An Analogue World

In the beginning, everything was analogue
If you're under 40 you'll never have known a world in which computers didn’t exist so it will seem strange to think of everything being done with knobs and levers, pulleys and ropes - yet that’s how it was.

When you wanted to play music you placed the record player’s arm on the spinning disc - and you could actually see how the music was created as the stylus followed the spiral groove all the way to the centre of the record:-

When the record finished, the arm moved aside to let the next disc clatter into place. 

Later, when tape recorders came along, you could see the magnetic tape passing over the playback head. There was a direct link between the physical tape moving from left to right and the sound being generated:-

Tape that travelled from spool to spool; dials with needles that flickered satisfyingly.

In schools, there was no need for subjects called ‘Computing’ or ‘Computer Studies’ or ‘ICT’ because computers were enormous things the size of a small factory and they needed technicians in white coats to operate them.

Schools and homes didn’t have computers because they were too big and too expensive - and in any case there was no reason to have one. Computers were giant mathematical machines used by industries and accountants.

How things have changed . . . .


(OK, this was before my time - not just analogue but pre-electricity!)

Next: The White Heat of Technological Progress

© Brian Smith 2015