Back to the Floppy Disk: Today in Retro Newscasts

WHEN I WAS A KID, LIKE WHEN I WAS 5 OR 6 YEARS OLD, my father worked as a reporter for The Canadian Press. He was a single dad, and when he couldn’t find a sitter sometimes he’d bring me to work with him. I loved hanging out there. The way I remember it, CP was a giant room full of paunchy dudes hollering about politics, drinking, smoking and typing stuff under fluorescent lights. There were amazing things at his office I could look at, like: A radio station, and the wire–pre-Internet technology where all the news scrolled by, printed out and accumulated on piles of recycled paper under the machine. But the coolest piece of technology he showed me was a giant computer. The computer itself was a room that you walked into, full of tubes and wires and metal, and it smelled funny in there, like burning dust. Maybe I’m inventing the tubes part. I’m picturing tubes. Whatever it was, that room computer sure makes my 200-dollar-Acer look swanky.

Check out 3 visions of what the future used to look like, circa the past.

1. 1988 Computer Virus

KEY WORDS: Floppy disk, electronic mail, telephone.

2. 1980 “The Future of Television” 

KEY WORDS: Telefuture, threat to newspapers.

3. 1967 Fingertip Shopping via Video Console

KEY WORDS: Push-buttons, central bank computer, home post-office.

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
The History of Computers 
5 Ridiculous Scams That Actually Worked