Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, November 16, 2012

We don't need Tomorrow's World. We need Yesterday's World.


I can't see any reason to bring back Tomorrow's World. We're no longer amazed by the prospect of what technology is about to make possible. We assume it's already making it possible. All we're working on is a way to make it affordable.

Instead of Tomorrow's World I would like to see Yesterday's World, a programme that reminds us of what passed for daring new technology the day before yesterday.

One of those conversations came up at a dinner party the other day. Does anyone still use faxes? (Actually, football clubs still use them to register new players with the Football League.) When did you send you first email? Remember the internet before browsers? Who remembers pagers? Telexes? Magazine designers putting a slide in a projector and then drawing round the image on a layout sheet? The younger people round the table even shook their heads at the idea that it was ever possible to lock the keys inside your car.

We've lived through such a revolution in convenience over the last twenty years that we've forgotten the world of small inconveniences it swept away. This Dymotape dispenser (above) I came across recently is more than quaint. It makes you wonder how we ever had the patience to operate it and what we have done with the time we've saved by doing away with it.

12 comments:

Simon said...

have a Dymo in the office for labelling things. It's electronic now, and fully editable before you commit to tape, with a variety of fonts and symbols! It's like a bionic version of the one in the picture.

David Hepworth said...

I didn't know they did such things. Will investigate.

TimT said...

Is there any reason why BBC4 couldn't screen weekly episodes of Tomorrow's World from the 70s, as they do with Top of the Pops? It would be fascinating to see which inventions they flagged up became part of our lives, and which were never heard of again.

King of Scurf said...

I managed to lock the keys inside a brand new Skoda hire car last summer - it's not difficult at all.

Nation Stole My Robots said...

Much of the studio VT for Tomorrow's World no longer exists. BBC4 have shown compilations of the film reports though.

Mondo said...

I can remember my earliest internet shopping experiences: getting The Excorcist and Enter the Dragon imported from a Canadian video shop as both were still banned in the UK, a book from Amazon - and tickets to see Dr Doolittle (starring in Philip Scofield) at the Hammersmith Odeon..

Whenever I told anyone, you could see shoulders being cringed at the thought of credit card fraud

Rog said...

Pagers had such a brief moment in the sun before being obliterated by phone texting. I remember being impressed that when ringing to leave a message for somebody the operator would introduce themself as "David Smith's pager - can I help you?". It was easy to imagine ranks of thousands of operators all waiting desperately for someone to ring in with a message for their chosen contact.

backwards7 said...

Faxes are still used at the hospital where I work, to the extent that if your were to suddenly remove all the fax machines from the building, the result would be pandemonium. Pagers are still used by doctors.

John said...

I was on a Van Morrison email listserv and a Steve Forbert one as well in the days before blogs and feeds.

Nigel said...

I was luckily enough to work on Tomorrow's World as an Assistant Producer and Producer years ago (the Stabelford, Hann, era - and a bit of the wonderful John Diamond). It was at the point where the silicon chip was doing most of the innovative work in the gadgets I came up with - hence Judith often holding a chip on the end of her finger with the line "at it's all due to this - a silicon chip". I did manage to get some music in, though. Probably my proudest moment was with an electric guitar with LED's built into the fretboard, and persuading Mark Knopfler into the studio to play it for us. Even better - and I was probably too young to be embarrassed - was to going his management offices to show him the guitar and explain it, and then casually ask how the riff from Sultans of Swing went (so I could say I jammed with him). Oh, and a car in a suitcase, that was a good-un. I did of course have a few conversations with Nobel Prize winning scientists about what they were up to, but it's the car-in- a suitcase I remember best, and got the most points for when it worked on screen.

James Clay said...

I use a Dymo labeller to label chargers as they never have the name of the product on it and with so many I can never remember which is used with which device.

Alastair Wilson said...

BBC4

Britain on Film: The Joy of Tech

Tues 4th Dec, 8.30pm
A look at the advances in technology during the 1960s, from washing machines to computers.