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Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over

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A recent Pew Research Center survey noted that more than 70 percent of Americans were worried about automation’s impact on jobs, while just 21 percent of respondents to a Quartz survey said they trust Facebook with their personal information. Nearly half of millennials worry about the negative effects of social media on their mental and physical health, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

So what now?

As much as we might fantasize about it, we probably won’t delete our social media accounts and toss our phones in the nearest body of water. What we can do is to restore some sense of balance over our relationship with digital technology, and the best way to do that is with analog: the ying to digital’s yang.

Thankfully, the analog world is still here, and not only is it surviving but, in many cases, it is thriving. Sales of old-fashioned print books are up for the third year in a row, according to the Association of American Publishers, while ebook sales have been declining. Independent bookstores have been steadily expanding for several years. Vinyl records have witnessed a decade-long boom in popularity (more than 200,000 newly pressed records are sold each week in the United States), while sales of instant-film cameras, paper notebooks, board games and Broadway tickets are all growing again.

This surprising reversal of fortune for these apparently “obsolete” analog technologies is too often written off as nostalgia for a predigital time. But younger consumers who never owned a turntable and have few memories of life before the internet drive most of the current interest in analog, and often include those who work in Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

Analog, although more cumbersome and costly than its digital equivalents, provides a richness of experience that is unparalleled with anything delivered through a screen. People are buying books because a book engages nearly all of their senses, from the smell of the paper and glue to the sight of the cover design and weight of the pages read, the sound of those sheets turning, and even the subtle taste of the ink on your fingertips. A book can be bought and sold, given and received, and displayed on a shelf for anyone to see. It can start conversations and cultivate romances.

The limits of analog, which were once seen as a disadvantage, are increasingly one of the benefits people are turning to as a counterweight to the easy manipulation of digital. Though a page of paper is limited by its physical size and the permanence of the ink that marks it, there is a powerful efficiency in that simplicity. The person holding the pen above that notebook page is free to write, doodle or scribble her idea however she wishes between those borders, without the restrictions or distractions imposed by software.

In a world of endless email chains, group chats, pop-up messages or endlessly tweaked documents and images, the walled garden of analog saves both time and inspires creativity. Web designers at Google have been required to use pen and paper as a first step when brainstorming new projects for the past several years, because it leads to better ideas than those begun on a screen.

In contrast with the virtual “communities” we have built online, analog actually contributes to the real places where we live. I have become friendly with Ian Cheung, the appropriately opinionated owner of June Records, up the street from my home in Toronto. I benefit not only from the tax revenues that June Records contributes as a local business (paving the roads, paying my daughter’s teachers) but also from living nearby. Like the hardware store, Italian grocer and butcher on the same block, the brick and mortar presence of June adds to my neighborhood’s sense of place (i.e., a place with a killer selection of Cannonball Adderley and local indie albums) and gives me a feeling of belonging. I also have no doubts that, unlike Twitter, Ian would immediately kick out any Nazi or raving misogynist who started ranting inside his store.

Analog excels particularly well at encouraging human interaction, which is crucial to our physical and mental well-being. The dynamic of a teacher working in a classroom full of students has not only proven resilient, but has outperformed digital learning experiments time and again. Digital may be extremely efficient in transferring pure information, but learning happens best when we build upon the relationships between students, teachers and their peers.

We do not face a simple choice of digital or analog. That is the false logic of the binary code that computers are programmed with, which ignores the complexity of life in the real world. Instead, we are faced with a decision of how to strike the right balance between the two. If we keep that in mind, we are taking the first step toward a healthy relationship with all technology, and, most important, one another.

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mburch42
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Inside an abandoned 'Disneyland' in the Philippines

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It was supposed to bring some of the 'Disneyland' magic in the Philippines but it's construction was never completed and today it sits abandoned. Fantasy World is a theme park located in Lemery, in the province of Batangas, Philippines. 

