I Defined Old Age

I decided a few minutes ago that I can define my old age. Audience, in its many myriad forms has always been the measure of how successful content is in execution. Network TV uses ratings, periodicals and feeds use subscriptions, and in order to be a modern member of society the rest of us use followers or ’friends’ (probably both).

But when I was young, we communicated outside our breathing space with telephones, or if we had the wherewithal, with mail.

In my adolescence, the new thing was using a phone to connect your computer to another person’s computer. Having followers in that era meant you bought (or hacked, I suppose) a copy of WWIV and tried to convince people to call your computer. You set it up in an afternoon and then your friends all ran home and war-dialed (y’know, with a modem – remember those?) until your computer answered. After a few minutes of surfing the requisite banal message contents, the SysOp booted you for being lame.

We learned in those days how to send messages to nodes and wait while a series of computers would call each other, dutifully forwarding the message, until maybe even as early as the next day we received a response:

“Old sweat pants and a plaid shirt I stole from my Uncle Ned. Why?”

Ahem.

A few minutes ago I successfully ’rooted’ my old Droid 1 mobile phone. This is a process I’d heard of, but never put much thought into. It seemed a lot of work for an old device that was no longer in use. But my MP3 player was dying and I needed a substitute. The phone works just dandy but it has these apps on it that eat storage space, and if they’re running, they eat battery too. Then there’s the distraction factor. These days it’s rare to have a tool that does only one job – miniaturization has given us the means to ’Swiss Army’ everything. I don’t need my MP3 player to track my investments or check in on foursquare. If it could make coffee, that’d be something (I know it can find me a Starbucks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I read a wiring diagram that interfaces your sync cable to the auto-start function on your coffee maker).

Anyway, root, ROM – no more bloatware.

We used to have pen-pals, party-line phones, bulletin board systems, vanity web pages on Geocities… Now, it’s Twitter and Facebook. You have to root your old Droid phones to get rid of these applications.

Then, as an afterthought, you get out another device and post to your ’Tumblr.’ which in turn re-blogs to your other content streams… So a dozen strangers can peer in on your life.

I did this. This is how I know I’m old.