The first "page" I ever received was in a movie theater. The term 'pager' wasn't even a thing yet. It was called a beeper. There was no digital screen to read, just a button to turn it on and off, and a volume dial. It simply screeched what was basically a voicemail left on a special phone line that was transmitted to the little brown box on my belt. Needless to say, the other guests in the theater were not happy.
I hadn't really considered how loud the thing would be when I took it home for my first weekend on-call for WSAW-TV. We were a small Wausau TV station with only 4 videographers. We shot 'tape' on Sony DXC-3000 cameras. Those were the 3-chip cameras mind you. Chip technology... boy we were really living in the future. When the 3-chips broke down, we reverted back to the trusty RCA TK-76. What a beauty! Don't point it at the light!!!
Kids these days, and really most adults, don't realize for the first several decades of TV and video - you DID NOT point a camera at bright light. It burned the tubes and left a starry eyed burn in your precious camera's tubes. The viewfinder alone was larger than most entire cameras are today. And that viewfinder only provided a black-and-white depiction of what you were capturing.
We captured the video on a separate device altogether. Usually a 3/4" video tape loaded in a Sony VO-4800 I believe. Not so much as a single digital readout. A top loading U-matic that weighted as much as a cinderblock.
These two dinosaurs prove a theory that I've posited for years. I call it 'exponentialism.' It's really a word I just made up, but since then it's actually developed it's own meaning - even if spellcheck still doesn't recognize it as a word.
What it meant to me was that TV, or any technology(any question at all really), has a never ending human force of change behind it. Every technology will be better. There will be an i-Phone 12 one of these days. The i-Phone will be obsolete one of these days, so will the International Space Station. Just like the Atari 2600, the PlayStation 4 Pro will be forgotten one day. Exponentialism assumes there is always an answer to every question. Can a human be faster? Of course. Can a building be taller? Always. Can we dive deeper into the ocean? Someone probably will tomorrow.
I remember thinking of this concept, formulating, then crystalizing it as TV technology moved from 2" video, to 1" reel-to-reel, then Betacam -SP-SX and finally to memory storage like P-2 cards. Now an SD card is the size of my thumb - and that's the big SD card.
Live broadcasting technology has taken a similar path - Goldenrods, to the mast/dish microwave, then satellite trucks and on to Live-U backpacks. But I always knew these new better, smaller, and faster methods were coming. Now I can go live with a phone the size of my hand. I do it often, even from the center of a hurricane. All of that was unthinkable in 1987, but in every industry, workers predicted change. It's always unclear at the time just what that change will look like. How that pager in the movie theater would morph into something so much more powerful. Who could predict a phone/video/stillcamera/addressbook/mapbook/alarmclock/calendar/webbrowser/stereo/pager.
Millennials have seen as much change as Gen-Xers. But it hasn't been as obvious to them. I think that's about to change. They'll tell their kids, "we didn't have Artificial Intelligence" when I was a kid. They'll say "computers couldn't cure diseases" when I was a kid. "Computers couldn't read your emotions" when I was a kid. "Computers couldn't feel, or taste, or smell(of course they already see and hear - so why not). "When I was a kid, parents drove kids to school."
Exponentialism(as defined my me) has explained and predicted a lot for... well ME. I know the technology of the future will make my i-Phone look like a TK-76, or my MacBook Air look like my first computer(Tandy TRS-80). I can't wait to see what happens next and I'm positive it will accelerate 100 fold in the next few years... all because of Artificial Intelligence. Cognitive computing will change everything... exponentially.
Welcome to the future!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!