For the digitally inclined, the etymology of “hello world” is well understood. Being a proud owner of a well-marked-up, first-edition of K&R (from my college days), I count myself amongst the aforementioned. So one might say that the auto-generated title (courtesy of WordPress) of this, my primordial blog post, is quite apropos for setting the tone of where the majority of my blog posts will veer. I am a proud geek by trade, prone to occasional rambling, so it is somewhat surprising in a sense that Dec 5th 2008 would be the date of my first ever public blog posting. I’ve been in the geek trade for quite some time – about 20 years – and though public blogging is not as dated, it is safe to say I am a bit late to this party. That said, I will suffer the messy dip and make a go of this.
Which brings me to the first topic of discussion – the title of the blog itself. The day before yesterday, while talking to my oldest son I suffered an instance of this blog’s name-sake. My son had recently come to discover a hidden talent for the art of picture taking. The photography teacher in his school was suitably impressed with his portfolio that she urged us to get him a film camera to help him “develop his eye.” I dug out my old Minolta SLR with its 28-200 zoom lens and showed it to my son. He looked it over, thumbed through the manual and really started to warm to it.
“So where do I preview the picture?”
“Um, you really can’t do that with these.”
“Are you serious?! How do I know how the picture came out?”
“Well, you have to get them developed when you’re done with the roll and then you’ll see.”
“Done with the roll?”
“Yeah, there’s a roll of film that gets developed in a dark room which by the way means you can’t expose it to sunlight…”
And on and on. Eventually he sort of got it, but was of course shaking his head at how “lame” it must have been to take pictures “back in the day.”
And so was born the analog moment. While this was technically not the first such moment for me (the vinyl/CD discussion had taken place years before), it was nonetheless the first moment of mine so named (notwithstanding the possibility that others might have independently arrived at the same epiphany). I had heard how aging could be marked by “senior moments” of brief forgetfulness but felt comfortable/hopeful that mine were some years away. The conversation with my son was an ironic age marker, especially considering my very digital trade and the fact that my son is favoring the fine arts as a field of study. There I stood, the analog dinosaur, working in the very trade that makes these analog moments possible. Across the baby boomer to gen X continuum lies a large group of us for whom there exists the very full experience and understanding of both worlds. Perhaps we are the only ones who will ever make such a claim.
So join me in saluting the analog moment by sharing some of yours. Because after this post, my musings will be taking on a more distinctly digital flavor.