How Do You Copy & Paste With That?

I recently received a dose of “Man, how the times have changed.” Ashley asked me how I uses to write a letter before computers and printers. I told her I used a typewriter and explained to her to what it was and how it worked. After the explanation, she asked me a question only a person of her generation could ask, “How do you copy and paste with that?”

That got me thinking about what kind of world Sally will grow up in? The stuff that Ashley is using right now maybe obsolete when Sally gets older. I can see her growing up in a world and not knowing what a VHS or a CRT TV is. She might be shocked that the TV had only 500 channels or that there was such a thing as long distance charges on phone calls. I’m sure she’ll wonder how I ever lived without the GPS equipped video VoIP Cell phone that plays music and videos at 1080P.

It’s amazing how much technology has progress in the last 10 years. I still remember the days of MS DOS! I was around when IBM lunched the first PC and thought that was an amazing achievement. Where do you see the world in 10 or 15 years? What super expensive high tech hardware are we using today that Sally will take for granted tomorrow?

I can just hear her saying “You mean computers back then couldn’t understand plain speech?” or “500 Gigs? My flash drive has more space than that!”

35 thoughts on “How Do You Copy & Paste With That?”

  1. What the heck is a CRT TV?

    THings I expect to see in the near future: rss feeds in mp3 players or even watches.

    I remember the day I bought my first cd burner, it cost me $800 at compusa, and that was with rebates and it burned at I think 4X. I was a badboy in highschool because I could burn cd’s, now the damn things come built in with every laptop and computer you buy.

  2. I remember the days when cd burners cost 800 dollars, and now I think you can pick one up for a tenner on eBAY.

    1. Sorry about the double comments guys.

      I remember reading somewhere that when Nasa sent the first Apollo Mission to the Moon the super computer had 74Mb of RAM. That was the same as my first PC.

      And dont go throwing all those floppies away, one guy sold his first aol 1.0 floppy on ebay for 9,000 dollars, you never know when these relics of technology will be worth one day.

  3. Paul says:

    I’ll take a shot at it:

    As you hinted, I think voice recognition will be a big one. Not necessarily to replace the keyboard, but to make computers more ubiquitous.

    I think the internet will become an always-on thing, no matter where you are in a populated area. The technology is already there, and people like Google, Fon, and land-line ISPs. Wifi will be found in gadgets other than computers, which we can already see in the Chumby, many new PDAs, the iPhone, the Zune, the PSP, some gaming consoles, etc.

    I would also guess that software will become less attached to hardware, things like cell phones may have a Linux or Windows Mobile based OS rather than the manufacturers software.

    Electronic ink will probably become mainstream within the next 10 years, so as you can imagine that will make some big changes to how technology will develop.

  4. Chris says:

    Don’t go there, I’ve just read that PC World is to stop stocking 3.5″ disks. Sure, I haven’t used them in years, but my first PC had 5.25″ disks & I had to pay extra to get a 3.5″ drive….

    I’m so old ๐Ÿ™

    1. Jane says:

      I hear you. I still have a stack of 3.5 disks from college. I don’t think I’ll ever use them. Well, I guess I can keep them as relecs ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ryan says:

    Hahaha, I had a dose of this today. I got a new book that was published in ’93, and included is a brand spanking new 3.5″ floppy disk with code on it!

    I had to get some help, though, as of course my computer doesn’t even have a 3.5″ floppy drive.

    I think that at some point high def TV will be this way. You mean the picture was what ratio?!

  6. Heather says:

    I am so old that I think back to when my Dad got the new pocket calculator…and I was the first kid on the block to have cable TV…I watched the first brodcast of MTV when they had three videos! HA! My children think life without cell phones and web cams is science fiction…I get questions like when you were young did you have a computer? I am 37 this year!

  7. Chris says:


    I guess the disks will make useful geek coasters.

    (I don’t mean you should stand geeks on them, I mean… oh never mind)

    Next, I’ll start talking about my CGA graphics and the throbbing 20Mb hard disk….

  8. Brandon Wood says:

    That’s one of those things that always makes me laugh – my flash thumb drive has more than 10 times the capacity of the hard drive in my first computer.

