18 October 2005

I feel very old again

ABCfm got a bit esoteric while I was driving schoolkids around today, so I flipped the wahless across to 94.5. They played the Boomtown Rats’ I don’t like Mondays, which says...

The telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world

...and the epiphany struck: none of the kids I was driving would know what a Telex was. telexNor, it turned out, did my sister-in-law Jane or our mutual friend Monica. Jane’s hubby Jamie knew, but only just.

<geezer> I remember working at a West Perth consulting firm (long since defunct) when the boss sent a huge (seven foot (as in eighty-four linear inches of paper with printing on)?) Telex from Malaysia. It was full of meandering generalities, half-formed thoughts and such but very light on for actual information. At the end, it asked a whole pile of long and random questions, mostly unrelated to the preceding waffle. The two leading employees responded, one by replying “YES” and the other by replying “NO”. I remember documents typed up in EDT or TECO and fed to DEC RunOff (RNO) to produce Telex-formatted text, which was then converted into faux Baudot code by a small C program and written out through an ASR-33 teletype acting as a Telex terminal. </geezer>

My 15yod wouldn’t know what a record was if her “bumpa” didn’t keep a (large) collection of ’78s (actually 78.26 RPM, says Wikipedia). Monica’s children will grow up in a world where thick televisions are alien, hot light-builbs are a novelty and you go to a museum to see a floppy disk. I feel like I just arrived in town towed by a a locomotive which eats coal.

sample of a Telex message

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