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How Technology Has Changed The Word I Have Grown Up In
After leaving the Royal Navy in 1981 I which I had served for six years as a Marine Engineer ( which in short was mechanical where I was involved in diesels, gas turbines, boilers and nucleur powered engines and associated machinery), I took a role selling leases for mobile phones which at the time were very expensive and much like bricks and had to be connected to the aerial which was attached to the car by drilling through the bodywork.
Apart from the CB units which were fitted into the car dashboards and made famous by the film & songs of ‘Convoy’ and had a language all of their own with terms like ‘Jam Sandwich’ for police car and ‘Seat Covers’ for passengers which had to be learned and spoken through the attached microphones, this was how we were able to communicate on the road. Since that time the mobile phone has been developed and of course we now have the Smart phones which do much more than just take or make telephone calls. Now the majority of the world population have access to these devices and it is taken as the norm to use, even our cars come fitted as standard with blue tooth mobile phone devices with speakers and microphones in the car.
When I first started work as an assistant manager at a company called Tandy Corporation in a Luton retail outlet in 1982 I encountered my first computer where I could enter a BASIC program. At the time there were few in existence and there was really only two of note and that was the IBM and the MAC, both of which were expensive business tools and of course there was the BBC Acorn that was doing the rounds, but for basic home use there was very little and certainly not at my price point. Tandy Corporation was part of Radio Shack and they had their own range of computers namely the TRS models.
To be able to sell these to customers I had to learn quickly the benefits of these machines and how they could be used. I quickly became a convert after a Vicar visited my store one day to buy one of the newer models. I asked him what he wanted to use it for as part of the sales approach and he explained to me how in the past he used to keep little postcards with all his Parish details such as birthdays, newborns, anniversaries, addresses and contacts as well as any thing relevant to helping them in their lives. This meant he had to file and store them all and sort out into alpahabetical indexing.
He explained to me by using one of the newer computers he could save himself a lot of time researching his records and also he could print out lists that he could work from during the week. He also explained that this meant he was able to get closer to his congregation as it would prompt him when he should call on them to see that they were spiritually ok or in need of his services at important times such as passing of a loved one. It was at this moment that I realised that computers were here to stay and if the Church could see a need and that used in the right way that would benefit a great many people and change their lives and the way we work and how we communicate with each other in the future.
Today from the very early age children have access to mobile devices and computers either through learning toys or through gaming and are brought up in a world where they quickly become accustomed to their use. The word of social media is a virtual world where they can send virtual likes and make comments on others and even send emojis to show how they feel. In the words of my late grandfather when he first saw me sat cross legged staring at ‘Top Of The Pops’ – “What Ever Next”.
Like all things there are positive and negatives of the debate as to whether technology is changing for the good but one thing is sure, change is ongoing and technological advances will continue and not slow down and we have to learn to adapt to future advancement and look forward to what the technology of the future will look like.
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