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Don't flop the floppy disk! Nooo!
January 7, 2011 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Il était une fois... les technologies du passé. (YouTube) Adorable Francophone kids will make you feel old as they try to figure out technology from the 1980s.
posted by Space Coyote (62 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oops, changed French to francophone and forgot the capitalization. That's going to bug me.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:45 AM on January 7, 2011


"That's an old CD!"

*Cries*
posted by jimmythefish at 6:45 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Got to love that kid instinctivly scratching on the turn table!
posted by CitoyenK at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2011 [23 favorites]


Loved it when the kid started scratching right off the bat with the vinyl :)
posted by pharm at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twins!
posted by pharm at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2011


Did they just refer to a 5" floppy as an 8" floppy?
posted by the dief at 6:55 AM on January 7, 2011


I feel very, very old. Get off my lawn.
posted by andreaazure at 7:03 AM on January 7, 2011


Did they just refer to a 5" floppy as an 8" floppy?

Floppy inflation. Just like pant sizes.

Either that or it's all the hormones they're putting in the I/O channels.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:08 AM on January 7, 2011


Sors-toi de ma pelouse!
posted by the painkiller at 7:09 AM on January 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Did they just refer to a 5" floppy as an 8" floppy?
5.25"

Pedants rule, OK, or more precisely exhibit certain qualities consistent with leadership.
posted by plinth at 7:18 AM on January 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I didn't feel that old. I was instead kind of marveling at how well they were able to use some of the things without being able to identify them. Like putting the 8 track into the player. Humans are instinctive engineers.
posted by DU at 7:27 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This goes into an iPod". *cry*
posted by mrbill at 7:32 AM on January 7, 2011


I was instead kind of marveling at how well they were able to use some of the things without being able to identify them.

Indeed. "Hi. You new-to-the-game humans try to use these things you don't recognize." He could have just handed them a regular hard drive and got the same response. Or ham radio. Or oscilloscope. [shrugs]

If someone handed me television parts from the '50's, to be honest I might be scratching my head as well.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:36 AM on January 7, 2011


Delightful! I thought I heard a child call the trackball a "souris," but didn't see it in the captions.
posted by Stig at 7:41 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm gonna save my current electronics\stuff, just to let my children play with it 10-20 years later. Should be great thing to watch.
posted by usertm at 7:41 AM on January 7, 2011


Yes they incorrectly classified the 5.25" floppy as an 8" floppy.

Get off my lawn too.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:42 AM on January 7, 2011


The title definitely reminded me of this instead.

Very different, but still amusing.
posted by subversiveasset at 7:42 AM on January 7, 2011


I don't want to be old.
posted by anniecat at 7:42 AM on January 7, 2011


Yes they incorrectly classified the 5.25" floppy as an 8" floppy.
They're Canadian--it's metric.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:46 AM on January 7, 2011


How is anybody supposed to know what that 8-track player was? I mean, a moment's googling tells me that that giant plunger is actually a button of some sort, but...why? And I'm 35!
posted by darksasami at 7:52 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey kids, haven't you ever seen a "Save" icon before?
posted by 1UP at 7:52 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is anybody supposed to know what that 8-track player was?

I was there during their hay-day and they made no sense then.
posted by philip-random at 7:58 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was adorable, although I was cringing when they were touching the floppy disks. Your fingerprints will ruin it, kids!

I loved how the experimenter immediately stopped the kid from scratching the record just as he was really getting into it.
posted by zix at 8:12 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Space Coyote: Oops, changed French to francophone and forgot the capitalization. That's going to bug me.

Don't worry, Francophone with a capital F is an acceptable variant.
posted by Kattullus at 8:18 AM on January 7, 2011


And if I dragged out my old wire recorder, not one of you would have a clue as to how to use it....now get off MY lawn!
posted by HuronBob at 8:53 AM on January 7, 2011


My dad had a wire recorder. Or at least a bunch of wire recordings. Or at least a snarl of wire.
posted by DU at 8:55 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


How is anybody supposed to know what that 8-track player was?

I was there during their hay-day and they made no sense then.


Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Chaeeioop

[sssshhhhhh - BRRRRRRRT]

[CLUNK-KAH]

[sssshhhhhh]

eeaanges
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:01 AM on January 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


[sssshhhhhh - BRRRRRRRT]

[CLUNK-KAH]

[sssshhhhhh]



That's the sound of freedom, man. Freedom from the man making you have to get up from the back of your sweetass customized van and go to the front to flip the tape, like some damn fool plastic robot from squaretown.

