The Application of Technology: But Girls,It Still Works!

The Application of Technology: But Girls, It Still Works!


In 1977, I launched from high school graduating in the first class of Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC ? boldly going where no DC Public School had gone before.  That same year, the Voyager Spacecrafts launched.


Today, the magnetometers on Voyager 1, built by NASA?s Goddard Space Flight Center, continue to observe and provide new insight into conditions at the outer edges of our solar system.  Though the Voyagers? original missions were to Jupiter and Saturn, they could still provide data for astounding discoveries until 2020.  Of course Star Trek fans know that Voyager could still continue far after that!


1968 A New Color Television


The Application of Technology: But Girls, It Still Works!In 1968, my grandparents, won their first color television.  This granddaughter was so happy.  Now I could see one my favorite television programs in color.  By the way, one of my favorites was I Dream of Jeannie ? which later inspired this dreamy mathematician to want to work for NASA. 


My grandfather, Daddy Carl, who always liked new technology, decided to build his own color television with a kit ? so that he could better understand how it worked and how to use it.  My grandmother, Mama, didn?t want to wait and purchased a raffle ticket.  Daddy Carl always liked to build new things; Mama always liked to use new things.  Many seasons have passed, and they are in their nineties.  My sister and I were cleaning old things out of their home.  We ran across this television set.  As experienced granddaughters, we snuck it out the house to the trash pile.  The next thing we knew, he returns from outside carrying the television with an incredulous look on his face ? ?But, girls, it still works!? he said with his British-West Indian accent. 


2008 A New Navigation System


Daddy Carl, who was taught to use a car by my grandmother, is facing the possibility of driving to a hospital in Baltimore to tend to Mama.  So, he brought a navigation system. Finally, he was frustrated about the difficulty he had been having in using it, true to form, he said, ?I should have built it myself!?  Later, true to form, Mama pulled me close to her and asked, ?Baby, has he figured out how to use it yet?? 


Over thirty years after my launch from high school, and through my journey through the solar system of college, life, and now, a CIO, I?m amazed that I have come to a learning moment that is intersected by my grandparents and Voyager.


Linda Y. Cureton


3 thoughts on “The Application of Technology: But Girls,It Still Works!”

  1. Isn’t it amazing that some of the technology from 30, 40, and even 50 years ago still perform and operate today. While new instraments, or equipment built today can’t even last two years. Reason? 30 years ago or longer, devices were put together with careful hands. Today robotics and mass production, usually leads to premature failure..

  2. It’s called planned obsolescence. Manufacturers realized that having made something that lasts for 30 years, eventually, the market for their item would fizzle and their money train would come to a grinding halt. To ensure consumers always need to replace the things they sell, they design it to fail. You can see this at work in the car industry and any technology device. Almost to the day your snazzy warranties start to wear out, so does the car. Computers are extreme examples of this also. Yes, technology is advancing through leaps and bounds, but it isn’t just that. I purchased a computer for my husband a few years ago. Less than 2 months after, we went to buy the same one for me also only to discover the computer was now obsolute and no longer made. So yes, our grandparents had a 30-year old TV and we sat around it and watched our favorite trek episodes, even when the vertical hold let loose without warning every now and again. It was a time of rabbit ears and tin-foil ribbons being slid up and down the antenna to get the reception ‘just so’.

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