The Technology We Never Knew We Needed!

It’s funny how advancements in technology not only change our lives but also our expectations. A typical example is motor vehicles.

Technology & Motor Vehicles

Back in the day, when I was a young man, new vehicles didn’t come with any of today’s advanced features. There was no air-conditioning, not a comfortable situation when living in tropical Queensland, and the locally produced Holden motor car (under the GM umbrella) came with two quarter windows in front which, when turned inwards, had to suffice as our version of air-conditioning.

Holden Quarter Window

Luxuries such as electric windows, cruise control, reversing cameras, GPS systems, and the like were unheard of. Heck, even a radio didn’t come as standard equipment and needed to be ordered as an “extra”. Today, I can’t even imagine owning a vehicle without all that modern equipment, yet, in those early days, it didn’t seem to matter.

Technology And Computers

Most of us can compare our first computers with today’s modern machines. My first Windows desktop PC came with a single-core Pentium 4 CPU, 40 GB HDD, and 512 MB RAM. We can all marvel at just how far computer technology has advanced.  However, what never seems to be discussed is the advancement in peripherals.

CRT Monitor and Dot Matrix Printer

Monitors: My first monitor was a 12″ CRT model that, despite its lack of screen size and resolution, weighed a ton. These days I have a 27″ 2K flat screen monitor connected to my main machine and, thinking back now, I wonder how we ever put up with those tiny but heavy low-resolution CRT monitors.

Printers: I remember forking out for a single-function dot matrix printer, which was state-of-the-art at the time and cost me a whopping $499. These days, we can buy a multi-function printer for a fraction of that cost. Heck, we could buy 10 multi-function inkjet printers for that same sort of money.

Technology And TVs

TVs Old to New

The first TV we owned, when I was a mere lad living at home with mum and dad, was a black and white model with a 10″ screen encased in a massive cabinet, which needed to be massive in order to house all the massive components. My wife and I bought our first color TV, a 22″ Phillips, in the early 1970s. Now I own a  65″ UHD LED flat screen smart TV and can’t believe how we used to be glued to that first tiny color TV with its low resolution.

I was recently forced to spend several weeks in an apartment in Brisbane (about 300 miles from where I live), where my sole source of entertainment was via a 32″ TCL HD TV and I could not wait to get back to my UHD big screen smart TV. How very spoilt we do become.


I could go on and on but I guess the whole point is that, when it comes to technology, the old saying… “you don’t miss what you’ve never had” has never been truer. We got by alright without all this modern technology but how many of us could not get by without it today? I know I couldn’t.

6 thoughts on “The Technology We Never Knew We Needed!”

  1. Good article, but I know what I really, really don’t need: leaving my 2023 “modern equipment” SUV in the shop all day for a software update, the second time this year (too “big” for OTA). Toss in the all the mandatory dependency we “need” that can instantly grind to halt with a whoops drop of a google or apple device or just “time’s up” when that modem/hotspot fails (feeds my “modern” TV). You use a printer? How old school. Otherwise, I do get your point. We don’t get a choice (Craigslist contact default: text me.) unless going off the grid. Cheers.

  2. Great points and nostalgic reminiscences Jim !
    Talking of whether we were better off back then – wait until a climate-mad Government forces us all onto electric everything – no gas or oil and then also removes our cash. Then we’ll experience what an overloaded electrical grid looks like and regular power blackouts will be the norm – not to mention not being able to pay for or transact stuff either.
    Even a relatively brief recent two-third’s of a day’s Optus outage brought much of the Country and it’s commerce and medical systems to their knees. It’s all downhill from here unless we wake up to ourselves. One or two well-placed graphite devices on our grid by an adversary and we’ll be back to the Stone Age.
    My first Morris Minor didn’t have any of the accessories you mentioned but it was solid as a rock and if it broke down (which was rarely), I could often actually get a spanner and screwdriver out and either fix it myself. If not, the on-duty/owner mechanic who was actually available working in the servo down the road most certainly could !
    “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should…”

    1. Hey Reg,

      Good point about being able to fix those old cars ourselves, no hope with modern vehicles.

      True story: back in the day we owned a Vauxhall Victor, worst car I ever owned. Anyway, the linkage from the accelerator to the carburetor was held on to the carburetor via a brass lug which had worn down and the linkage kept dropping off. To fix it, you had to pop the linkage back on to the lug and then use a hammer to flatten out the end of the lug again. Of course, the repair wouldn’t last so it was ongoing. Imagine my wife, stuck at the traffic lights with no accelerator bending over the engine with a hammer in hand. All the males drivers around her thinking… look at that stupid woman trying to fix a motor with a hammer. LOL

      Cheers mate… Jim

  3. Jim. Good old memories. My Father drove a car with quarter window. He loved the way it would prevent the windscreen from fogging. I spent $950 for my first printer and $50 for the cable. My first colour tv had a nine inch screen, worked on ac and dc (great for camping), costing around $400.

    Boy am I happy with the progress technology is doing to better our lives. It is always up to us if we want to upgrade. Trying to have the very latest is not always the better solution, Mindblower!

  4. “We lived in hole in road….”
    You had a hard disk? The early PCs only had floppies and a base config of 16KB. We waited about 5 years and got one with a massive 512KB, still no hard disk, but on a business trip to Silicon Valley I bought a 5.25inch Seagate HD with a 20MB capacity for about US$250. FIGJAM.

    And much much later, Office97 still came on about 50 floppies.

    BTW, Jim would not care in Queensland, but his car came standard with a heater. These were an aftermarket option a decade earlier than Jim’s Holden.
    I still fix my 98 Patrol.

    1. Hey James,

      Yes, my first “Windows” PC came with a HDD. My first “computer” didn’t support disks of any kind, programs were all loaded via tape.

      The EH wasn’t actually my car, I just used that image to illustrate the quarter windows. I did own an EH, eventually, but my first Holden was an FJ.

      Thanks for your interesting comment, I love these nostalgic discussions.

      Cheers… Jim

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