Now and Then: What’s Changed with the World?


I can still remember when I used to type on a typewriter. The old school kind with no white-out tape. When you made a mistake it was the worst shit ever. You’d tear out that piece of paper, virtually all white space but for two sentences and the big fat error, and fling it with fury into the garbage to start all over again.

There are other things about back-in-the-day technology (DOS operating system, anyone?) that make me feel slightly ancient now when I see small infants playing on their iPhones.

I feel really ancient when I find myself thinking: I am not going to allow my future kid to have those things at such a young age and be busting it out at the dinner table.

(Well, they won’t be busting it out at the dinner table if they don’t have it in the first place, so forget I said the second thing …)

But you know what I’m sayin’.

Is all this new technology necessarily a bad change the world has gone through? No. But it certainly is strange — and nostalgic — for me to have grown up both in the generation of rotary telephones and in the generation of the technology/social media boom.

When the following generations grow up knowing only a world of high-speed, digital communication and advanced technological entertainment, how will they, as people, be different from their … um … forefathers? (I know, ancient talk lol).

– Cafe <3

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: What are some ways — good and bad — that the world has changed since you were a kid?

Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)  

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59 thoughts on “Now and Then: What’s Changed with the World?

  1. I remember the typewriter, and using carbon paper and correcting mistakes and getting frustrated and tearing up pages!!

    What you said about a child ‘having those things’… Daniel & me were out & about and we caught a lift and a woman with a pram got in the lift and as she entered wheeled the pram into us, toward us. In the pram was a baby with a handheld device of some kind, totally enthralled, not looking up or around or observing or thinking, just completely tuned to the tiny gadget in her hands. I couldn’t help the look that came across my face, & I looked at Daniel. When we got out I said “I can’t believe it – imagine all that child misses in observation, nuance, impression, thought provoking human interactions…” I really, really couldn’t believe how sad it felt to me. I am so glad, I am sure Daniel understood what I was saying, too.

    • I couldn’t have said it more eloquently than you, Noeleen. That is exactly what it is about, missing those things or developing them in a very different way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  2. I learned to type on a manual typewriter – like Bo. I think the thing I am most grateful for in the technology age is air conditioning. How in the world we managed without air conditioning in homes and cars is a mystery to me. We didn’t even have floor fans. When it was hot, it stayed hot! I don’t know that technology has adversely affected my life – unless you consider the blogging I do to be an addiction. ;-)

    • Ohhhh wow, not even floor fans. Okay, I remember we at least had floor fans pre-air con days. That must have been brutal without them!! … Technology is pretty amazing in many ways, I gotta admit, but for me personally I know I need to disconnect from at least some of it from time to time when it feels like it’s invading my life a little too much =P

  3. When I was a child, I would always play as such: paint, listen to stories and do puzzles. And I find it a little sad that today, technology is taking over, giving no time for children to develop as ‘children’ like we used too. I think that my toys – as simple as they were – helped me a lot to trigger my creativity and my love for art, and I don’t know if the children today will develop such things. They may of course, but it’s just going to be different you know?

    • I hear ya Daphnee. It’d be cool if it was possible to do a study on this, a comparison of kids back in the day and of now/the future and what kind of different skills they develop as a result of their toys and learning experiences. But yeah, I cherish the WAY I developed creativity. Such good memories :)

  4. What? Do you mean all those people who like my blog don’t really like it?
    At my age I’ve seen so many changes I could do a full time blog on it. Not only do I remember using a typewriter I have used a manual typewriter…not even electric. The first one I owned was manual. I have an electric one stored somewhere but it was one of the later ones with the correction tape.
    We didn’t even have a TV until I was 6 years old…it was Black and White. Color technology did not exist then.

