hope some things will remain - maybe a bit modified but still kinda analogue.

  7. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @bloomchen & @asharnanae thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comments.

  8. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    Nice entry. I have to say, my kids, if I have them, will probably play cards and do puzzles or even simpler things because I don't think I'll ever have the option to give them technology like my parents did with me (if things continue this way were I live). But I think that's probably the good part of all this. :)

  9. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    BTW, what exactly are Eight-Tracks players? I was born in 83 and I'm European, but I know this from the best TV show ever, That 70's Show. I don't get it... you listen always to the same 8 songs or you can change tapes? I'm wondering about this for a while... :)

  10. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @saidseni An Eight-track was a type of cassette that could run continuously without rewinding . The player took one cartridge at a time. I am reading that this was mostly an american phenomenon. Here is an article available in Portuguese. I have read the English version and hope it is close.