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Old 11-22-2020, 08:43 PM   #1
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Life before the internet???

It just occurred to me that as long as I have been alive and wrenched or tinkered with anything I have had internet. My first car was when I was 13 in 1994. I am pretty sure I used forums then if not shortly after and still using one now. I as most probably do rely on google and the internet constantly. I can find, build, and fix just about anything. I have more skills than I can keep up with.

So, what was it like before the internet? Just what friends and relatives knew? The local expert? Books which were limited and dated quickly? I'm sure a jack of all trades was a bit more rare?

Maybe things were just a bit simpler. No fancy electronics. Cars ran off mechanical devices. Houses had less gizmos. The devices we rely on giving us all headaches time to time were not around. No one bugging me on my cell phone all day. In some ways it seems nicer.

Has the internet saved us or doomed us? Well if that doesn't open a can of worms on here...
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:52 PM   #2
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We used yellow pages more. And then called to get help.
We did rely more on local experts and owners manuals. Even repair manuals.

It helped to be handy back then just like it does today.

I agree things were more mechanical and simpler. Less electronics and automation.

But just like today problems have a way of getting solved when you worked at it.
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:58 PM   #3
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The first mainframe computer I worked with filled a 30'x30' room. The "memory" was on huge disc packs about 20" in diameter and a foot tall. Input was by punch cards that were typed by hand.
Today your GPS contains far more computing power.


As to know-how, many skilled trades were learned by apprenticeship. Others, like someone wanting to be an auto mechanic began with cleaning up after working mechanics and listen and watching them(a form of apprenticeship). If they showed a genuine interest the mechanics would begin educating them, with the approval of the shop owner.
Books, many auto owners depended on Chilton manuals(look them up on the internet).
BTW, the first "internet" looked like this:
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:32 PM   #4
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Chilton Manuals.....they were worn/greasy and often used when I was 'learning'
Course one could get car/truck running on the side of the road with basic tools

Learning was holding flash light for Dad as he fixed thins, then it was curiosity of how things mechanical worked, then OJB (on the job training) be it actual directions or self preservation, then NAVY where there were NO repair shops in the middle of oceans

First job after discharge from NAVY -----draftsman for Univac a division of Sperry-Rand computer company
**Got that job due to recommendation by my College Professor....I was taking drafting classes (went to work for them 1/2 thru semester --- never did finish college.)
We designed computer frames, logic boards, circuit boards etc for manufacturing floor just outside the drafting room (which had no windows----only lasted a year until the walls closed in on me)

After that worked construction jobs were I basically bluffed my way along as I learned.
3 guys and I did remodeling jobs/home additions then I became an Assistant Track Supervisor for a developer building of new homes.
Had to learn the various trades as I was overseeing their work scope.....man what a sharp learning curve. And I didn't have a home computer....had to learn by the seat of my pants and 'being involved' with day to day operations

Construction took a down turn in 1979/1980 so....once
Went to work for Major Utility Company in their Power Plants and was 'forced' into learning Instrumentation, Relay protection, Electrical Systems from 24VDC to 220KV ----thanks to NAVY training I already knew about boilers/turbines/generators.
As technology advanced major upgrades were done in Control Room --changing old pneumatic/electric controls to 'COMPUTERS'

The upgrades were interesting...whole new learning curve.
Unfortunately several of the 'upgrades' were like putting a New Steering Wheel on a on old car W/O upgrading any of the mechanical parts.
Looked good but still went down the street 'wobbling'


As a paperboy in 7th grade got to tour the news plant and watch the newspapers being printed, folded. stuffed
Then before I retired I had to learn how to talk to a Honeywell Control System and make programing revisions

Internet....great tool
Also a source of bologna, opinions presented as fact and misinformation
Great to have that source of info....just VERIFY the truthfulness especially prior to passing that info along.

I still use Paper Maps ..... LOL
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:49 PM   #5
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In my younger car-guy years I had literally no one to confer with. Shop manuals, magazines, well, that's about it. Learned a LOT of stuff the hard way and some lessons that stuck due to being expensive or difficult to fix mistakes.

Fast forward to now. Young people faced with a problem don't engage their brain, it's straight to Youtube. If they find a solution there, then the car/bike/house/thingy gets fixed but they didn't really learn anything. Later, faced with basically the same problem, it's a repeat because the first time nothing really stuck. So they look like dumbasses. (I've personally witnessed this exact thing with some younger helpers) Repeated enough it will stick but nothing like how it does when they work through an issue themselves. An obvious exception to this would be a person with eidetic memory but those are pretty rare.

