Retro’s Back

A few nights ago, after a surprisingly pleasant day at work, the Engineer enjoyed a leftover New Year’s beer. A few beers later The Engineer was compelled to feed his Amazon addiction.

This morning a new toy arrived, a micro SNES, to great anticipation and excitement. This got The Engineer thinking about the recent resurgence of Retro tech.

What is it about old, obsolete technology which capture’s people’s hearts and minds? Or rather, what is it about modern tech which does not?

Think about it. When was the last time you looked at a piece of tech and were left truly in awe? The Engineer can remember two occasions.

The first in 1994, when The Engineer’s parents purchased the first family computer, able to run software from a CDROM exploring the world of dinosaurs. Wearing old school red/blue eyed 3D glasses for the first time and seeing a T-Rex running at you was unbelievable.

The second was standing beneath the Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Centre on holiday in 1998, looking at the grandeur of 60’s know how.

Back then, to The Engineer, these things were magic. Or at least so far beyond comprehension they may as well have been. Twenty years ago all new tech had that feel. Playstations, mobile phones, laptop computers all imagination made real, all new concepts never seen before.

Can you really say that about modern tech? Not really. Has there been a quantum leap in technology over the last 10 years? Not really. Sure, things get faster, smaller, easier to use and generally more capable but they’re all evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Maybe The Engineer is older, more educated, wiser, therefore less surprised an more understanding of new innovation. Regardless, one thing is certain – true leaps in technology require ever more investment in time and money. Has technology plateaued? Perhaps not, but the pace of progression has certainly slowed. Each new generation is more similar to the last than ever with changes and tweaks that rarely now defy understanding or expectation. Coupled with the ubiquitous presence of tech in modern life, is it any wonder that it no longer seems magical?

So, is modern tech really without wonder? The Engineer leaves you with this thought – when you really think about it, the ability to pick up your phone, send a private message to an individual the other side of the world and receive a response in seconds is not just convenient, its incredible!


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