offline

Do you remember the 80’s? I do! In the 80’s I was a little kid and later a teen. And in the 80’s I was offline. That is why I decided to build my own time machine and revive some of the 80’s in my daily life.

In the 80’s I was offline. Sure, I played around with technology back then. I played games on my Commodore 64 and on a few handheld LCD games I owned. For music I used some discarded (but great) audio equipment from my older brother. Taping songs from the radio and trying to stop the recording just in time before the DJ started talking. I watched TV too. But only starting in the late afternoon or early evening because that was when the broadcasts started. And because we only had one TV, we all had to agree what to watch. And yes: we all watched together!

The only digital notification that could distract me was the beeping alarm on my Casio watch

The only digital notification that could distract me was the beeping alarm on my Casio watch. It even had an hourly beep! My father sometimes sighed and asked me to turn it off because it was distracting him… Other 80’s distractions were the phone (landline obviously) or the doorbell ringing and the mail falling onto the mat. Or my friends yelling outside the house asking me to come play.

Sometimes I had nothing to do. But that feeling never lasted long. Hungry for knowledge and entertainment I raided my parent’s bookshelves and started reading all kinds of stuff. But comic books always were my favorite. I owned a few but my older brother had an enormous collection that I was also allowed to read. I just kept reading and reading and reading. And I even started writing my own stories on my father’s old typewriter. The days just seemed to last longer back then. Because there were basically no interruptions. Besides my mom calling us for dinner or for bed.

The dawn of the Internet

In the late 90’s and since the turn of the century I witnessed the dawn of the Internet as we know it today. I loved it. Because the Internet had a lot of information to read, people to meet, games to play and videos to watch. Until I realized that it had too much of those things and I would never be able to keep up. It would never stop.

Sure, I still love technology and the Internet has brought me a lot of great things. My current job is largely dependent on the Internet. And about 10 years ago I also discovered that the Internet is a great place to write (or blog). Almost as great as my father’s old typewriter.

When entertainment was not one click of a button away

But sometimes I just miss the 80’s. The time when we were all offline. When we still needed to entertain ourselves and it was not one click of a button away. The time when there were only a few interruptions. When we were still able to focus and the amount of things we could do was limited.

My own time machine

In the 80’s I was offline and plugged into the now. That is why I decided to build my own time machine (remember Back to the Future?) and revive some of the 80’s in my daily life. Mixing it with modern technology.

First I started muting most of my notifications. Only the ‘important’ stuff gets through and is able to disturb me in real-time. And that is not that often. The rest I check a few times a day. For my work I even found a distraction free writing app that mimics a typewriter (check out iA Writer). I even wrote this blogpost in it! I also started reading books again on my iPad. And I just can’t stop playing those great 80’s playlists on Spotify. Was the music better back in the 80’s? Maybe the artists also had better focus back then?

Games that you could not play online and only had a few settings and options

And for the gaming? Well, I have always been into retro gaming and still play some of those games from time to time in an emulator or on an old gameconsole I own. Remember those games that were simple but fun? Games that you could not play online and only had a few settings and options? Yes, those games!

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