Sunday, March 24, 2013

The TV Guide is Missing!

New York World's Fair

In clips below while he was still at NeXT, Steve Jobs captures a lot about life:

Jobs: When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

Me: I was born in 1960. The “Space Race” shaped my world. Technology was to be the savior of mankind - and the savior of the USA in the "cold war" against communism. Who remembers “Tang” for breakfast? If you were living in America during the sixties, you know what I’m talking about. That nasty-tasting, gritty-grainy pseudo-orange powdered breakfast beverage that was a commercial flop until it swept the country after endorsement by NASA. It rocketed to success with the Gemini flights in 1965, followed by many years of ”spacey” advertising tie-ins. Star Trek was also born in the 60’s with the concept of interstellar space travel, robots and computers in the home. I remember the NYC World’s Fair like it was yesterday. Everything was going to be just simply amazing, I could not wait to grow up and claim my flying car.

Jobs: That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Me: Having a “remote control” anything was a big deal. We were one of the first families in our town to have a radio operated remote controlled garage door opener. It was so cool that I charged neighborhood kids $0.25 to push the button and make the garage door go up and down.

Jobs: And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

Me: In the ‘60’s our TV only had a few channels, and color TV was a big deal. The big channels were 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13.  I never really counted channel 13 as that was PBS, and there was never anything cool on PBS.

Jobs: I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Me: The most important thing in our house growing up was the TV Guide. Since remote control TV was so expensive, you needed the TV Guide. You had to plan out your TV shows in advance, otherwise you would have to get off the couch and change the channels: 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 - then back to 2. CBS, NBC, ABC, WOR and WPIX  here in the New York tri-state area, that was all we had. The TV Guide magazine was the most popular magazine in the US, by far. And if the TV Guide ever went missing - oh, the horror. 


New York World's Fair Ride

When I was growing up, not everyone went to college. In fact, I remember people calling young men names like “college boy”. If you went to college, you might be able to avoid the Vietnam war. I was too young to realize it at the time, but there were people going to college simply to avoid going off to Vietnam. College was not for everyone - most people had “real jobs” and worked for a living. And none of my friend's mothers had careers, just like the mothers on TV. You could live very comfortably on one paycheck when I was growing up. Today, not so much.

My oldest son just graduated from with a degree in Computer Information Systems. His world has been shaped by the “space race” of his day: the Internet. Just as I watched the magic of technology shape my world (and took things for granted) so will my son. Taking things for granted is inevitable.  The magic of remote control TV and radio-controlled garage doors did not last very long for me. Even sending men to the moon started to become passe.  Everyone with a television tuned in to watch Apollo 11 as man first walked on the moon. It took a near disaster with Apollo 13 to even get people to turn on their TV. Going to the moon had become commonplace, just like we take the Internet for granted. How fast we become bored with even the most amazing things!

Technology changes the way that we live, work, and play, and it has done so since the beginning of time. Just look around you, and you will see the next “TV Guide” and not even realize it. Buggy whips, TV Guides, and now iPads? BlackBerry “owned” the Smartphone space just a few years ago. Anyone remember Palm? What’s the next super cool thing in which we shall quickly lose interest?

Everything has its day in the sun, and then it needs to make room for something else. I love blogging on Sunday mornings, pushing a button and sending a message like this to everyone on the planet who would cares to read it.

I just wish I had some Tang.

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