A trip down memory lane

A good way to introduce pathos into your presentation (or in this case my blog) is to talk about your personal experiences. They help you emotionally connect with your audience and put a human face (namely, yours) on a problem or solution. But telling personal stories often also means sharing details about your private or professional life. Many people may not feel very comfortable with this idea, and it’s a good practice to think before you act, and never share anything you may later regret.


If you want to get personal, without revealing too much of yourself, you might consider taking your audience on a trip down memory lane. Let me give it a try…

My first contacts with Information Technology date from the early 80’s. I had a Tandy TRS-80 microcomputer at home, equipped with a 1.8 MHz Z80 processor, 4 kilobytes internal memory, and a black-and-white (or was it black-and-green?) fat screen monitor showing 16 lines of 64 characters each.

Data was stored on an audio cassette tape – no floppy disks yet. Legal software “download” was possible via a weekly program on Dutch AM radio station Hilversum 2: when the signal-to-noise ratio was not too bad, one could record an audio stream of blips and beeps and replay them as a real computer program.

Barely 30 years later, I am writing this blog post on my Nexus 7 multimedia tablet with a 1.3 GHz quad-core chip, 32 gigabytes of memory, and (bear with me) a LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touch screen with one million pixels and 16 million colors. In my home PC I have a one-terabyte hard disk – the equivalent of 10 million prehistoric 5¼” floppy disks. And I can download a wealth of software, music and videos at multi-megabits-per-second speed via my fixed and mobile broadband internet connections and store it in the cloud.

Let me also put a spotlight on the evolution of telecoms, the industry in which I have worked for the past decades: almost 20 years ago, close to the birth of my oldest son, I was delighted by my employer’s geste to lend me a pager – so my heavily pregnant wife could beep me everywhere whenever the baby decided to make his move.

Today, both of our children have their own smartphone, and can call, text, IM or email us at any time and from any place. For them, there is no digital revolution to happen anymore: their teenage life is rolling out in the center of a universe with iPads, eBooks and mCommerce; in a world ruled by Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

So cheers to the Gen Y and Z‘ers. But also for them there will be revolutions to hatch: responding to the global warming, exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves, explosion of the human population. World-threatening problems that cannot be solved by any silicon (or even graphene) chip.

Let’s hope that, another 30 years from now, our children will be able to take a stroll on Memory Lane too, and tell us stories about the incredible achievements of their generation.


4 thoughts on “A trip down memory lane

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