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Lessons from the good ole days of the internet

Friday, 10 May 2013 | By Taskmaster

Listen here, Sonny Jim Crockett! Step on up to Old Taskmaster’s rocking chair! There’s a tale about to be told of the good ole days!


No, not the good ole days when Jim Crockett used to promote rasslin’ shows and ice hockey in the deep south of the US. Nor the good ole days when “Sonny” James Crockett was the hot-shot cop on Miami Vice.


No siree, we’re going back 17 years (yes, 1996 is now that long ago) to the early days of the internet.


You see, back in my day, the internet was certainly a step up from the old BBSes folks used to dial into. Forget Macs and PCs; Old Taskmaster first drove the information superhighway using a top-of-the-line Amiga 1200 with a PPC accelerator and a super-fast 28.8k dial-up modem. Sure, as far as a web browsers go, Voyager was no Netscape Navigator, but as long as it could fit on a single floppy disk (with a full copy of Workbench and AmigaDOS too, no less!), it didn’t matter.


Google wasn’t even a start-up back then – if you wanted to search for anything, you used Alta Vista or a gopher. But man did this new fandangled cyberspace thing have it all – MUDs, MOOs, IRC chat, Usenet newsgroups. Why, it wasn’t long before you could even put up a Jim Crockett fan page on GeoCities with blinking text if you wanted!


Now, if some of these old computer terms make sense to you young whippersnappers, ask your grandmother!


Anyway, there were rules you stuck to back then. Rules like never using or giving out your real name or address online. Everyone back then knew that doing otherwise was just asking for trouble!


Back then, a 100 megabyte hard disk was considered massive, so it was important to own physical copies of your favourite movies, records, photographs and books. Early adopters to digital media – those who had Minidisc players like the Taskmaster – still ‘owned’ their music. After all, 28.8k was far too slow to stream anything off the web.


Fast forward 17 years and kids who weren’t even born back then are now sending their CVs to Taskmaster Towers!


Instead of preferring a pseudonym, these kids use their real names and post their photos everywhere with no concern for privacy! They don’t want to waste space “owning” digital copies of books, music or movies – let alone a physical piece of vinyl – when they can stream them at broadband speeds from the cloud? No need to ‘buy’ a song to play it legally either – just pay the monthly fee to Pandora and play any song you feel like.


It seems a generation gap is opening up between us online old timers and these young whippersnappers in how they use new technology – and their regard to values like ownership and privacy.


So it’s important, if you’re putting up a website or developing a mobile app, to test it not just across devices, but also across generations. As Taskmaster has explained before, technological innovation is defined by how people use technology to fulfil their needs, not the other way around. So make sure you give the punters what they’re after!


Because at the end of the day, you young whippersnappers use new technology differently to how us old timers do.


Now ‘git off my lawn!


Get it done – today!