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Tech advances and the next generation of geeks

Nicole Bremer Nash laments that today's youth will never know about some technology and geeky toys and experiences. On the bright side, she says they'll never have to endure certain tech headaches.

When I was your age, Pluto was a planet, and we had to walk there, uphill both ways.

Technology has changed so much since I was a kid. For instance, I remember when computer technology was pretty brand spanking new. And I recall when 8-track players were still around, though they were in the process of being replaced with cassettes. Then compact discs came along, and even cassettes started to disappear.

There are so many geek-related things our kids will never even know existed. The sad thing about it is that many of the old geek toys were great, even by today's standards. I admit, I still suggest blowing in the Nintendo Wii when it acts up. Heck, most modern kids probably think Atari is a character from Samurai Jack. Most modern kids likely don't know who Samurai Jack is.

Good comic book stores are vanishing from the suburban, and even urban, landscape. I'm talking about the kind with a big greasy guy behind the counter, dust everywhere except the comics, signs reminding the browsing customer not to remove any of the comics from their protective sleeves, and Dungeons and Dragons books near the back, with bins upon bins of different colored dice. (I used to have a D&D set that glowed in the dark.) I know that independent comic book and gaming stores still exist, but the brightly lit place in the mall that has as much shelf space dedicated to mainstream stuff as gaming stuff just doesn't do it for me.

Of course, it's not all bad. I do not mourn that our kids won't have to fight with SCSI cards in order to install peripherals. I remember trying to install an HP scanner on my first computer, and seating and reseating the SCSI card trying to get the thing to work. It would act up every now and again, and I'd have to remove a hundred little screws to take my CPU case apart and jiggle the scanner's SCSI card. Yep, I sure do love USB. These days I'm loving wireless even more, and I don't mind that the upcoming generation won't have the SCSI induced headaches their parents suffered.

Speaking of headaches, most of the upcoming generation has never heard the horrible screech of a dial-up modem connecting to the Internet. Nor have they had to disconnect from MUDs so that somebody can use the phone. I'm happy for this advancement in technology, but it does make the home less communal if everybody isn't trying to use the same phone line at once. Heck, now the phones even remember the numbers and do the dialing. When the current youngsters enter young adulthood, they won't be able to make the one phone call if they get arrested — they won't know any of their friends' numbers to call. They likely won't even know how to work a pay phone.

Thanks to the BBC, today's youth is learning who Doctor Who is, though they might think the pay phone in the police station is a magic box that can take them away to distant times and galaxies. I'm just glad we still have a large wooden box of good comics for our children to read.

What technology and/or general geeky things are you glad to still have around for your kids to enjoy? What are you glad they will miss out on?

About Nicole Nash

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

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