    • Lol. Aww, no Bo, I’m sure the vast majority of them genuinely like your blog. There are only the minor fakes who will make an appearance every now and then ;) I had a manual one too! Wow, I wish I still had that relic to put on display lol. Oh yeah, TV’s with no remotes, you had to go up to it and turn the dial that had like less than 10 channels lol. I think some of them were black and white for me too. Ahh, thanks for the memories Bo =P

  5. Great post! I’m 8 years older than my brother and I already see the difference in us, it’s almost like a whole different generation. I’m much more similar to people 8 years older than me, than 8 years younger! The speed of everything just accelerated so much over the past 10 to 15 years, it’s crazy. I am glad though that I got to experience life pre computers and internet, feel kinda special :)

    I love hearing my parents talk about the 70’s when you actually had to visit someone to see them. Or make a phone call and hope they are home. Sure they didn’t have instant access to everything, but the world really did seem like a simpler, more peaceful place.

    I guess there are pros and cons with everything :)

    Oh and I agree with your decision about your Readers Page, just add people who engage with you :)

    Thanks for sharing this very thought provoking post Janice, keep well!


  6. Isn’t it funny, I remember no cell phones and my first. I remember typewriters, I remember when making duplicates meant putting that funny blue paper between two pages when you typed. I remember when White Out wasn’t a blond joke. I remember phones that required you actually dialed and if you made a mistake you had to hang-up and start over. I remember mimeograph machines with drums in the school office, they were very messy.

    I was just having this conversation with my husband last night, because I work in IT and I was discussing the arrogance of my client and their IT department. Their belief the organization could not function with them, my husband agreed. I explained, I remember doing the books with a 10-key and graph paper, no computers. I remember typing invoices to my clients.

    Maybe I am just old.

    • Oh yeah, I had the rotary telephone too. Totally sucked when you dialed the wrong digit and had to start over lol. … Haha, well, there will always be a difference in perspective of those who got to live through those experiences. I wouldn’t say a bad thing, though I guess we have to adapt to changes as well to an extent.

  7. I like how we are less in the dark about the truth and information than in the past. Information gets spread quickly and easily now with the internet. Before you would seek out knowledge through books and people without really knowing how reliable the info was.

    I’m not sure what I miss from the past. Has to be something. Being able to make $25 an hour at Safeway as a cashier? Excitement from waiting for a good show on tv to start?PVR, dvds and downloading have killed that.
    And yes..fake likers and followers are everywhere. I have about 100 followers but can really only vouch for less than 10 as real ones.

    • I definitely appreciate that information is much more readily accessible. …Wow, you could make that much hourly as a cashier at Safeway? Weird, usually in the past people made less in a particular job than they would now … I remember you writing a post about fake likers/followers. Or one in particular. I get why they do it, but I still find it pretty lame.

      • Not bad for a cashier eh? That was when money was worth more too. Less competition for businesses back then so the wages were higher. Then they started buying people out cause they were making too much. London Drugs paid really well too

        Ya that was my most popular post! Hahaha. When I see a “like” now I’m just like whatever. Lately, there’s a lot of “how to make money online” blogs “liking” everyone. But ya it’s disappointing.

  8. I always had a computer (when the screen was black and green, and pixels were a cm tall)… I’ve seen typewriters but never used them =P. We don’t have to look to far back to see how much has changed. Smokers were accommodated allot more in the past, now smokers are barely tolerated, I think that is a good thing though. I think there is a cost to technology. I remember reading somewhere that Plato hated writing because he thought we would rot our memory. And that is true, people in the past had much better memory than us, and had all sorts of tricks in remember stuff. But a huge amount of our advancement was through language, paper and writing. This post kind of reminds me of an argument I was having with my cousin.. when i asked her.. do you think guns kill people or people kill people? she said guns and described that technology makes us behave in certain ways. She gave an example of smart phones and how it makes us pay more attention to our digital presence than our physical one when we are out. Although i agree to a small extent, I think it’s irresponsible to blame technology and not our own values and etiquette behind our technology (don’t look at your smart phone during dinner).

