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103: Having a lawn you could tell kids to get off
July 22, 2009 4:51 PM   Subscribe

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About a rather comprehensive list, ranging from the gone-and-forgotten (22: Using jumpers to set IRQs) to the not-yet-extinct-but going-there (41: Phone books and Yellow Pages). But missing a few like 101: wired.com not being a nostalgia site and 102: getting punished for calling your dad a geek.
posted by wendell (92 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
They seem to be assuming that their readers do not yet have kids.
posted by The World Famous at 4:57 PM on July 22, 2009


My dad and his retired cronies send me one of these lists every few days. Wired, ask yourself if you really want to be in a race to the bottom where you're running forwarded email chains as articles.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN??? BREAD ONLY COST 5 CENTS A LOAF!@!!

TEH ANDREWS SISTERS - NOW THAT'S MUSIC
posted by GuyZero at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, I make my kids set IRQs by jumpers on an old 486 box I keep around the house before they get to eat. Not my fault the rest of you are bad parents.

They have to configure sound blaster DOS environment variables to get dessert.
posted by GuyZero at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


This is just like that list that that school puts out every year that says what their incoming students have never seen.
posted by smackfu at 5:00 PM on July 22, 2009


Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

I don't think so. Vinyl is sort of having a Renaissance right now. I know a few DJs who still use vinyl, but it has more to do with preference than anything else.
Also, I made the wonderful decision to learn how to DJ on vinyl, because I could get a set of beat up Geminis for next to nothing.
I can only see the vinyl market growing, if only because people want to touch their music again.
posted by hellojed at 5:00 PM on July 22, 2009


95. Cash.

Speaking as someone trying to scratch together some green to play tooth fairy tonight, I can be fairly sure the guys nominating this item do not have children. My daughter, at least, does not yet accept debit card transactions.
posted by jeoc at 5:02 PM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


My daughter, at least, does not yet accept debit card transactions.

Please don't every say this out loud in public, OK? Because someone is gonna take it the wrong way.
posted by GuyZero at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


This list is all over the place. A third is stuff that was gone 10 years ago, a third is stuff that is gone today, and a third is stuff that might be gone in 10 years.
posted by smackfu at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2009


My kids know about a lot of this stuff. I'm kind of a junk collector. My seven year old even knows how to hook up the VCR and set the time, which is way more than her grandparents are capable of doing.

But we were just talking recently about the demise of diving boards at public pools. It is pretty lame that my kids may never get the chance to build up the courage to climb up the high dive, then stand trembling on the edge trying to decide whether to jump or chicken out and go back down the ladder.
posted by padraigin at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


This list actually makes me vaguely angry. At least one item in ten is pure flamebait.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a little piece I like to call "DO YOU FEEL OLD? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD FEEL OLD".

disclosure: I'm only twenty-three
posted by potch at 5:08 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


NEW STUDY FINDS THINGS CHANGE
posted by DU at 5:08 PM on July 22, 2009 [16 favorites]


The knowledge of vinyl has been mixed for a while. As a college DJ, there would be tours through the station from various Jr. High and High Schools, plus a few younger kids. Most of the kids had never seen records, but a few had households with functioning turntables, and a few said they owned records. Heck, Hot Topic sells vinyl, including NBfC picture discs.

My bit of Wired nostalgia: they used to be the size of your average wedding magazine (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick). Then the dot-coms collapsed, and the magazine has thinned down considerably.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:10 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Diving boards are no longer in swimming pools? Really? This is what I get for moving to Florida and living in an apartment complex with a pool (though without a diving board). But why wouldn't public or school pools have them? Liability?
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 5:11 PM on July 22, 2009


Diving boards are no longer in swimming pools? Really? This is what I get for moving to Florida and living in an apartment complex with a pool (though without a diving board). But why wouldn't public or school pools have them? Liability?

