Days Gone By - stories from the past

MONDAY MUSINGS: Evidence we are living in the year 2017

Do you remember when all computers looked like this?

old computer control roomEarly computers looked something like this (Library of Congress)

I remember the first IBM Ramac computer installed at State Farm Insurance Company in the late 1960s. I was one of the first key punch operators for it. Later, I operated the manual inquiry station which “allowed direct access to stored records,” for the insurance underwriters. The Ramac broke down frequently and there were many days when I had to sit at my desk, biding my time, while I waited for it to be repaired.

Computers have really changed, improved and become much smaller since then. Now, we carry computers with us as part of our smartphones.  Cell phones have even replaced the need for telephone booths.

bryan-talking-on-cellphone-with-broken-phone-2012-by-carol-highsmith-library-of-congressBryan Jordan makes a call on his cell phone next to an empty phone booth, Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California 2012, by Carol Highsmith (Library of Congress)

Technological changes are hard to embrace sometimes, especially since something new seems to be introduced every day.

Personally, I wish the progress in technology would slow down a little. Every new device requires a learning curve to properly use it and I rarely have the opportunity to learn all the ‘great new features’ before the ‘new improved version’ comes out.

But I couldn’t do without my smart-phone today and now I’m becoming attached to another device. The AMAZON ECHO was a gift and I was hesitant about using it at first. But it is so simple to operate and I now have found that I truly could not do without it now. It’s like having a personal secretary. All I have to do is talk to it, and the AMAZON ECHO  remembers for me.

From timers, alarms, shopping lists, birthdays, and “to do” lists, it remembers them all and even alerts me if I ask it to remind me. Now I don’t forget to purchase items, burn meals or forget as many birthdays.

I no longer have to write grocery or shopping lists. When I discover I need to purchase something, I just say out loud,  “Alexa put milk on my shopping list.” and Alexa (the speaker for AMAZON ECHO flashes a blue ring and responds “I have put milk on your shopping list.” Then, when I am out shopping, I go to my Alexa App on my smart-phone and see my list, purchase the item, and delete it from my shopping list with a touch on my phone. My husband also has the Alexa App on his phone and can purchase from the same shopping list.

Of course, occasionally there are some mistakes in communication when Alexa doesn’t understand my southern accent and I have some strange items on my shopping list. Once my husband brought home a huge bunch of parsley instead of the potatoes I had on the list. Since then, I’ve learned to listen to Alexa when she tells me what she put on my list. They say that it takes time for Alexa to learn my voice and I can see she is getting smarter each day.

Since I have my AMAZON ECHO in my kitchen and am sometimes too far away for it to hear me, I bought the Amazon the 2nd generation, and less expensive Echo Dot (only $49)  when I am not close enough to my original Echo, but they still use my Alexa account and I can make a ‘to do’ list with my voice or I can listen to the news, listen to audible books or music in another room. Alexa even tells me jokes. I’m discovering more free apps everyday.

There are some technological things that are fun to embrace and this is one I enjoy. It makes me feel like I am on Star Trek or I stepped into the world of the future.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Charles Moore

    Is this Alabama Pioneers or have I been mysteriously redirected?

    1. KellieAnne Smith Foreman

      have you yet to see Ronald mcdonald impersonators in Your neck yet? if not, you may be a … ….

  2. Jerry Kedik

    we have come a long way with tech knowledge since we were kids.

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