Now that rockin' smooth groove never ends.... All Right All Right All Right!
posted by chambers at 9:09 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The question is not "who today would recognize an 8 track player". The question is "who today would recognize that thing as an 8 track player". What *is* that huge button for?
posted by DU at 9:12 AM on January 7, 2011


Makes me wonder about archaeologists of the future. Deciphering heiroglyphics scratched on stone is one thing but what can you make of a floppy disc without a working version of the decoding technology to accompany it? It's just a piece of plastic. Although you can still get music from an LP with just a needle.
posted by binturong at 9:30 AM on January 7, 2011


Their bewilderment is reminiscent of my parents' reaction to new technology sans the wonderment.
posted by sswiller at 9:31 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, as a kid, you could run a piece of string from that 8-track player over to your beanbag, and voila! Instant demolitions expert.
posted by malocchio at 9:39 AM on January 7, 2011


darksasami: "How is anybody supposed to know what that 8-track player was? I mean, a moment's googling tells me that that giant plunger is actually a button of some sort, but...why? And I'm 35!"

Without the visual cue of a book of matches wedged between the 8-Track and the player it could be anything!
posted by wcfields at 9:45 AM on January 7, 2011


I have no doubt that if there were a working colecovision and a tv handy, those kids would have been playing Donkey Kong jr. within minutes.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:45 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's the sound of freedom, man. Freedom from the man making you have to get up from the back of your sweetass customized van and go to the front to flip the tape, like some damn fool plastic robot from squaretown.

Seriously? The MAN was shoving 8-Tracks down our throats whereas the real, cool, freedom-enhancing device was the smaller, more elegant, better sounding, longer running, more durable, BETTER IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY cassette ... and you could record your own at home, borrow your friends albums, skip the crap tracks, and in your own small yet significant way do your noble duty toward that time honored task of KILLING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
posted by philip-random at 10:05 AM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The best part is when the kid figures out how to scratch the 45 at 2:36 and then the grown-up says "Okay" in a "cut that out you whippersnapper, you'll ruin the record and/or needle" way.
posted by mhum at 10:16 AM on January 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Humans are instinctive engineers. --- What, no love for the designer? Steve Jobs didn't invent intuitive device interfaces, ya know.
posted by crunchland at 10:34 AM on January 7, 2011


slightly ahead of our time.
posted by vespabelle at 10:43 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


What *is* that huge button for? --- Each 8-track tape cartridge had 4 programs, with 2 tracks for each program. Routinely you'd have the equivalent of 2 albums, each album side on it's own track. The plunger on that device let you switch between the 4 programs instantly, which was quite a novelty back in the 70's, when the comparable equipment (albums and reel-to-reel tape recorders) were more analog, and required you to either change the record or flip the album, or fast forwarding to the particular point on the tape. So the plunger on that particular device was playing up a big feature of the 8-track tape.
posted by crunchland at 10:43 AM on January 7, 2011


I was struck by the way the kids all touched the devices at the same time, subtly communicating with each other, without using words. I think adults generally hold off from that, even though they might want to do it. Maybe it's a French thing to some degree as well.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:55 AM on January 7, 2011


Humans are instinctive engineers. --- What, no love for the designer? Steve Jobs didn't invent intuitive device interfaces, ya know.

You can only design something to be intuitive if humans are intuiting things. You need the hooks first, then the designers can call them.
posted by DU at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2011


No, I see my memory is a little faulty as to the capacity of the 8-track tape... According to wiki : The "cartridge had used two pairs of stereo tracks in the same configuration as then-current "quarter track" reel-to-reel tapes. This format was intended to parallel his source material, which was usually a single LP (long playing) record with two sides. Program switching was achieved by physically moving the head up and down mechanically by a lever. The Stereo 8 version doubled the amount of programming on the tape by providing eight total tracks, usually comprising four programs of two tracks each. Lear touted this as a great improvement, because much more music could be held inside a standard cartridge housing, but in practice this resulted in a slight loss of sound quality and an increase in background noise from the narrower tape tracks. Unlike the Stereo-Pak, the Stereo 8 could switch between tracks automatically, with the use of a small length of conductive foil at the splice joint on the tape, which would cause the player to change tracks as it passed the head assembly.

The Stereo 8 also introduced the problem of dividing up the programming intended for a two-sided LP record into four programs. Often this resulted in songs being split into two parts, song orders being reshuffled, shorter songs being repeated, and songs separated by long passages of silence. Some eight-tracks included extra musical content to fill in time such as a piano solo on Lou Reed's Berlin and a guitar solo in Pink Floyd's Animals.

In rare instances, an eight-track was able to be arranged exactly like the record album version, without any song breaks. Examples of this are Quadrophenia by The Who, and some versions of Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues. Other examples of this rarity are Freeways by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Live Bullet by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Caught Live + 5 by The Moody Blues, The Concert in Central Park by Simon & Garfunkel, and Octave by The Moody Blues."

posted by crunchland at 10:58 AM on January 7, 2011


"That's an old CD!"

*Cries*
posted by jimmythefish


Fear not. In a few years, they'll be teen hipsters shopping for old vinyl at used record boutiques.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 11:55 AM on January 7, 2011


Stig, I heard that 'souris' too - ah, the mouse metaphor is universal, methinks.