This was the consensus we reached, yeah. They do have them at large pools where school or other teams practice actual diving, but my experience is that they're off limits during open recreational swim time.
posted by padraigin at 5:14 PM on July 22, 2009


"49. Concatenating and UUDecoding binaries from USENET"

Yes. Nobody downloads binaries from USENET anymore. It's a dead medium. Please keep propagating this idea, especially among copyright-police types.

*Cough*

No, seriously, people still do this. It's yEnc and not UUEncode, and premium USENET providers' web interfaces and software like HellaNZB automate the process, but downloading binaries from USENET is by no means a thing of the past. In fact, it's far more prevalent than the days of "sz pornpic.gif".
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:16 PM on July 22, 2009


but my experience is that they're off limits during open recreational swim time.

Much to my shock and horror after years as a stay-off-the-board lifeguard, around here the kids are doing every crazy move you can think of off the diving boards at the local pools. One kid had a gas-powered burner with a Wolfgang Puck-brand frying pan and was making crepe suzette as he jumped into the deep end.

Ok, he just did a backflip. But still, MY SHOCKED FACE.
posted by GuyZero at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Plus how many kids even downloaded from newsgroups in the first place?
posted by smackfu at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2009


79. The days before the nanny state.

Yawn. Put these in ALL CAPS and they'll read just like the 600 emails in my trash folder from my gun nut Republican uncle.
posted by applemeat at 5:20 PM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


No diving boards? Most of the other stuff on this list is stuff that I'm glad my non-existent future offspring wouldn't have to deal with, but that one sucks. Diving boards are an important part of life. Dealing with pain in the ass technology, not so much.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:20 PM on July 22, 2009


"94. Roller skates, as opposed to blades."

The fuck? When was this written, 1992? Rollerblades? Jesus, I haven't seen those since the late 90s at the very latest.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:25 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Reader's Digest called - they want their demographic back.
posted by dammitjim at 5:25 PM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The number of TV channels being a single digit.

Maybe it's because I grew up in between New York and Philly but I'm 45 and I don't remember having fewer than ten channels. And we got cable in '73 which had around 30 channels at the time.
posted by octothorpe at 5:28 PM on July 22, 2009


The writer is British, which is kind of unusual for Wired for a nostalgia piece.
posted by smackfu at 5:31 PM on July 22, 2009


The article is on the GeekDad blog on wired.com, not from the magazine's writers. I'm a writer for GeekDad, too, though not the one who wrote this piece (I contributed a few entries to it, but didn't compile it).
posted by cerebus19 at 5:35 PM on July 22, 2009


>Wondering if you can afford to buy a RAM upgrade.

Paid $900 for 4MB back in 1989, at the peak of the PC-boom RAM quasi-crisis (PC shipments went from 5M in 1986 to 17M in 1989 and the DRAM manufacturers couldn't keep up).

>Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.

The Netflix Cycle can be a kind mistress but when I get behind it is a cruel master.
posted by @troy at 5:35 PM on July 22, 2009


312: The Letter "Q"
1245: Phytoplankton
8987: Widespread literacy
27987: Guitars
112328: Melancholy
2374198798: Flesh
posted by Iridic at 5:36 PM on July 22, 2009 [17 favorites]


It will be sad when the Yellow Pages actually does disappear. I hope, by then, they have come up with something as easily and readily accessible as that book. I have yet to find anything online to compare with the ease and speed of flipping-open the book to find whatever service I'm in need of. Including their own online version. And, it's free.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:36 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


>They seem to be assuming that their readers do not yet have kids.

I'm fairly certain that wired.com/geekdad assumes their readers have kids.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:43 PM on July 22, 2009


I didn't realize this was on GeekDad so I must dial back my snark because GeekDad is a great blog although this is not their best work.

It will be sad when the Yellow Pages actually does disappear.

