Tag Archives: gaming

See Ya Ceefax!

I think it is a sign of getting older when you find yourself using the phrase “Modern Technology” in any conversation, as it normally suggests that you don’t understand the technology type conversation you’re involved in.

I have recently acquired my first I-phone, which my 8-year-old son tells me “was long overdue an upgrade”! I don’t own an I-Pod or an I-Pad, I borrow my husband’s work laptop and each new mobile I do get (always a freebie with a contract), I immediately ‘file’ the instructions, as I really cannot be bothered to learn about all the interesting (yawn) things my phone is capable of.

I completely ignored all the advertisements surrounding the recent digital switchover as we are customers of SKY TV/Broadband/Phone/Blah/Blah…. it shouldn’t really affect us should it? When my Mum asked how she operated the switchover on her bedroom TV, I suggested she call the helpline, how helpful of me???!!

My kids take technology completely for granted, surfing games on the internet with a fast connecting Broadband, or playing on their Wii or Nintendo DS, which I then have to surgically remove in order to get more than a grunt as an answer .

It is so different from when I was a child and my brother owned a Spectrum computer, it was a scientific marvel to us and our friends. It was connected via a tape recorder which loaded each game at an agonisingly slow speed, accompanied with an ear piercing wheeeeee noise to show us it was doing something. When it finally loaded and we started our badly pixellated version of Space Invaders, it often crashed and then we’d have to go through the torturing load music again. We loved it though. Following this we branched out on a Playstation 1 where we played Mario or Sonic and eventually Lara Croft until our thumbs bled. My particular favourite gadget was our Gameboy, similar in size and weight to a brick, the keys actually hurt after an hour of building black and white walls of Tetris.

With the digital switchover, I was very sad to hear that Ceefax has also died along with analogue TV. My eldest son looked at me blankly when I tried to explain that Ceefax was like Teletext but a bit rubbish, although very important to pretty much everyone before the Internet was born. It was the main source of football scores for my Dad as unless you tried to tune into a pitchy radio station on AM or wait until Grandstand, there was no other way of finding out the score. With the help of a dodgy graphic flashing sun you were able to check the weather, as long as you could wait about an hour for each page to change and get to your part of the country. I used to go on the Channel 4 kids pages as a junior school kid, the home of the very addictive Bamboozle. It was also home to finding pen friends which was a very big hobby in the 80s. We would make our mixtapes to accompany our letters written using our special birthday stationery, where we would discuss exciting subjects like my nice smelling rubber (erasers!) collection and whether George Michael will marry me one day (no-one knew).

It is exciting that technology is moving on. When I was an office bound worker in the media industry, being up-to-date on the latest systems was paramount. But I still remember fondly one old-school newspaper Editor asking me whether he should photocopy his document before faxing it, ‘in case it didn’t come back down again….’

As a person who works from home, I would imagine I would need a crash course in computer systems if I were to return to an office. But I will try to keep up with “Modern Technology”,  if only for the sake of helping my children with their homework and to understand what they are talking about!