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My Gadget Autobiography

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I was trying to think of an interesting activity the other day for an English class, and I came up with a Gadget Autobiography. I could see what the shape of it would be; less then and more now, but once I got going I found I had a short anecdote to go with each thing. I also kept thinking of more as I went along. There will be more no doubt.


Black and White TV, Radio

I remember watching the TV and being scared by the credits on Dr. Who Ė a popular Sci Fi TV series that has had a revival over the past few years. I must have been 3 or so. My mum, in her twenties, always had Radio 1 on for all the pop songs.


Black and White TV with a Radio Dial, Colour TV, Pong

I can remember my dad turning the radio on the TV on before he went to work. The TV wasnít broadcasting until later in the morning. In those days many people rented their TVs. Now no-one rents their TVs now. All those shops went out of business about ten or so years ago.

In the early seventies we saw our old neighbourís colour TV. It fair glowed as the character had on a red lumberjack shirt. I can clearly remember going round with some other kids for a look.

We got Pong in the late 70s. It had those two paddles that knocked the ball back and forth to play tennis. It was so basic, but I remember thinking whoa! How does this work? (I still donít know).


Video Recorder, Atari TV Console, Games Arcades, Pac Man in Pubs, Sky TV

My friendís mum bought a video recorder, and we went round one afternoon to watch The Blues Brothers. It opened a great two decades of video watching.

My brother got an Atari TV Console with Pac Man on it. It was pretty good, but the controllers were a bit flimsy.

At that time they opened games arcades where my mates would play Asteroids and Defender. I was rubbish, and didnít have the cash to play and get any good. My brother was one of those kids who would use a piece of plastic to rack up lots of goes on the slots where he would win loads of tokens.

When I was at uni, the landlord lived with four of us students. He was a good bloke who was just a bit older, and who wanted a student life out of work time. He got the Sky in and we all paid £1.50 a week to watch endless movies when we were drunk. I saw Predator and Nosferatu and many others while I was there.


BBC and Acorn Computers in School, First PC, Computer Games, Microsoft Office, Sega Megadrive, Playstation 1

The school I worked at had quickly bought Acorn and BBC computers in the 90s and they were rubbish. Little did we realise that they would involve constant upgrading, maintenance, software etc. I donít think we knew that the pace of change had already gathered and that change was going to be an almost annual necessity.

My brother gave me a Sega Megadrive, which my wife particularly liked. It was Alex Kidd we used to play - a side scrolling platform game which was very frustrating but that has a catchy tune.

My first PC cost a fortune and only had 2MB Ram. The computer games were great. One I used to play was Lands of Lore done by Westwood, who went on to the Command and Conquer series.

Towards the end of the decade I got a Playstation 1. It was on this that I really got into Final Fantasy 7 with Cloud and Aeris. What a brilliant game it was. Iíd read about it months before, and it opened up the possibility of how games could go beyond just a simple blaster to an interesting narrative.


DVD Player, Playstation 2, X-Box, Mobile Phones, Camera Phones, Touchscreen Phones, Internet Enabled Phones, Flatscreen TVs, Laptops, Netbook, More PCs, The Internet

Wasnít the Playstation 2 fantastic! Grand Theft Auto Vice City and San Andreas! Single player sandbox narratives. Superb.

I did buy one of the early X Boxes. The first one I had to take back as I got the Red Rings of Death, ( on the console Ė not a scabies related affliction). The second lasted just over a year and died Ė just as I was about to buy Mass Effect! I was gutted.

Weíve now got four computers in the house including the PC and Netbook. The biggest computing development for me has been my internet use which has overtaken my watching TV. Iíd rather surf than passively watch, though I still watch the football, films and Game of Thrones recently. I donít know about you, but I find the interaction makes all the difference.

The other biggie for this decade has been mobiles of course. Iím not very au fait with them. I can photograph, text and call, but Iím not into the mobile surfing yet. Itís coming though. It has definitely been driven by the kids. Who knows. In a few years perhaps weíll just surf on cheaper mobiles rather than lashing out for bigger computers.


Still the same at the moment, but I canít see this staying the same for long. Itís early in the decade. Itíll be interesting to look back in ten years and fill in the gaps. 3d TV is already here. Whoa! How does that work then?
Tags: gadgets


  1. Mutatis-Mutandis's Avatar
    I can't help but notice you never owned a Super Nintendo, the greatest video game console to have ever existed.
  2. Paulclem's Avatar
    I didn't. i don't even know when they were about. In the 80s I missed all the developments and only dropped back in in the 90's when my brother re-introduced me to games.
  3. Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
    Well done.
    1970's - CB radios and the Popeil's Pocket Fisherman -
  4. Mutatis-Mutandis's Avatar
    I like this idea. I'll write my own technology autobiography here tomorrow, or Sunday. Kinda tired now, and I actually have plans tomorrow.
  5. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    I think this is a great idea for an assignment in a writing class. I'd even do this just as a fun writing exercise.
  6. Paulclem's Avatar
    Thanks Jersea. I thought it would be good because everyone has an opinion on gadgets, and so there's mileage for all.
  7. JuniperWoolf's Avatar
    Haha, I remember Acorn computers from my elementary school. They DID suck.

    The thing with the Super Nintendo is that it was the foil to Sega, like how X-Box 360 is the foil to the PS3 nowadays. Few people had both. I was a Nintendo person, I played a lot of Super Mario and Zelda (and I swear that it's to these games that I owe my reading comprehension and puzzle solving abilities). Paul was into sega, so he probably got to play Sonic.

    I was a playstation kid in my teens, talk about the best rpgs ever. FFVII was great, so was Legends of Dragoon and FFX.
  8. Paulclem's Avatar
    We did get sonic, but it was on the computer. My son liked it, but I preferred FFVII.

    I agree about the reading. My lad was playing a game called Lands of Lore on the computer in 1998, and learning all kinds of stuff about armour and shields. It wasn't "Life in a Medieval Village", but it had enough elements to it to make it an education to play. And that wasn't the main point. It was fun.