What will visiting toddlers sit on to eat lunch?
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's the arm like thing on old turntables?
posted by tellurian at 5:52 PM on July 22, 2009


I was shocked to see Metafilter reflecting my gmail inbox, but even more shocked to see that Omni was out of publication. I mean, like 14 years out of publication. Didn't we, as a nation, used to be more interested in things like ESP and telekinesis? You know, mysteries of the unknown. Whatever happened to that? Am I the only one that listens to Coast to Coast during late-night commutes?
posted by jabberjaw at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2009


What will visiting toddlers sit on to eat lunch?

Well, at my house, they sit on a big library-sized dictionary. Another book that is swiftly becoming obsolete, but if you can find a secondhand one, grab it. When not acting as a booster seat, mine is busy being the best doorstop I've ever had.
posted by padraigin at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2009


How about obscene phone calls? Do guys still make these in the days of caller ID? Heavy breathing: another skill supplanted by technology.
posted by digsrus at 6:06 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


24. Terminals accessing the mainframe.

We just call it 'cloud computing' now.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:08 PM on July 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


112 Walking uphill, both ways.
posted by pompomtom at 6:10 PM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Using jumpers to set IRQs

I am incredibly old, but I don't have the faintest idea what this means.

On the other hand, I was recently listening to a podcast in which a 20-something explained without a hint of irony that he used to subscribe to emails from Britannica.com, which was like an early version of Wikipedia. If you'll excuse me, I have to go shoo some kids off my lawn.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:14 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some of these are just wrong.

Pools with diving boards?
Vinyl?
Neat handwriting?
Cash? (And therefore, payphones.)

And, my personal favorite, recording a song in a studio? Why would that go anywhere?

These things aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Sorry, Wired.
posted by reductiondesign at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2009


I remember programming using punch cards. Gad, that was awful!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2009


Using jumpers to set IRQs

>I am incredibly old, but I don't have the faintest idea what this means.


You must have been a Mac (or Amiga or whatever) user back in the day. You can tell your kids about zapping PRAM or somesuch.

They'll tell your grandkids about rebuilding permissions.

And so it goes...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:23 PM on July 22, 2009


93. Looking out the window during a long drive.

Huh? Are windows going to be obsolete? Only short drives in the future?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
posted by hypersloth at 6:46 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Counting in kilobytes.

So there will be no text files in the future?
posted by adjockey at 7:08 PM on July 22, 2009


97. Spending your entire allowance at the arcade in the mall.

This one still makes me sad. Good thing I live near Barcade!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:19 PM on July 22, 2009


You must have been a Mac (or Amiga or whatever) user back in the day. You can tell your kids about zapping PRAM or somesuch.

Nah a lot of old SCSI drives required setting jumpers to set the SCSI ID.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:19 PM on July 22, 2009


31.Turning a PlayStation on its end to try and get a game to load.

I wish. I really wish we would see an end to weird bugginess in games, but I am not holding my breath.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:20 PM on July 22, 2009


93. Looking out the window during a long drive.

Road Trips being obsolete after the gasoline crisis during the 2013 Q2 - 2015 Q3 boom.
posted by sleslie at 7:23 PM on July 22, 2009


hypersloth: "Are windows going to be obsolete? Only short drives in the future?"

I think they're positing the demise of the "family road trip" to go on vacation or see Grandma or whatever, having been replaced by cheap air travel and a desire to visit more exotic locales than can be reached by car.

That might have been true during the bubble years (I knew more than a few families who funded their expensive Caribbean vacations from their HELOCs) but I think the road trip vacation is going to come back into vogue; the oil shock and decreased demand caused fare prices to spike and they've stayed high since.

OTOH, he could be saying that high gas prices will make long drives a thing of the past. I don't really buy that; for a family of 3 or 4, driving will be significantly cheaper than flying or other options even if the price of gas goes up significantly from its current level.

Not a very good 'prediction' either way. A lot of them are pretty weak; the list needs to be pared down by about 80%.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:30 PM on July 22, 2009


"Huh? Are windows going to be obsolete? Only short drives in the future?"

