What time is it, Mr Wolf?

Have you ever wondered how life would be if you had lived in the past? Well I suppose it isn't difficult because we have all lived in the past. I started my living in 1972. In such a short space of time I have lived through a ridiculous period of invention and re-invention.

I know that my 40 years have been lived in very modest times due to the lottery of birth. It may be that my memories are similar to yours. I remember the excitement when I discovered the red LED digital watch. You pressed a button on its side and the time displayed for a few seconds. The power hungry nature of this watch meant it wasn't constantly on. If that concept was used now, we'd call it energy efficient. I never had one of these watches but I remember being warned about them. To go from an analogue to a digital display made an easy task even easier. "It'll make you lazy" was the general opinion. How right they were.

Here is a very brief stroll through the development of the digital watch. For more, click here

Seiko O6LC (1973)

This watch was on the wrist of the well-dressed person in 1973. It replaced the mechanical watches that required a bit of work (as the lost a few minutes per week so they had to be wound-up).

We had entered the digital age in a big way. The way things were going to change would have surprised anyone.

Casio Game-10

The next big change was the introduction of the multi-function watch. 8 years later we had watches with game-playing functions. Until this point we had to make do with pencil and paper games such as noughts and crosses, dots and hangman.

Our homes were starting to see the games console being attached to our TVs that had only been part time single function machines until then.

Undoubtedly we had witnessed the first mass-market explosion of technological advancement. The genie, however, was out of the bottle. We had gone from being happy with permanence and simplicity to desiring the next best thing. Now 40 years on since the digital baby was born it's promiscuous nature has allowed it to infiltrate all parts of human life. The changes in the watch market has moved into the computer world. We have seen the greatest extinction of technological items since time began.

The graveyard of technology has some famous corpses: The VCR (both Betamax and VHS), the CRT TV, the analogue radio, the ZX80, Amstrad CPC-464, Commodore Amiga, Atari 520-ST. The next best thing has quickly expired, only to be replaced by the next best thing. This normally comes at a higher price but with more features.

I have decided to try to remove myself from this process. As I type this I am wearing a 1970s mechanical watch. It has a pleasing strap making it look very retro. The nice thing is knowing that I can wear something that is as old as me whilst knowing full well that it would never have been attainable for me or my family when I was a young boy.

Perhaps real joy comes from stepping in the footsteps of your historic self whilst looking through the eyes of the current you. It helps to put into context many things that you accepted as a child. There has to be a time of reflection in your life. It can't be done unless you stop. And think. The world has benefited from many of the changes in technology. Sometimes the benefit is instant but short lived. Sometimes it has been delayed.

However I am planning to draw a line in the sand where I will not step over. The next major changes in technology will not, I hope, appeal to me. I am very satisfied with what I have. There are many things that I now want to have but these things were in the past. I love books. I love fountain pens. I love bike riding. The simple pleasures in life are now calling me.

You may think that I am anti-technology. I'm not. The i-Phone is one of the most amazing feats of human engineering that I can imagine. And perhaps that is what this blog is about. You can only embrace change if you have an imagination that is active and receptive. Mine still is but I am increasingly thinking that simple beats complex.

I am retreating from the technological world to focus on appreciating what I have and trying to get what I didn't have as a child. I could chase the elusive pot of gold at the end of the technological rainbow; or I could just step back. And enjoy the view.