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OA Q&A: Generation Tech

20 30 40

Well, we all have stories.

Every generation has awesome stories about discovering technology, from “I can change channels on the couch” to “What is this ‘electronic mail’ you speak of?” to “Now I do all my work remotely on Snapchat.” The speed of innovation today, while making things obsolete on a rolling basis, also fosters “the next generation” more quickly than ever before – which only adds to the global storehouse of these great stories. We’re proud to have a wide range of generations here at OA HQ, and we conducted a very scientific* survey among our twentysomethings, thirtysomethings and fortysomethings to weave our own oral history. 

*sort of scientific**
**we sent around a Google doc

In the interest of full disclosure, and to save space, we have left out the results of two questions: “How many devices do you use in a day?” (because every answer was within 1 or 2 of “a lot”), and the very heady “What is the internet to you?” (Because a clear majority of respondents said “cat GIFs.”)

Here we go.

What is the first tech product you can remember having?

Mike, 20s
Sega Genesis

Jason, 30s
ColecoVision

Ashley, 20s
A Jurassic Park game that came with a joystick and hooked up to our computer.

Jay, 30s
Some old Toshiba laptop that didn’t work anymore, but I tore it apart and tried to understand what the goofy phone cradle was for. Turns out it was a modem that you put your actual phone on. Like WarGames.

Diane, 40s
A voice-activated penguin that followed me around.

Bob, 40s
A Commodore 64. Sleep just wasn’t coming on Christmas Eve 1985, and my dad let me help set it up to surprise my little brother.

Josh, 30s
C64!

Erron, 30s
Commodore 64 :c64: !!!!!11111

(Editor’s note: Why all the excitement? Because Commodore 64s are dope and have a 100% approval rating. Look it up.)

How many words can you text in a minute?

Bob, 40s
My 13-year-old says “not enough.”

Ashley, 20s
Not sure, but definitely less than the amount of emojis I can text in a minute.

Erron, 30s
Depends on what you consider to be a “word.” I can type “I am a beautiful person” repeatedly with that word suggestion thing, but then people just realize I’m crazy.

Josh, 30s
It depends on how many of my swear words autocorrect.

Mike, 20s
I almost never text for a whole minute. That’s like a paragraph.

Andy, 30s
With or without typos? With typos, I’d say “many.” Without typos, “significantly less than many.”

Matt, 30s
Can I use text to speech? Bluetooth keyboard? Swype?

Jay, 30s
I’ve hit 90 wpm on that typing racing site that I forget the name of.

(Editor’s note: That’s not texting, but we’ll allow it.)

What tech products did you have in school?

Diane, 40s
TRS-80s as far as the eye could see.

Jason, 30s
The 386DX-33.

Bob, 40s
Texas Instruments TI-81. Accept no substitutes.

Mark, 20s
Smart boards, but the teachers didn’t know how to use them very well, so they were just really expensive white boards.

Andy, 30s
Apple computers to start, and then in high school, it was #TeamGateway.

Josh, 30s
Apple IIe’s, but mostly for Typing Tutor, Word Munchers, and Oregon Trail.

Ashley, 20s
Those awesome Apple laptops with the handles.

Matt, 30s
My elementary school had an Apple II lab, and I got my first cell phone (the unsmart variety) when I went to college.

What is technology’s greatest impact on society?

Mark, 20s
It’s pretty obvious that our capability to communicate is unmatched in all of history, but that’s a double-edged sword. People can (and do) share breaking news and world-changing ideas in seconds, but those seconds are also used to share discord and hate.

Josh, 30s
Almost no one leaves home without a miniature computer in their pocket that is 100 times more powerful than the computers used to send the first shuttle to the moon.

Diane, 40s
Technology has exponentially increased the pace of our lives. Time is compressed, and people want instant gratification. Our lives run at top speed, and no one waits for anything.

Jay, 30s
Technology saved society. The Industrial Revolution, medicine, agriculture, the cotton gin, you name it – our lives are better because of technology.

Bob, 40s
What was that? I was finishing a Buzzfeed quiz. I got “High Waisted Jorts.”

 

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