Friday, August 12, 2011

(empo-tymshft) What if modern portability existed, or didn't exist, 30 years ago?

Joe was sitting in his favorite coffee shop, eating breakfast and reading a big, fat paper. He was looking at the sports section, reading stories about the upcoming NFL season, when he happened to notice an oddly-dressed - and odd - person in the booth next to his.

The person, who looked a little disoriented as if he were somewhere that he shouldn't be, was wearing a t-shirt that said "Zynga." His eyes were riveted on a small electronic device in front of him. The bottom of the device was a keyboard, and the top of the device was a very thin display. It was almost like a computer screen, only it was much thinner - and much smaller; Joe's trained eye estimated that the screen was a 10.1" screen, ridiculously small.

The Zynga guy was staring at the device in disbelief and muttering to himself. Joe caught him saying something like "Where's the why fie connection."

"Is something wrong?" Joe asked.

Zynga replied. "I was right in the middle of writing a reply to Loren Feldman on Google Plus when I lost my why fie." Normally this espresso bar has a pretty good connection, but now my net book isn't finding ANY why fie in the area."

Suddenly Zynga had an idea. "Duh, why didn't I think of this sooner? I'll just get my eye phone."

Joe had no idea what an eye phone was, but he watched as Zynga pulled out a device that was smaller than a calculator, and also had a dark screen on it - a very small dark screen. Whatever it was, it obviously wasn't a phone - no earpiece, no mouthpiece, not even any keys to dial a number.

"Bachmann balls!" cried Zynga in the strangest expletive that Joe had ever heard. "No connection on the eye phone either!"

"Do you need a phone?" asked Joe. He pointed to the wall. "There's a pay phone right over there, but it's a ripoff. They raised the charge from ten cents to twenty-five cents. AT&T is such a robber baron. They oughta break it up."

Zynga looked at Joe with a quizzical look. Then he glanced at Joe's paper, and slowly extended his finger toward the top of the page.

Zynga spoke slowly. "August...12...1981?!?"

Clutching his eye phone in his hand, he slowly sat down. Joe was puzzled by the stream of words that came out of Zynga's mouth.

"No eye phone, no why fie, no Google Plus. Heck, no Google. Not even A Oh El. No Mac. No hard drive on an IBM P C."

Joe had heard of the IBM P C, since it was in the news, although he had no idea why anyone would want anything like that.

Zynga continued his monologue.

"And if I want to find out what's going on in the world, I have to read THE PAPER." He shook his head.

Zynga then turned to Joe. "But there are good things about this. I don't have to worry about trillion dollar deficits, I don't have to have Tee Ess Ay people looking at my junk every time I get on a plane, and I don't have to pay a hundred bucks a month for phone service. And when I leave the house, no one can call me!"

For the first time since they had met each other, Zynga smiled. "I'm think I'm gonna like the eighties."

Zynga then began singing a strange song that Joe had never heard.

"Don't you want me baby..."

Just then...
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