So younger people come across as dumber. Though they are better at searching up help they they are a lot worse at thinking for themselves. (Generalizing, there are some wonderfully smart kids out there). This is not their fault. If you are walking somewhere and you know there is a shortcut that will knock ten minutes off your trip, you will take the shortcut. Unless you are out purely for exercise. (Dangit, there are always so many exceptions to everything.) It's human nature to take the easier way. Same with fixing things. Figuring out how things work can be quite difficult and frustrating. The real problem is when there is no easy answer and the person has never really HAD to think through a problem. Then it's sink or swim time.

So basically the internet is both saving and ruining us. I love the things I can find on it. I have harvested a fairly large personal collection of repair info from it myself. But also I know good and well it's crippling some of our ability to think and do things for ourselves. I know when I am cheating myself by looking for a quick fix where people who were raised knowing all this info is constantly at their beck and call don't see it that way.

So in the long run I fear all this info at our fingertips may be costing us some ability to reason and think for ourselves. It's just something that vaguely bothers me. Hopefully how we use the internet will keep evolving and in ways that will cause us to engage our minds more. Who can say, but we can hope.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Chilton Manuals.....they were worn/greasy and often used when I was 'learning'
Course one could get car/truck running on the side of the road with basic tools

Learning was holding flash light for Dad as he fixed thins, then it was curiosity of how things mechanical worked, then OJB (on the job training) be it actual directions or self preservation, then NAVY where there were NO repair shops in the middle of oceans

First job after discharge from NAVY -----draftsman for Univac a division of Sperry-Rand computer company
**Got that job due to recommendation by my College Professor....I was taking drafting classes (went to work for them 1/2 thru semester --- never did finish college.)
We designed computer frames, logic boards, circuit boards etc for manufacturing floor just outside the drafting room (which had no windows----only lasted a year until the walls closed in on me)

After that worked construction jobs were I basically bluffed my way along as I learned.
3 guys and I did remodeling jobs/home additions then I became an Assistant Track Supervisor for a developer building of new homes.
Had to learn the various trades as I was overseeing their work scope.....man what a sharp learning curve. And I didn't have a home computer....had to learn by the seat of my pants and 'being involved' with day to day operations

Construction took a down turn in 1979/1980 so....once
Went to work for Major Utility Company in their Power Plants and was 'forced' into learning Instrumentation, Relay protection, Electrical Systems from 24VDC to 220KV ----thanks to NAVY training I already knew about boilers/turbines/generators.
As technology advanced major upgrades were done in Control Room --changing old pneumatic/electric controls to 'COMPUTERS'

The upgrades were interesting...whole new learning curve.
Unfortunately several of the 'upgrades' were like putting a New Steering Wheel on a on old car W/O upgrading any of the mechanical parts.
Looked good but still went down the street 'wobbling'


As a paperboy in 7th grade got to tour the news plant and watch the newspapers being printed, folded. stuffed
Then before I retired I had to learn how to talk to a Honeywell Control System and make programing revisions

Internet....great tool
Also a source of bologna, opinions presented as fact and misinformation
Great to have that source of info....just VERIFY the truthfulness especially prior to passing that info along.

I still use Paper Maps ..... LOL
I had a Chilton's for every vehicle I owned.

And I also worked for Sperry Univac as a field engineer...repaired mainframes for 25 years. Started after I got out of the Navy in 1967.

Old Biscuit...I still have the logic's for the Univac 1004. Your name would be on them if you drew them. What year did you start drafting for Univac? In Ilion New York I assume.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:08 PM   #7
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Yes without a doubt the internet (which I invented BTW) has drastically changed the way we learn today. My Dad was a Nasa engineer. Before Nasa he spent 20 years in the Navy as an aircraft mechanic. He fixed everything himself around our house and as a result I learned watching and helping. Today we get on a forum or watch a Youtube video to learn. Pretty cool stuff. One thing that hasn't changed is the feeling you get after fixing something yourself.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:30 PM   #8
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Life before the Internet