    • Lmao omg the Commodore … I remember using that in elementary school. Oh yeah, and the smoking ban!! Damn, I almost can’t believe now that people used to smoke inside restaurants and elsewhere. I don’t think I could handle that now. I completely agree with memory and also things like having to learn math. Now that most of us rely on calculators, we struggle with doing basic math without them. … That is an interesting debate. I can see both of your points, definitely. This speaks to the question I had about whether the newer generations are going to be different as people because they grow up in a different environment. I think to an extent they are influenced heavily by the world they come into, which includes all the technology. They’re taught that it’s normal to be on Facebook 24/7 and share all the little details about their lives. They’re taught that it’s okay to be on their smartphone in the presence of others (because nowadays, parents probably do it too). So to an extent, I believe environment shapes behaviour. But I agree that it shouldn’t be an excuse — and part of that assumption I think implies that there has to be someone teaching them that there is an alternative, more appropriate behaviour to adopt. :)

      • All this technology is very new and yes technology makes up a part of our environment. But there is a serious problem when technology, media (music, games, movies) or whatever has more influence over kids than culture that holds proper values. I think that’s because most kids have shitty parents who rather have their kid shut up and be entertained so they can do the same. We don’t have a technological problem, we have a cultural problem.

        • I hear what you’re saying regarding culture. We have a culture that values technology and “advancements” in technology, so right then and there we are already setting up an environment for kids that tells them what to value. So no wonder …

  9. I used to be able to buy a bag of chips and a pop for under $2. I wish that still happened. Ive also been getting all kinds of seemingly fake followers lately- what gives??

    • Blegh, I dunno, girl *shakes head*

      Yeah, I miss those days too. Mind you, we had less money to spend then. But still … Toronto’s just too damn expensive for a lot of things nowadays.

  10. Nice post and so much to think about regarding your question. I have wanted to write a post or two on it. To my jaded point point of view, technology is a double edges sword in so many ways. But that discussion is for another day unless you want to blow out the topic here.

    Lol…typewriter…I had a typewriter class in middle school:). The main changes I have noticed in addition to computers and recent hot consumer technology products are the ATM machine, and all the self service machines to pay for things ranging from groceries to gas. Also, the automated phone where you talk to computer versus a person was a big change. What you see happening here is the economic system is eliminating human inefficiency. If a machine can do a human activity, use the machine….and educate people to use machines and technology so they do more on their own. The end result is lower costs to businesses with less humans to employ and more profits for the few.

    Hahahaha….there is my jaded view point. This is such a huge topic and would require a review and thought from so many different angles. Bottom line…..I think we misuse the power of technology…..if we used it properly….for example….there would be a computer for every child in every school that had kick ass software that makes education come alive and adapts to each kids learning style….just an example….in fact….TV could have been used for other more educational purposes than what it has been primarily used for….entertainment and advertising…some say brain washing:)

    • Haha, feel free to blow out the topic =P

      Yes, the automated machine takeover. We have created these technological monsters to wipe out our own species lol. Okay, slightly dramatic but …

      I think that idea of having a computer for each child that is individualized like that is awesome. There is so much power in this world to do something great for people, but not enough choosing to do it.

      • There are some many great things about technology as well…hell…look at the hubble space telescope…as you mentioned the airplane…no…I won’t blow it out here…only if you decide to explore it further and only if more of your readers want to dig deeper.

          • I used Skype many years ago and it was it better now? Reminds me of Star Trek. Will we be able to transport our body like they do in start trek…hahaha…I would like that:)

            • Mm not sure what it was like before, but it’s pretty decent now for video chats. Or even long distance phone calls. … Lol transporting would be crazy. But what would happen when there’s some technological malfunction? Would ppl get stuck somewhere midway? Haha =P

  11. There are still studies to be made whether or not these new technologies are an advantage or not to kids. I’m really not sure, so I still try to limit my daughter from playing too much ipads and iphones.

