Rotary Phones and The Proto-Internet


We seem to have a reaction to it. We either love it, think it is making the world a better and more connected place, and saving lives in the meantime.

Or we hate it, feel it creeping into our lives, time and schedules, and spreading more negative news than hopeful news.


It makes everything move faster. We expect more, and expect it now. But not so long ago, all of the technological and speedy advances which I am using at this very moment to post this were unheard of!

Watch with an eye of wonder and nostalgia!


Don’t miss the tidbits of truth throughout the hilarity of this piece.

1. Only a few thousand people owned home computers in the Bay area.

2. The gentleman interviewed is identified only as “Owns Home Computer” further showing us how rare that identifier actually was.

3. The engineers doing this were not looking to revolutionize anything, or even make money, they were doing it to see if they could.

That got me thinking. Our actions have consequences. And oftentimes it is not the actions, decisions, or interactions which seem important at the time which make the biggest differences. These early computer geeks didn’t set out to change the world and provide an information super highway, that I have already used to look up directions, phone numbers, pay bills, connect with friends, and share my thoughts with the world. (And that was just what I did this morning!) They just wanted to see if it could be done.

What can you do with a little drive, interest, time and money that could change the world?

And the next time you bemoan your “connection speed” remember that it used to take two hours, via rotary phone, to get the newspaper!

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