1.19.2006

Retro vs. Cutting Edge vs. Me

I must confess that I am a retro-geek. I have to call myself that because I’m not a current-geek. The laser pointers that can melt duct tape and AJAX programmed web-doohikies are not in my possession and I don’t have enough cash or time to support a multi-console habit of video gaming. Based on that, I cannot consider myself a current-geek … and I’m OK with that. Older technology interests me for two reasons:

1. It’s cheap or free
2. I have a higher probability to understand it and not mash buttons in frustration

It’s true that if I was presented with an amber screen mainframe computer with tape reels along side an ultra thin laptop computer with a huge-faced screen, I’d poke around Mr. UNIVAC over there first before seeing how many Terabytes of RAM the iSnazzy-Mac had. This could be considered a weakness, but it’s just an overgrown curiosity.

Even my music is antiquated. Not many can stand it or will stand for it. Currently in my CD-Player I have “Electric Avenue” playing which always makes me want to program Atari games or write in BASIC. 1982 through 1984 seemed like a magical time though my parents would wonder just what the heck I thought was so thrilling about a time that looked like this:


“If you need help with your wardrobe, please press 0 now.”


“There are two kinds of fools: One says, ‘This is old therefore it is good.’ The other one says, ‘This is new therefore it is better.’”

I thought this was a quote from the Bible, but it turns out it’s just from some guy who was broke, like me, and couldn’t invest in either timeframe. Still, it says a lot. It’s much better to live in the NOW and be ever-present. (By living in the NOW, I don’t mean living in the storage basement of the National Organization of Women – that would be a little creepy and darn near an episode of CSI).

For the most part, I like the Future. It’s a bit expensive and aloof, but it looks nice. The Past, though friendly and warm, can get on your nerves if entertained too long. The Answer? Buy the Present a soda and get to know it real well, make it a grilled cheese sandwich and surf the Information Superhighway together. You’ll be glad you did.

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