    I’m sure the day will come that we will look back at all the iPod/iPhone type gadgets and laugh because they will be like baby’s toys compared to what we will have then. We’ll be able to carry our entire live’s in our pocket – every song, every photo, every movie, every email, it will all be carried on a single device.

  9. Heywood says:

    John this is a really good point,
    and I think it helps to look at video games as a good example because they are so visual,
    look how fast we’ve gone from 8bit to the newest games, and then think, what will 10 MORE years be like?! Especially now that there is even more $$ behind it.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      While I agree that graphics-wise, video games have improved greatly in the past 10-20 years, but I’m not sure if the same can be said about fun. The most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game was with side-scroller beat-em-ups like TMNT, X-Men (remember the six player arcade machine?), the Simpsons, Golden Axe, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Captain America, and so on.

      1. Al Davies says:

        GOLDEN AXE! Wow that’s a true classic. Nice one

  10. Cell phones with only 1080P? Come on! By then they will have cell phones that can play videos with resolutions of 8000 X 4500( Hi-def version 3.0, heh). Jeeze, 1080P. Hah :P.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I think eventually the idea of “resolution” being a benchmark will fall out of favor too. Look at video games, where we used to talk about the 8-bit NES, the 16-bit SNES, and the 64-bit N64 (which competed against the 32-bit PlayStation). That whole talk of bits is completely out the window these days.

  11. Scott Howard says:

    well after going to Best Buy last weekend and seeing the features that come on the refrigerators now(televisions, doorbells, etc..) I think that the next 10 years could be limitless of what we can possibly imagine. Which is all the more reason why I have been focusing my blog toward the Christian community so that they don’t fall behind the average person and they can stay updated on the newest and latest technology.

  12. Ms. Q says:

    This is a great post! I used to be the young one in the group and now I’m the one who can talk about how I could buy a bag of chips and a pack of gum for 25 cents! I’m only 41!

    I also harken back to the days of typewriters. When I returned to college in the early 90s I didn’t have a computer, didn’t even know how to use one. A 19-year-old freshman wanted to see my biology report. He felt the paper and then rubbed his hands over it. With wonder in his voice he asked, “Is this TYPEwritten?” He had felt the key impressions on the page.

    Come on, how many of you know where “CC” originated? That’s gotta date you!

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Carbon copy! I may be only 24, but I remember using that stuff (helped at my parents’ restaurant… VISA slips were carbon).

  13. Kenny says:


    You should file away a flyer from a local computer store. Take it out when Sally grows up and look back at the “crazy expensive” tiny 750 gig hard drives that were available back in 2007.

    I’ve dug up some old copies of The Computer Paper that I found in some boxes in the basement and it was quite entertaining flipping through it and seeing the prices of some of the computer hardware.

  14. Allen.H says:

    I barely used MS-DOS back when I was just kid because Windows 95 was not long away…but I get where you’re coming from, now that I think of it, it is a bit scary, I mean..what would my children think about b&w TV’s if I thought they were ridiculous…?


  15. Vinay says:

    Great topic, John.
    The subject of ‘How the times have Changed’ makes me think of how fast the horsepower figures of cars go upwards every year. A Honda Accord now has nearly 300 hp, and high-end sports sedans are at the 500hp range. There are several supercars well over 600hp (~1000 hp for a Veyron.) Where does it end??? Does this mean a Honda Accord will have 500 hp in the not too distant future????

    I would think we are close to the day that you will be driving somewhere, your car’s computer will detect a fault, alert the dealership on its own, and a minute later the service manager will phone you in your car to tell you that your alternator/flux capacitor or whatever is about to fail and they are dispatching their mobile mechanic who can get to you with a replacement part if you turn on your GPS beacon!

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      The competing trend is fuel efficiency and/or environmental friendliness. While supercars will always be supercars with their insane horsepower numbers (which is such a dated form of measure anyways… who rides in a horse-drawn buggy for actual transportation purposes anymore), I think we’ll start to see more efficient “peoplemovers” like the subcompact Yaris or Honda Fit.