Owned by a Japanese businessman, construction started in 2001. His plans were very ambitious. A large theme park, the largest in the Philippines, modeled after Disneyland with a medieval castle and a large central fountain. 

Construction was never finished due to financial reasons and the park never officially opened. However, the homeowners association maintains and cleans the abandoned park and visitors can enter inside and look around for a fee. 





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mburch42
20 hours ago
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All The Stranger Things Season 2 Episodes Reimagined As Vintage Paperback Horror Book Covers

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stranger-things-2-books-640.jpg Note: Larger version HERE. These are all the Stranger Things season two episodes reimagined as vintage paperback horror book covers by Brazilian artist Butcher Billy. As far as things like this go, I feel like this was well executed. Maybe you disagree. I doubt it though, you and I have a connection. I bet we could finish each other's sentences all day long if we wanted to, but we don't want to because that would get annoying quick and next thing you know we're trying to beat the shit out of each other-- "On the sidewalk in front of a Burger King." That's it, COME AT ME. Thanks to Dapper Don, who's convinced Burger King and Dairy Queen once had a thing and spawned Jack In The Box.
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Personal Computer Ads from the 1980s

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It’s the early eighties, and the computer was finally entering the home in a big way.  Of course, most of us had no idea how to use these things … and software and hardware companies were only too quick to tell us exactly what we needed to buy.  Whether it was a dot matrix printer for the home or word processing software for small businesses, the booming eighties economies meant a seemingly unlimited supply of consumers rabidly gobbling up any tech put before them.  So, let’s have a look at few items for sale…

“Let’s face it.  We all have to make decisions.  Decisions that can change our lives.  Decisions that make us happy or unhappy.  Decisions that could win us fame or fortune. Now, DecisionMaster can help you make the best decisions of your life.

Use Bayesian theory to peer into the future… even if you’ve never heard of the Bayes’ Rule…. If you buy only one computer program this year, make it DecisionMaster. And when it speaks, listen.” (1980)

Personal Computer ads, whether it be software or hardware, promised the moon in their advertising.  By the end of the eighties, the promises became tempered by a growing consumer awareness of what a personal computer could really do.  The above ad literally sets expectations that your PC can be used as a crystal ball.

For more on unrealistic expectations see: 1980s Home Computers Will Make Our Dumb Kids Smart

Also: Getting WAY Too Excited About Computers: Open-Mouthed Wonderment in 80s Tech Adverts

Creative Computing magazine (October 1981)

Kilobaud Microcomputing magazine (June 1979)

“The North Star Horizon computer can be found everywhere computers are used: business, engineering, home – even the classroom.  Low cost, performance, reliability and software availability are the obvious reasons for Horizon’s popularity.  But when a college bookstore orders our BASIC manuals, we know we have done the job from A to Z. Don’t take our word for it.  Read what these instructors have to say about the North Star Horizon:

‘The Horizon is the best computer I could find for my class.  It has an almost unlimted amount of software to choose from.  And the dual diskette drives mean that we don’t have to waste valuable classroom time loading programs, as with computers using cassette drives.'” (1980)

 

“MusicSystem generates the sound of any musical instrument – real or imagined! Solo or sextet.  Rock or classical.  Laid-back or loud.  At home, the concert hall, or the classroom.  MusicSystem sets new standards for computer generated music…. Drop by your Apple Dealer and ask to hear Mountain Music for yourself.  Now only $395.00” (1982)

Props to Tandy, which started as a leather goods company and ended up leading the personal computer revolution along with Apple and Commodore.

