Thursday, March 20, 2014

Retro Survives

"You know engineers -- they LOVE to change things," grumbled Dr. McCoy in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE (1979).

Back before I was a cartoonist, when I used to work full-time in an office, I worked with a guy who did good work ... up until the time the software got upgraded. Of course, we had classes where we all learned the new software. It's a pain -- but, look, change is part of life.

But my friend did not face up. Riding that learning curve was not for him. He got mad, and hated the new system. He had reached his level of technological aptitude. And he was going to stay stuck in an old school  Windows 98 world because that's what he knew. So there.

But, thanks to the Internet, I see there are legions that have reached that breaking point.

I keep seeing these retro takes on new gadgets. Some are for fun and some are for real.

Here are a couple of old-time phone interfaces for people who like to party like it's 1969:

Hmm. I think that last one is real. Maybe, maybe not.

Now there this Don Draper-era "Tweephone," where you have to dial the phone many, many times to make a letter.

From the Dvice/SyFy site:

Created by a pair of Ukrainian tech companies, the Tweephone makes you enter your tweets one character at a time using the rotary phone dial. Of course with lots more letters in the alphabet than numbers on the dial, some letters require two or three turns to complete. That means completing a 140 character tweet could take some time, but hey, the world operated at a slower pace back then.

Typewriters? Are they still around? Business Standard has stated they are going the way of the dodo.

Edward Michael, General Sales Manager at the typewriter company Swintec read that erroneous  report on the last typewriter company in the world closing and "thought it was a typo."

"We are a typewriter company, and we are alive and doing very well."

 Writer Frederick Forsyth agrees. In the BBC article Why Typewriters Beat Computers he notes:

"I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again. And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure." 

So, even though engineers love to change things, you can still hang onto to a little bit of retro.

Above: the manual typewriter that's part of the control console on DOCTOR WHO's Tardis.

Hat tip to Mark Anderson!

-- Edited from a November 3, 2011 blog entry.

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