Old People and Technology (Subtitle: My Grandfather)

Old People and Technology (Subtitle: My Grandfather)

So this is the first article on my blog. I figure I should start out by celebrating someone who had probably the biggest hand in making me the person that I am today. At least the good parts of who I am - I'll just chalk the other parts up to the television shows and movies that warped my brain. The good parts come from my grandfather, and he's an amazing guy.

Now that I decided who to write about, it's time to pick my topic. I'm going with old people and technology. Why's that you ask? Because if it wasn't for my grandfather and his love of technology, this blog wouldn't be possible.

Here's the story...

I just got back home from a trip to my grandparent's house. He's in his mid-70's now, but in the course of my night at their house my grandfather has:

  • Showed off his new Android HTC One M8's voice activation capabilities over Bluetooth in his car.
  • Asked me a question in French on his phone using Google Translate.
  • Watched the Pittsburgh Steelers lose a game they should have won on his Verizon Fios HD cable hooked into his high-def TV and surround sound system.
  • Complained about only getting 20MB upload speeds on his Verizon Fios internet that is supposed to give 40MB down and up.
  • Hooked up his new 4TB backup hard drive for his pictures and documents on his computer.

I would challenge you that there's probably not 40% of people in their 20's and 30's that know how to do all of that - and he's already celebrated 50 years of marriage.

Now, it's easy to see that he's pretty good with technology today, but how did that lead to this site? Well, back in the 80's when I was growing up they used to have these things called IBM XT computers that were powered by processors with around 5 MHz of power. What was awesome about them was that they could power games like Zaxxon that kept me occupied for hours. See the picture below for the style and graphics of an IBM XT and Zaxxon.

old-people-tech-ibm-xt-zaxxon.png

So I would play Zaxxon for hours and learn the basics of computing in the process. After toiling through DOS based programs for years, we would eventually spend the night of August 23, 1995 at CompUSA waiting to get a copy of Windows 95 when it was released at Midnight. That's when the real fun began - I started breaking my grandfather's computer. Now, the good thing about breaking your grandfather's computer is that you have to try and fix it before he finds out. So my troubleshooting skills were forged after battling many blue screen's of death.

At some point, I passed him up in knowledge of computing, and many years later he would finally admit that I passed him up. Although, I would still get blamed for anything that would go wrong with his computer. In actuality, I think he truly believed I carried some kind of actual virus around that would infect his computer whenever I would touch his keyboard.

In the following years it would be a series of catch-up games with both of us when it came to cell phones, TV's, GPS units, and any other tech you can think of. When one of us would get something new, the other would be eager to learn about it and jump on the bandwagon.

If it wasn't for my grandfather spurring me along all of those years, I wouldn't be doing the job that I do, I wouldn't have the tech knowledge to create this blog, and I wouldn't be the man that I am today.

Thanks, G - for everything.