“With a calculator, pencil and paper you can spend hours planning, projecting, writing, estimating, calculating, revising, erasing and recalculating as you work toward a decision.  Or with Personal Software VisiCalc program and your Apple II you can explore many more options with a fraction of the time and effort you’ve spent before. ”  (1980)

Creative Computing magazine, August 1982

“The system is packaged in a totally shielded single case, housing two full-size dual-sided floppy disk drives, a full sized 12″ video monitor, the keyboard and the SDS-100 computer power.  For the more technical features: 32K Random Access Memory, 1,025,024 Bytes of on line disk storage…”

Računari magazine, 1988

For more Yugoslavian computer magazine splendor see: Yugoslavian Computer Magazine Cover Girls of the 1980s-90s

Računar magazine, 1987

 

Creative Computing, January 1985

 

 

 

“We’re Corona Data Systems and we’ve made Starfire, a Winchester disk just for Apple II.  What’s in it for you?  5 million characters of storage.  And that’s not all.  You’ll get Corona’s Disk Partitioning which allows for up to 16 separate operating systems such as Apple DOS and Pascal, all sharing the same disk.” (1982)

 

“Magic Window transforms your Apple Computer into a sophisticated word processor unlike any other.  Streamlined to meet all professional needs yet be easy to understand and operate.  Magic Windo can be used by anyone in minutes.  Simulating a standard typewriter, everyone has immediate rapport with the system as no special training is required….. Magic Window solves the Apple’s display problem without expensive hardware additions.  Using your video screen as a “window” you view what you type from any position selected with a single keystroke….”  (1982)

1986 – BodyLink COMET (COmputerized Muscle Exerciser and Trainer)

 

Creative Computing magazine, September 1983

“If you guessed that a Practical Peripherals Microbuffer printer buffer saves time, you’re right.  For the way it works, this inexpensive product is the most practical addition to your microcomputer system ever.  With Microbuffer, you don’t have to wait for your printer to finish before you resume using your computer.  Data is received and stored at fast speeds, then released from Microbuffer’s memory to your printer.  This is called buffering.  The more you print, the more productive it makes your workflow.”  (1983)

Advanced Logic Systems (ALS) CP/M Card for Apple II

 

 

“If you’re tired of inflexible personal software, it’s time for SAVVY.  SAVVY teaches your computer to adapt to you.  It’s part hardware, part software, and part remarkable.  It lets your computer see things as you see them.  do things the way you like to do them.  It even allows for those unavoidable entry errors that we all sometimes make.  What’s the secret? SAVVY can recognize patterns (other software products can only recognize exact duplicates) and you can teach it to recognize your language.  That means it will carry out your commands instead of flashing ‘error’ messages.” (1983)

Creative Computing, January 1985

The post Personal Computer Ads from the 1980s appeared first on Flashbak.

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mburch42
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How to Make Friends

7 Comments and 18 Shares
No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!
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mburch42
2 days ago
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7 public comments
tante
3 hours ago
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It me.
Oldenburg/Germany
smallfrogge
2 days ago
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Oh dear lord yes
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
sdevore
2 days ago
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And again too real
Tucson, AZ
Covarr
2 days ago
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I thought it was as simple as indiscriminately clicking "Add friend" on thousands of Facebook accounts. Surely with that wide a pool of potential friends, at least SOME of them will accept a friend request from a complete stranger without a second thought.

Boom. Friendship.
Moses Lake, WA
taddevries
2 days ago
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Sometimes XK cuts too the bone.
lrwrp
2 days ago
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Too real man, too real :(
??, NC
alt_text_bot
2 days ago
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No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!

Navy admits their pilots were responsible for obscene skywriting

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Obscene sky writing

Some people are upset with the recent contrail pattern they say is obscene that was left in the sky by Navy aircraft in Okanogan County, Washington.

KREM 2 News spoke with Navy officials who released a statement, “The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable.”

Aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island were involved in what some consider to be obscene skywritings, many whom believe it represents male genitalia.

Dick Pic

Photo: Twitter

One of those complainants who submitted pictures to KREM2 was upset by having to possibly explain what the drawings were to her young children.

The news station reached out to the FAA for a statement. “FAA officials said unless the act poses a safety risk, there is nothing they can do about. The official said they “cannot police morality,” according to the news source.

Dick Pic2

Photo: Twitter

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