Cars all come with DVD players and seat back displays for kids to watch tv/movies/play consoles on.
posted by Mitheral at 7:35 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes. Nobody downloads binaries from USENET anymore. It's a dead medium. Please keep propagating this idea, especially among copyright-police types.

Sadly...

93. Looking out the window during a long drive.

As opposed to staring at your cellphone texting the whole time (or the DVD players Mitheral refers to).
posted by dirigibleman at 7:40 PM on July 22, 2009


Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.

I havea 200 GB hard drive with about 2 GB free at the moment. Files expand to fill disk space. I figure I'd fill a couple of TB hard drive in a about 6 months.
posted by Hactar at 7:43 PM on July 22, 2009


Even worse is the list of stuff my dad knows that I don't/won't, and probably a bigger list for my grandpa.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


With the impending water crisis, I won't have any reason to yell at kids, either.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 8:11 PM on July 22, 2009


# Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

I doubt that. A couple days ago I was in Best Buy the other day and they had a whole selection of records. I was really surprised, but there they were. Vinyl records have a 'feel' to 'em while CDs are kind of stopgap technology. CDs are way less convenient then MP3s, but not that much more convenient then records, assuming you have a record player.

A lot of bands are selling Vinyl on their websites now, including Metric's new Album which is being produced without a record company (and is awesome).
posted by delmoi at 8:19 PM on July 22, 2009


Diving boards are no longer in swimming pools?

They removed the diving boards at our municipal pool last season and people freaked out. There was such a public outcry (meetings, threats of boycotts, etc.) that the pool committee ended up putting in a new diving board (AND a spiral waterslide) this season.

It always amazes me to see the kinds of issues that motivate people to get organized and exercise their civic powers. Most of my fellow townsfolk can't be bothered to get worked up over our pitiful school system or our lack of quality healthcare options, but by golly if you take away their diving boards, out come the pitchforks.
posted by amyms at 8:31 PM on July 22, 2009


Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.

I remember our first remote-control TV -- it used a clicker to change channels. No volume control, but it would change channels without needing you to get up. And the remote didn't need batteries. It wasn't IR, it was an actual sound, a high-frequency click.

We discovered, quite by accident, that flipping the little metal bit at the bottom of the lampshade in the family room also made that same sound, so eventually we stopped using the remote at all. I imagine we'd have looked pretty weird furiously flipping the little metal bit on the lamp once an hour. It wasn't perfectly reliable, and sometimes took two or even three flips per channel change. But it was still easier than getting up. :-)

Getting lost. With GPS coming to more and more phones, your location is only a click away

In a small, quiet way, I think this may be of the biggest changes in human history, and we're hardly noticing it. Light bulbs did away with the dark; the GPS does away with being lost.

Not knowing where you are has been one of the biggest problems for humanity since we started traveling, particularly since the dawn of the automobile, but it's just quietly vanishing.

It's a BIG DEAL, but gradual and subtle, so we're not realizing how important it is.
posted by Malor at 8:59 PM on July 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


"It always amazes me to see the kinds of issues that motivate people to get organized and exercise their civic powers. Most of my fellow townsfolk can't be bothered to get worked up over our pitiful school system or our lack of quality healthcare options, but by golly if you take away their diving boards, out come the pitchforks."

Well it's a simple problem with a direct obvious solution; both are small scale enough to fit in one's brain at the same time; and there is a pretty bright line between the two sides IE: not much room for negotiation. Healthcare and schools not so much.
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


How many of you punks have ridden a penny farthing?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
posted by 2sheets at 10:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Vinyl is sort of having a Renaissance right now

Cheap Trick just released an album on vinyl. And eight-track.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:09 PM on July 22, 2009


Not even a mention of the Touch Lamp. Watch the video in case you've forgotten how to work one.

