I spent the weekend using my CD Walkman. I'd mislaid my MP3 player and I thought "how hard can it be?" - but it's strange how self-conscious bulky old-tech looks. I was edging away from people at the gym, trying to conceal the priapic bulge. It's the one occasion when you want the lump in your trousers to look as small as possible. After all, don't you edge nervously away from people on the tube who are still using a Walkman? And you change carriages if its playing cassettes.
And yet, 10 years ago:
- You were still recording telly using VHS
- You had a dial-up modem
- Early adopters were watching BBC Choice through OnDigital
- Portable hard drives held 100Mb (ZipDisk! ZipDisk!)
- If you owned a DVD player, you loved buying discs in bulky packaging.
- And even adored being stung for £7 customs on your £15 Region 1 of Hudson Hawk (was that just me?)
- Widescreen cathode ray tellies were all the rage.
- An iMac without a floppy disc drive seemed weirdly cutting edge
- Having a CD burner was quite the status symbol. If only you could get your head aound those MP3 things.
- I got a bollocking at work for coding a website using CSS rather than tables and invisible gifs (one for the nerds).
- You were still 2 years away from the BBC streaming an on-demand radio drama (bows and tries to look humble).
Yesterday, annoyed by my inkjet's Seymour-like demands for ink, I went out and bought a laser printer. For £40. This felt like a brilliant thing. Then I remembered that it was 20 years since I'd first seen a laser printer. And then I just felt old. Although I remembered reading Douglas Adams' introduction to "Dirk Gently" where he explained that he'd typeset the book himself and it had been printed out by a computer and I thought it was witchcraft and spent much of the book squinting at the print to try and see the dots. Hey. I was 14. Sod off.