Cute video but depressing. We had one of those 'old phones'. The boy starting to scratch the records was awesome.
posted by rmm at 12:07 PM on January 7, 2011


That 3.5" disk is a Sierra game of some kind, but I can't read the label.
posted by curious nu at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fear not. In a few years, they'll be teen hipsters shopping for old vinyl at used record boutiques.

And a few years after that, they'll Google themselves, find this thread, and feel a great rush of ennui.
posted by swift at 12:18 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


He did say "souris" and that is mouse. He was so sure that it's freaky? The girl before suggested it was a marble, and I'm not sure what the other two are saying.

I wonder how to explain the rotary phone -- it disappeared so fast. The scratching is the top.
posted by bwonder2 at 12:19 PM on January 7, 2011


I had an 8-track recorder when I was a teenager.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:48 PM on January 7, 2011


The rotary dial phone used a mechanical implementation of the original method of specifying the called number: briefly breaking the connection a certain number of times to dial each digit. So you break the connection (very quickly) once to dial 1, twice to dial 2, etc., and 10 times to dial 0. You can do this with the hook switch if you're fast and your timing is good, I've done it before. Using the rotary dial to specify a number is called "dialing" the number. This term remains in use for keying in a number on the keypad. Land line phones with keyboards used to have a switch to specify "pulse" dialing or touch tone dialing; for all I know, they still do.

So, you can use pulse dialing implemented either by a mechanical rotary dial or by electronics (based on the number key pressed), or you can use touch tone. Cellphones have no direct wired connection to the central office, so they only use touch tones (if that; they probably use some digital data protocol for actual dialing).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:02 PM on January 7, 2011


Steve Jobs didn't invent intuitive device interfaces

The only really intuitive interface is the nipple. All the rest is learned in some way.

This video makes me feel both old and proud of our progress at the same time.

Imagine 30 years from now.. I know I can't.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:09 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


That particular 8-track player with the detonator-like plunger isn't particularly representative of 8-track players in general. I had a stereo with a built-in 8-track player that just had a little button to change tracks (usually indicated by some light-up display), and most of the 8-track players I ever saw had something similar. The plunger was supposed to make it COOL, man.
posted by briank at 1:37 PM on January 7, 2011


Je suis passe. Je suis ancien.

::Le sigh.::
posted by Splunge at 2:20 PM on January 7, 2011


We have an old rotary phone from the early 80s, right when they stopped making them. We like the kid to know that's what phones used to be like.
posted by emjaybee at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2011


Cute. Did anyone else cringe when she rolled the 45 across the table? Not the vinyl, kid, not the vinyl!
posted by PuppyCat at 2:46 PM on January 7, 2011


I really liked the kid who took the 3.5" floppy, noticed the sliding metal shutter covering a thin strip of dark plastic, and guessed it was a camera. What a wonderful perspective.

And I don't feel old at all watching the kids make heads or tails outta stuff they've never seen. Kids will be mystified by the old technology just like grown-ups will be confounded by the new. How you handle that mystification/confusion is the important thing. Kids like the ones in the video don't know how to scratch their heads and go "Well I give up, I'm never gonna understand this, you use it." They re-examine, flip it turn-ways, and make more guesses.

When does natural curiosity turn into inherent resignation?
posted by Spatch at 4:06 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a wonderful video. Made me feel nostalgic for our old rotary dial phone--ours was mustard yellow and fixed to our kitchen wall. If you wanted to talk on the phone there was no privacy--the whole family would listen to your conversation and that was just the way it was!

The 8-track player mystified me, though. We were a vinyl record and cassette tape household; the fact that the player looked exactly like my mom's old kitchen scale didn't help, either.

Loved the expression on the kid's face as he discovered he could scratch the needle on the record.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:13 PM on January 7, 2011


The only really intuitive interface is the nipple

Anyone who says this clearly hasn't had kids (or hasn't breastfed them). Amazingly, babies (and Mums) need to learn how to breastfeed.

I maintain that the only intuitive interface is fire.
posted by nonspecialist at 6:15 PM on January 7, 2011


I maintain that the only intuitive interface is fire.

We should incorporate the possibility of immediate and painful death into more UI specs.
posted by empath at 7:48 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I laughed out loud when the kid said "Oh, c'est comme ca" and did the scratching gesture. Vinyl will never die, cause it makes such a fabulous little sound when you mess with it.
posted by little light-giver at 9:03 PM on January 7, 2011


Did they just refer to a 5" floppy as an 8" floppy?

There were 8" floppies in the 70's. 51/4" floppies came in later, although I have no way of telling if the diskette they showed in the video is indeed an 8" version.
posted by the cydonian at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2011


Imagine 30 years from now.. I know I can't.

I'll bet there'll be kids who won't quite know what to make of your smartphone.
posted by no mind at 10:09 PM on January 7, 2011


I have come across this phenomenon right here.
posted by unliteral at 6:21 PM on January 10, 2011


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