And I remember actually saying, "If I ever get so lazy that I can't get up off the couch to change the channel on the TV, then I'll quit watching the damn thing" in my pre-remote TV watching days.
posted by tamitang at 10:24 PM on July 22, 2009


Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

Wow. Just... wow. All you guys who make fun of hipsters? Congratulations. You have just met the exact opposite of a hipster.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:54 PM on July 22, 2009


I haven't actually listened to any of it, but I understand the reason vinyl's undergoing such a renaissance is because they can't do the wall-of-sound bullshit on that medium -- if they tried, the needle would jump right out of the groove. They're forced by physics to mix in an 'analog' way, more like what you'd hear if the all the parts were actually live and being recorded at the same time. (they often aren't, of course.)

Even though the reproduction is poorer, the mix is so good that it can be worth it.

Me, what I want is a CD with the vinyl mix.
posted by Malor at 10:54 PM on July 22, 2009


The interesting things aren't the ones obviated by direct replacements, but by unforeseen ones. Already kids think of watches as affectations and jewellery-for-men, because the mobile phone has completely killed them. I still find this quite hard to believe, but take a look at the wrists of teens and see.

I doubt there's a list 100 long of such things, but one would be much more interesting to me. For every dodgy tape loader I remember from my youth, there'll be a red ring of death for today's. But what will be the equivalent of me not knowing a fact and not even knowing where to begin to find out?
posted by fightorflight at 11:10 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Using jumpers to set IRQs

I am incredibly old, but I don't have the faintest idea what this means.


The short non-eye-glazing over version: IRQs are interrupt requests used by computer hardware. Their purpose is basically to say to the CPU "Hey! I need your attention for a second."

In a PC, they're numbered, and some numbers are already reserved. (IRQ 1 for the keyboard, for instance.) Others are open for use, and back in the day (before about 1995 or so), you would have to specify the IRQ you wanted to use for most kinds of peripheral equipment--modems, network cards, and so on.

They way you did this was to set jumpers--little pieces of plastic with metal inside. They were designed to fit over metal posts on the modem, or network card, or motherboard in the case of serial ports, and create a circuit to tell it which IRQ it should use. (The really spiffy hardware had little switches you could set.)

I got really used to leaving the case off a PC after installing new hardware. There's nothing like installing a new modem, reassembling the PC, and putting it back in place only to discover you'd accidentally used an already-assigned IRQ. (If you were lucky, the computer would hang immediately and let you know something was wrong.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to tie an onion to my belt, as that's the style of the time...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:30 AM on July 23, 2009


"Huh? Are windows going to be obsolete? Only short drives in the future?"

One of the main themes on that website seems to be an obsession with the latest gadget and an apparent inability to be without them.
Witness the collection below for a mere 12 hour drive.

Way too much stuff.
posted by madajb at 5:52 AM on July 23, 2009


71. Remembering someone’s phone number.

Oh god damn if I had a nickel for every time this has come around to haunt me.
posted by Spatch at 6:06 AM on July 23, 2009


3-D movies meaning red-and-green glasses.

In the movie theater, yes.
But I think there will be short revival for home cinema before dual polarized projectors at home become affordable and people realize they miss color.

Unless they mean the switchover from red/cyan to magenta/green glasses.
posted by Akeem at 6:10 AM on July 23, 2009


>Nah a lot of old SCSI drives required setting jumpers to set the SCSI ID.


Damn, I'd forgotten about those.

Jeebus, I could probably come up with a list of 100 things I used to know how to do. If I could remember them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:45 AM on July 23, 2009


The only thing that I'm sad my kids won't know about is the Weekly World News.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:02 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


93. Looking out the window during a long drive.

Jesus, if you're not the driver, why would you want to stare the entire time at the countryside? I won't miss that.

OLD <> (necessarily) GOOD
posted by grubi at 7:35 AM on July 23, 2009


Jesus, if you're not the driver, why would you want to stare the entire time at the countryside?

Cows on my side!

And if you're not gonna stare out the window, I'm gonna take all the cows on your side, too, and you won't have any cows.
posted by Spatch at 8:03 AM on July 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Lists like this make me a little sad.

A Marathon bar (what a Snickers used to be called in Britain).

