We all take technology for granted these days. Email is as second nature as sending a letter was back in ‘the good old days’. But a rollback several decades and even the most twee IT tasks of today were eye-opening, mindboggling and fantastical experiences.
So journey with us now to the sepia toned time that was the technology world of yesterday, as we count down the top five retro IT moments.
5. How to send an "e-mail" (1984)
Q: "Now I see you have your computer linked to the telephone line. Can you tell me how you did that?"
A: "Yes, it's simple really. I simply remove the telephone jack from the telecom socket and plug into the modem, then plug in the modem where the telephone was."
The "live linkup" exchanges between Julian and Jane in the Database studio positively zip along in this vein, as a 1984 ITV audience are treated to a live demonstration of sending one email.
Next, Julian's wife Pat is interviewed about what she gets out of computers, which she says "aren't only for the youngsters now".
Pat uses it for "keeping household records, like what I have in the freezer, and names and addresses".
But MicroNet's days as the people's email champion are numbered, as Database has "heard some rumours" that Commodore may be launching a rival service, that might even come with its own modem!
4. Fifties ladies lose their jobs because computers are faster than them at working out annual damage caused by spruce budworms
According to this video, it takes a mere woman three weeks to do what a computer can in seconds. But this wasn't fast enough for the big important chaps on the board. So after Mr Sumner (presumably no relation) shows off ENIAC to his puffed-up chums, the P45s arrive pretty swiftly.
While it's unclear exactly where this video came from, and who made, it it's interesting to note that the basic fears around IT and automation haven't really changed in 70 years.
3. BBC Micro boffins get hacked in live educational TV show (1983)
Ian McNaught-Davis and guest John Coll became possibly the first victims of public internet 'h4kz0r' trolling on the BBC's 1983 live edition of beige-hued educational IT show Making the Most of the Micro.
As Coll attempted a remote connection to the Telecom Gold "electronic mail service", his dial-out was interrupted with the message:
"Computer Security error. Illegal access. I hope your Television PROGRAMME runs as smoothly as my PROGRAM worked out your passwords! Nothing is secure!"
Followed by the bizarre lyrics to the infiltators' self-penned "Hackers' Song", it's fair to say Coll, McNaught-Davis and the latter's dreadful sweaters got 'pwned', for pretty much the first recorded time in history.
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