  16. Zen Bliss says:

    The amazing thing is that you don’t even need to be *that* old to be outdated. For instance, in high school, I kept in touch with my friends… get ready for it… without social networking websites!

  17. Marc says:

    It is astounding to watch the wheels of time turning. I’m not that old myself but realising that things I love that feel like yesterday are already a decade old is somewhat humbling.

    The thing that keep me most interested though is the unknown. Sure we can envision wider, thinner, sharper TVs, but it’s the stuff we can’t dream of yet that puts a big smile on my face as I look forward.

  18. I remember using CARBON PAPER to make copies.
    I remember learning to use a mimeograph for some bizarre reason in high school…my school hadn’t heard of photocopiers!

    I took ‘Data Entry’ and we learned about punch cards.

    This was 1985.

    oooooh sooo old.

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    The ads will be sold via auction based media with a minimum spend of only a few cents per thousand impressions for non-competitive areas & several thousand for highly-competitive areas.

    The TV will double as a personal computer and the performance of the ads will be tracked to a conversion.

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  20. Aris says:

    I was laughing when I visited the link someone sent me today and I added an entry about it in my blog. I thought, by the time Sally goes to college, instead of sending a message to Moon using character that is only 35 micron in size, may be people can buy tickets to visit the moon camp using tour bus like vehicle. ๐Ÿ™‚ They don’t need to wait in line and goes up one at a time the way those space tourists went to the International Space Station recently.

  21. Mike says:

    I remember when I first learned about e-mail back in 1995… I was completely fascinated by it, and still am to this day.
    At that time, I could only access it through my high school’s computer lab or through the university… it was quite difficult to get an e-mail account but I did get one.. didnt have too many people to e-mail since most people didnt even know what e-mail was… anyway i just couldnt believe that you could send a message around the world in a second! well i could believe it since fax machines existed, but e-mail was free unlike expensive long distance… there was also this crude talk program too which is basically like instant messaging now but yeah it amazed me you could just have a normal conversation with someone on the other side of the world in real time… anyway we’ve come a loooooooooong way baby!!

  22. Joey (Remires) says:

    Hmm the first compter I ever used was an apple IIe, followed by the first or second generation of Macs in my Elementry school. My first home computer was an 8088 machine which my father got for free from his HAM radio club (people I know stilla sk me what is HAM?Amatuer Radio and morse code), the 286 was out. My next machine was eitehr 8th or 9th grade, a P75 with 32Megs of RAM and NO 5.25″ FDD and a 1 Gig HD. It came with win for workgroups and when win95 came out a few months later we could order it from Packard Bell. The machine before this one (which I built I August 05) I got in 98. A Celeron 333 with win 98 and 182Megs of RAM (Eventually upped to 256) Which I upped the graphics with a VodooFX 3

    in 10 yrs I see bio metric scanners as standard on laptops and USB flash drives holding at least 100GBs if not more, and USB will probably be obsolete. 64 bit processors will actually be used by home uses in 64bit mode, not in 32 bit mode like now, possibly 128 bit processors.

    I see improvements in voice recognition but I don’t see it becoming a major feature in that time, maybe 20 yrs, probably more.

  23. Leftblank says:

    “Are you sure you mean that your old computer ran on 20Mhz, not 20Ghz?” Something like that wouldn’t be rare I guess, hopefully we’ll also be using solid state disks in the future, I hate the sound of my harddrives ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Hsien Lei says:

    You need to get Ashley a Barbie typewriter. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Retro toys like that are all the rage now!

  25. I bet she wont be thinking about that fact that we only had 500 channels, she will laugh at the whole channel thing. In an age when you can get anything streamed directly to your 12000p 140″ LCD wall you wont be sticking with a listing of things that you can choose to watch every night, you sit down and watch what you feel like watching when you feel like watching it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      The YouTube generation cometh

  26. Nomar says:

    Hehe, That is funny John. how do you copy and past with that.. so funny :’)

  27. Alex Becker says:

    First of all I don’t want to be a jerk but that is a dumb question. Second I remember that just in 1997 computers were crappy. So much has chaged i 10 years its scary. But i can still imagine life without them.

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