Weren't these a long braid of caramel, covered in chocolate? "Lasts a good long time" was the catchphrase, and the TV ads featured a cowboy or something?

Anyway, I have to go chase some people off the lawn now.
posted by jquinby at 8:20 AM on July 23, 2009


They hopefully will not know what Three Wolf Moon shirts and Keyboard Cat mean, but they may know what they look like together.
posted by anthill at 8:51 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nah a lot of old SCSI drives required setting jumpers to set the SCSI ID.

And the black magic of SCSI termination! Good times, good times.

Phone phreaking would probably be on that list.

But some--libraries? We go at least weekly, and have about 20 books out at any given time. Our kids read a lot.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:02 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Getting lost. With GPS coming to more and more phones, your location is only a click away.

I was just remarking on this to my wife a couple of months ago; that there is going to be a point where being lost is completely alien to future generations.

I actually feel a little sorry for them. Getting lost and finding my way was a great time-waster when I was younger, and it was a game improved my sense of direction immeasurably. Being able to just whip out my phone and see where I was and how to get where I'm going is certainly more convenient, but maybe not always as much fun.
posted by quin at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2009


100 things our kids may never know about? I don't know a lot of this stuff.
posted by bettafish at 9:31 AM on July 23, 2009


I still have a SCSI cdrom jukebox hogging space in my office. I've been meaning to write some software for the darn thing (for the last 9 years). I just can't bear to part with it. Ahhh, SCSI, thems was the days.
posted by Imhotep is Invisible at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2009


There once was a word, "led", that did not mean "light-emitting diode".
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2009


and you won't have any cows.

Dammit. Me and my big mouth.
posted by grubi at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2009


Even worse is the list of stuff my dad knows that I don't

Seriously. This list is mere ooo-I-feel-old entertainment. An article titled "100 Things Your Dad Knew That You Don't" could be seriously educational. (But would probably be mostly ooo-things-used-to-suck entertainment.)
posted by straight at 11:27 AM on July 23, 2009


It will be sad when the Yellow Pages actually does disappear. I hope, by then, they have come up with something as easily and readily accessible as that book. I have yet to find anything online to compare with the ease and speed of flipping-open the book to find whatever service I'm in need of. Including their own online version. And, it's free.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:36 PM on July 22 [2 favorites +] [!]


umm.... google?
posted by wretched_rhapsody at 11:56 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Weren't these a long braid of caramel, covered in chocolate? "Lasts a good long time" was the catchphrase, and the TV ads featured a cowboy or something?

Not 100% sure, but that sounds like a Wig Wag/Curly Wurly. (Canadian/Brit)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:10 PM on July 23, 2009


75. LEGO just being square blocks of various sizes, with the odd wheel, window or door.

This one really is only accurate for people over the age of 35.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2009


Also, in the 60s some LEGO sets came with metal Matchbox-style cars.

The "only square blocks" myth is really just a "Well back in MY DAY toys were BETTER!" sort of thing.

But I suppose this is that sort of list.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2009


For number 1, I think what they mean is:

The forty five seconds of your life you lose when you put a film into a video player and stare at LED numbers going backwards

Courtesy of Armando Ianucci
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 2:44 PM on July 23, 2009


IRQs are interrupt requests used by computer hardware. Their purpose is basically to say to the CPU "Hey! I need your attention for a second."

Yeah, Mac owners sneered at PC owners about those for years and years. You had to actually know what interrupts were in use in your computer, as most cards couldn't share properly. And it got quite hairy! The PC XT had, IIRC, 8 interrupts, 0 through 7. 0,1 and 6 were taken by system things, I don't remember what. IRQs 3 and 4 were for COM1 and COM2 (serial ports), and IRQ 7 was for LPT1, the parallel (printer) port. So, usually, you had IRQs 2 and 5 available. If you had more than 2 cards that needed interrupts, you usually had to turn off your second COM port or your printer.