  12. The whole world has changed…
    The television in particular
    And the cartoon channels in very particular…
    Gone are the days of Captain Planet, Flintstones, Swat cats, Roadrunner and Centurions
    Now they are replaced by Doremon…
    Extremely unfortunate

    • LOL! There were some good cartoons back in the day =P … although I don’t watch cartoons these days so I’m not sure of their calibre hehe.

  13. Hey Cafe,
    Your post is particularly timely as my wife and I are about to have our first baby and we don’t want her to grow up with her eyes glued to a screen all the time so I really appreciated what you wrote. Here’s one for you:- I remember when you could actually trust the news not to have an agenda. Radical, I know!!
    I would write a post on your suggested topic but since I felt my daughters kick against her mother’s womb for the first time last night, I am floating on a cloud at the moment.


    • CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a special time for you both, I wish you all the best!! :)

      Wow, I don’t know of that time when news didn’t have an agenda lol. Maybe I was around then but I didn’t understand the difference ’cause I was too young=P

      Anyways, congrats again and I am so happy for you!!!

  14. You don’t say! You don’t mess with that typewriter…the more impatient you are with it, the more it’d punish you! Even when you’re super pissed with it, you press one key at a time…slow and steady.

    I don’t have much memory about DOS except knowing how it looks like.

    I love the way technology has developed till now and the possibilities moving forward, but the sad thing is the abuse of it eg. infringement of privacy, identity theft, bullying.

    • Haha, wish you were around to tell me that back in the day =P

      There are definitely incredible things about technology. Being able to connect with friends and family from pretty much anywhere in the world. Of course, blogging. Planes to get us to faraway destinations :) etc, etc.

      I love the contrast too though of the complete opposite. Zero technology. Being out in the woods. No communication with the outside world. Getting from point A to B carrying everything on your back or paddling in a canoe. I think sometimes we need to take ourselves of the high-speed madness and immerse ourselves in that kind of pureness …. But that’s just me =P

  15. I was writing something the other day about when I went to NYC when I was in high school and had to find a payphone. Am I that old? I hardly remember before I had a cell phone. I’m not even someone who is that obsessed with it. I’m always torn between the concept of technology with whether it’s good or bad. It’s efficient and sometimes we confuse that with being good.

    I always will have a fondness for Blockbusters. It took work to rent a good movie and now you don’t even have to leave the four walls that make your home, or three if you live in a triangular shaped place.

    • Oh, I totally remember having to call home from a payphone. And having pagers. Damn.

      I really, really get nostalgic when I think about renting movies from Blockbuster. Part of the fun was going into the store and walking around to look at all of the different movies, pick up the boxes and read the description on the back. We did have to work for it! =P

  16. I had a typewriter too back in the day, except mine was a completely mechanical one with a handle on the right side so it would do that ‘bling’ to return the tray. Then I would type type type and boy did I go through pages flinging away mistakes lol!

    Yeah, I dislike it too when people click like and move on. Ahem, Ain’t gonna get a visit from me with that lol

    • Yeah, I had the ‘bling’ typewriter too! LOL. And then finally the updated version came out with the white-out tape. I was like, damn, I’m ballin’ now hahaha.

      • Oh I was soooooo happy when I got my electric typewriter, I was typing like there was no tomorrow! Loved that white out tape. This is back in the early 80’s so to me it was heaven lol :D

          • I lost my stacks of poems that I wrote too, I literally had folders upon folders worth of them but since we moved back in 2000 I lost them all :( sigh! were you writing as a hobby or were you hoping to publish them? :)

            • Agh, that sucks! One thing the new gen would say is good about technology, we can store things digitally (although that isn’t aways foolproof either). Oh, definitely as a hobby. I was like in elementary school lol.

    • I wrote a whole blog post about it. And I’m not going to post a link to it or bug you to read it because then I’d be doing one of the things people do on WordPress that annoy me. I just want you to know there are others out there fighting this battle.

      • Lol I’m on your blog right now reading about wrestling, so I will search for this post you speak of. Haha, yeah, I guess we all have our own blogging peeves =P

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