Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What is that thing?



I grew up in South Africa on a “guest farm,” the equivalent, in the U.S., of a “dude ranch.” In the late 1950s and early 1960s, this guest farm had a ‘call box,’ a public phone set on one wall of a 4 x 4 room with a door and a window. This phone, number X03, looked something like the one above (taken at Pt. Reyes in 2014) in that it had a handset connected with cable to a “box” and a slot for coins. The one above gets a dial tone. The vintage, all-black, heavy plastic version in South African, however, had a crank-style handle that, when wound round and round, alerted an operator in the “telephone exchange” three miles away. The operator responded and “put through” the call after the caller dropped the requisite funds into the slot.
Today, I use an iPhone 6 (I don’t recommend this model) that, besides calls, allows me to Facetime my grandkids in Texas, Skype family in South Africa and Europe, send emails, access the Internet, watch movies, and read library books. None of this existed even as concepts in the 50s and 60s.
Progress.  Amazing.

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