ATs added more interrupts, but a lot of them were taken, too. I think they went to 15, but I don't remember ever using 8, and I think 14 and 15 were committed. ATs also included the delightful feature of mirroring IRQ 2 on IRQ9, so they interfered with each other. You could use only one of the two. (!) And they added COM3 and COM4, but they put them on the same interrupts as 1 and 2, so you could have COM1 _or_ COM3, and COM2 _or_ COM4, but not all four at once. And you were expected to know this kind of thing to use your computer successfully. You were just supposed to KNOW not to use IRQ 14, or that IRQ 2 would conflict with 9. Lots of home users just stuck with 2, 5, and sometimes 7, if they didn't have a printer. Or they bought Macs instead.

It wasn't until the advent of Windows 95 and PCI that IRQs started to go away, and it was still handy to know a little bit about them. And they didn't really go away even then, they just mostly became self-managing. The code to do that was still pretty buggy, so you often had to troubleshoot resource conflicts on 95. It was better on 98, and I think they finally got it debugged in Windows NT. I haven't seen a resource conflict in many, many years.

This whole newfangled USB thing, where you can just plug stuff in and it works, is pretty outstanding. We like to bitch about how enormous modern programs and OSes get, but a lot of the reason for that is friendliness. Those early PCs often had 64K of RAM to start with -- there's just no space for anything but completely bare-bones programs. You had to know the hardware down to a gnat's eyebrow to even use it properly. Nowadays, it takes gigs and gigs of RAM for machines to run well, but damn, they're easy.

(of course, under the hood, the complexity has gotten mind-bending, but on the surface..... they're freaking blissful in comparison.)

I gotta say, though, it's weird watching Linux boot up, telling me it's assigning the RAID controller to IRQ 48. We have that many now? When did that happen? :-)
posted by Malor at 10:02 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Malor: "I gotta say, though, it's weird watching Linux boot up, telling me it's assigning the RAID controller to IRQ 48. We have that many now? When did that happen? :-)"

Just in case anyone else was as curious about the answer as I was, things apparently started to change with the redesign of the x86 architecture to support multiprocessing in the late '90s. The key piece of technology is the Intel Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC), which allows up to 224 IRQ "lines".

(I found this interesting because to this day I have a reluctance to put any more PCI/ISA cards into a system than absolutely necessary, because of bad IRQ-hell related memories. Guess I can stop holding back and go nuts.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:13 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Weren't these a long braid of caramel, covered in chocolate? "Lasts a good long time" was the catchphrase, and the TV ads featured a cowboy or something?"

That was the American Marathon bar. The British Marathon bar, as the article said, was basically Snickers. The US Marathons were excellent, though. I miss them. I also miss Chocolite and the Seven-Up bar (which had nothing to do with the beverage, though later 7-Up bought the rights to it and then discontinued it). Ah, 1970s candy.

The bit about skates is definitely wrong. Quad skates have made a comeback, and there are a couple of young kids in my neighborhood who I see skating around in them frequently.
posted by litlnemo at 2:11 AM on July 24, 2009


Man, can we stop using "nanny state" to be a bad thing? As a professional nanny, I promise not to take away any of your freedoms as long as you promise to stop putting that in your mouth.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:27 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the day when the state gives me a spoon full of sugar to help make filing income taxes easier and when it pulls a hat-rack out of its carpet bag.
posted by GuyZero at 3:21 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hah, Kadin, that's funny, I went and looked at those exact same articles after I finished posting that. :)
posted by Malor at 8:41 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


93. Looking out the window during a long drive.

As opposed to staring at your cellphone texting the whole time (or the DVD players Mitheral refers to).


That's how I read it too. And apparently one of the things the author doesn't know about is books. I'm in my late thirties and I didn't spend the entire time staring out the window on an 8-hour drive when I was a kid, either.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2009


Metafilter: I promise not to take away any of your freedoms as long as you promise to stop putting that in your mouth.
posted by klausness at 4:37 AM on August 16, 2009


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