I've lived on both sides of the internet. As with most technologies, it is a double edged sword. It has its good and bad.
I too am from the era watching my dad, adjust the valves on his 1968 Chevy truck and asking questions. Afterwards my dad purchased the Visible V8 and we built it together. Learning how to adjust points, and timing with a light, on my first car, a 1974 Opel Manta. Also started by sweeping up at my friend's dad's gas station, where my high school buddy worked. The gas station taught me to count back change, be customer friendly, read a paper map and give directions to patrons. Working as a mechanic also helped.
In high school my electives were drafting and architecture. Spent 18 months living and going to school in Germany (from 1980-1982) doing all my classes in German helped me land a job in a small automotive company as a translator. To this day I still have numerous friends across the pond.
Learned from books, Haynes manuals, magazines, and of course there was the school of hard-knocks. Having parents that did not have tons of money, and were handy helped. Mom was good at home renovation, and my dad was a boilermaker, welder and hobby furniture maker.
After my mom divorced and got remarried, my step-dad showed me electronics, and how to diagnose electrical systems. Self taught myself body work, welding and now painting in my 50's.
Back in the day you had to go to the library, book stores or pick a friends brain to get your education. Today the internet adds to my research for a repair job. I do not neglect purchasing repair manuals, and supplement my knowledge with the internet, and great forums such as this one. Case in point, purchased a GM service manual for our P30 RV chassis.
In the end I believe we need to research a matter/repair from various sources, and not just rely on one book, internet article, or friends opinion. Use the resources at our finger tips and make an informed decision.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:40 PM   #9
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Who still balances a checkbook?

Well...who still writes checks?
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:42 PM   #10
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Before the internet there were the bulletin boards, starting out at 300 baud.
See CompuServe.

It expanded my knowledge base. So did magazine subscriptions.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:57 PM   #11
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As with any technology, there's good & bad to the internet.

Good=all sorts of knowledge at our fingertips, with just the touch of a finger (or a verbal command with Siri, Alexa or the like). So much to expand your knowledge/horizons/better yourself out there.

Bad=we're much less social than prior & we're much less patient. Getting today's youth to put down their phones & have a face-to-face conversation is difficult. I feel sorry for families I see at restaurants, each with their noses buried in their phones & not interacting with each other. FWIW, I don't allow that at mealtimes at our house. And with information easily accessible/practically instantaneous via internet searches, no one has any patience anymore. Heaven forbid a webpage takes longer than 1 a second to display.

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Old 11-22-2020, 10:59 PM   #12
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I started with electronics and ham radio in the 8th grade in the 60's.

After college went into the USAF - yep, electronics and communications.

Got into data processing and computing in 1980. Started my own consulting business soon thereafter - specializing in PC network engineering and some of the very early wireless data stuff.

In 2000, when wifi was just becoming a big thing a major computer manufacturer made me an offer I couldn't refuse - so sold the business. All the big companies were starting wireless networking groups. If one could spell wireless two out of three times correctly, you were in hot demand.

Worked design, development and implementation through all the wifi variants plus 3G/4G, bluetooth, etc. Retired in 2016.

Looking back, it's been many changes and huge advancements since the 8th grade and 50+ years. Can't even imagine what the next 50+ years will bring technology-wise.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbluesky View Post
It just occurred to me that as long as I have been alive and wrenched or tinkered with anything I have had internet. My first car was when I was 13 in 1994. I am pretty sure I used forums then if not shortly after and still using one now. I as most probably do rely on google and the internet constantly. I can find, build, and fix just about anything. I have more skills than I can keep up with.

So, what was it like before the internet? Just what friends and relatives knew? The local expert? Books which were limited and dated quickly? I'm sure a jack of all trades was a bit more rare?

Maybe things were just a bit simpler. No fancy electronics. Cars ran off mechanical devices. Houses had less gizmos. The devices we rely on giving us all headaches time to time were not around. No one bugging me on my cell phone all day. In some ways it seems nicer.

Has the internet saved us or doomed us? Well if that doesn't open a can of worms on here...

For our 4-wheelers I always bought factory service manuals or Chilton or Motor manuals from the auto parts store. Also Haynes manuals, Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics magazines. They were pretty much YouTube in print but without the misinformation.

Not sure about the RV side though. We bought our motorhome well after the advent of the internet.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:07 PM   #14
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I had a Chilton's for every vehicle I owned.

And I also worked for Sperry Univac as a field engineer...repaired mainframes for 25 years. Started after I got out of the Navy in 1967.

Old Biscuit...I still have the logic's for the Univac 1004. Your name would be on them if you drew them. What year did you start drafting for Univac? In Ilion New York I assume.
1977 in Irvine CA
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