Of course, the topic of time-travel being used to make the time-traveller look cool has been explored in H.G. Wells, and the Back to the Future films. But generally, sci-fi has had the "awed person(s) from the past" coming from 50 years ago or more. I think that it's at good indication that we've made technological progress (if not much other kind...) that there are so many things we didn't have 10 years ago.

For this little trick, we'll need a Sony Vaio, a recent mobile phone, some newspapers, a DVD drive, and copies of Quake 3 Arena, The Matrix, Linux (distro of your choice), a bunch of audio CDs, possibly a Palm or a Gameboy Advance. And everything 2 of course.

What would people from the 1980's think if Everything was all they had?

The most amazing thing to me about this node is that the original writeup was published nearly fourteen years ago, when E2 was relatively new.

We are now approximately as far away from that date as someone would have been on Christmas Day, 1986, tearing the festive wrapping paper off a shiny new Amiga, NES or maybe even C64. Perhaps a VHS recorder or cutting-edge, deliriously expensive shoulder-mount video camera. Possibly a 1200 baud modem. A cassette-based Walkman.

Or a filofax. Or 35mm point-and-shoot camera.

Nowadays (how weird it seems to say that in this setting), the second paragraph of the above submission could be replaced with, simply, "a current model mobile phone". Maybe, for the sake of maximum versatility, a "Note"-type model (so we don't need a separate tablet or laptop), which would look incongrously large to transmillennial eyes more used to Nokia 3310s, Motorola flip-phones and Palm Pilots ... but still very, very small for its capabilities to someone unexpectedly receiving it that Christmas morning in the mid 80s, after it had fallen through a freak wormhole in spacetime.


Heck, you could probably get away with sending through my old 2011-vintage relic - a relatively modest HTC Desire S, with a quite comprehensively cracked screen and a decidedly careworn finish to its case, and it would still cause shockwaves; potentially more so because it shows evidence (not least, having over 9000 high-resolution photographs stored within) of having been in protracted daily use, rather than being a shiny and easily faked mockup.

Everyone keeps telling me I should have replaced it ages ago. But it still works, and it still demonstrates just how far we've come in terms of electronic technology, wireless connectivity and device convergence. Show me a wormhole and a couple hundred Britbucks to finance its immediate replacement, and I'll show you a handset ripe for donating to the cause of baffling a previous generation.


Sadly, they'd only be able to touch on the merest shred of its full capabilities, what with even 2G digital phone service not coming onto the scene until several years later, USB data connections a while later still, and publicly accessible 3G wireless data not arriving until ... well...
...er...
...until after that first node entry was itself even written.


Damn.
I hadn't even realised about that until just now.
You could send that HTC back to the original author, and THEY would probably have their mind blown at the sight of it.

They were writing from a standpoint of no 3G, no smartphones, no iPod-type MP3 players (only clunky, low capacity Rios and Zens - it still seemed that Minidisc might actually have a future), no truly affordable or practical digital cameras, no digital TV services (let alone catch-up or VoD), no commercial music downloads, little home broadband, no Youtube, with Napster and Mapquest/CDROM-based Autoroute still being quite recent developments. Handheld GPS and in-car navigation were still expensive novelties, and video phoning was once again dying the death of a premature, dead end technology after a brief flush of QVGA webcam-and-56k popularity. Flash media topped out at maybe 16MB and cost an absolute bomb.

All of which capability is folded into my worn-out, past-its-prime handset as a matter of course. As well as a 16GB transflash card that was cheap even when I got the phone. My biggest problem in trying to replace it right now is not finding something that's feature-rich enough, but instead that has a pleasingly high spec processor, card slot and replaceable battery without being so wide it'll over-stretch my hand... simply because high spec internals are expected to come along with a large, super-high-definition screen, and that mandates a wider body.

Literally those are my only concerns - everything else on that list can be taken for granted, regardless of what model I choose. Some of them are even waterproof. Seriously. I could Skype underwater if I so desired.


OK, granted, it's been a decade and a half ... but, still...
guys...

We've out-futured the future without even realising it.

Wow. Sitting here in 2028, reading this node again, is really a mindblower. I mean, I do vividly remember 2014 and the tech we had back then, but now the very idea of needing some kind of physical device that you had to hold in your hand and carry around in a pocket.... really, just, wow. And I remember having a television, and needing to look at its screen just to be able to see what was on it. I mean, forget going back to the 80's, I could just go back to 2014 and show them some crappy old copy of MacRoBrain 2025, and people would just be overawed by it. Heck, even ten years ago, imagine what people would have thought of the very idea that one quick injection of low-rent nanotech brainbots would let you essentially run your computer in your own brain, with your own thoughts. And that it would let you see the "screen" right there in your mind, to see or hear songs and shows and movies -- or just a relaxing waterfall -- like you're sitting right there in the middle of everything.

Now it's true, if we went back earlier than 2022, there wouldn't be a neuraethernet in place for people to communicate mind to mind, or even to tap into those creaky old GPS satellites and simply always know your location on the planet. But even without that, install brainbots in two people and give them a two dollar NeuroTabX cable and watch their amazement as they share thoughts and feelings and sensations from brain to brain. And with the recordings on just one tiny 10 exbibyte chip they could live through a few thousand amazing experiences -- riding an asteroid puncher, starring in their own holodynamic concert, spacediving from that gauchely touristy orbital deck in geosynch over Kenyanzania. They'd probably be wowed enough by one of those nanofibre mood-tunics that were fashionable a few years back -- you know, the ones which change color, thickness, and insulative qualities to suit the wearer's mood. Though as I recall, tunics were not especially fashionable in the 2010s (or the 0s, or the 1980s), but back then you really needed to wear clothing on inclement days just to stay dry and warm.

Yes, I do remember all those eras with some fondness. But I wouldn't go back for the world. I mean, imagine not even being able to simply send a node down the timestream like this?

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