Posted in Freedom Friday

Technology Love

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I mean, I enjoy playing with new toys and all, but the effort to get them to work exactly how I want them to work kills my love for them. Especially when I find they’ve suddenly become obsolete. Here’s a brief narrative of my experience with technology as part of my Freedom Friday series.

Hogan's Heroes (Photo Credit CBS)
Hogan’s Heroes (Photo Credit CBS)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Whoops, wrong narrative. Let’s try this again.

Back in the Eighties. Gosh, that does sound like a galaxy far, far away. Anyway, back in the Eighties, I became a lover of the VHS tape recorder. I’d get excited knowing I could tape my favorite program and watch it over and over again. And over and over. I can’t forget how many times I watched a certain episode of Hogan’s Heroes. Why? Well, because I could, of course. I treasured that tape. Looked after it. Coddled it. Then again, I was a geekboy with very little friends. Not really, but you get my point.

Then I discovered I can actually record programs without my being home. I couldn’t believe the instruction manual. All I had to do was program the timer on the display and I can enjoy an evening out playing mini golf with friends while the VCR taped an episode of David Hasselhoff’s Knight Rider. Yeah, yeah. Laugh. I liked the show. What can I say?

David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider (AP Photo/NBC)
David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider (AP Photo/NBC)

That evening the mini golf was a bust. It had rained. I then thought, well, at least the evening wasn’t a total loss. I still had my Knight Rider. I eased in the comfort of my couch, flicked the remote, dimmed the lights, and greeting me was a documentary of the lifespan of a wasp. Fascinating. Where’s my show? Maybe I forgot to click on the TV/VCR switch. Am I getting PBS? Nope. I can see the timer on the display going forward. Second by second. Where’s my show!

It wasn’t the first time I had missed what I wanted to watch because of something that went wrong on the device. It wasn’t only me either. My dad would sometimes forget to change the timer from A.M. to P.M. He’d get lovely shows like three-hour marathons of Korean infomercials spanning the length of the tape. Livid? It isn’t the word I’d use to describe the nuclear meltdowns the VCR would initiate in our household. Oh, and let’s not ignore the chewed-up, mangled tapes the little sucker would spit out those wonderful days whenever the tracking heads were dirty. You might as well have placed crime scene tape at the entrance of our home.

No matter how bad those memories sound, I haven’t described the worst of the worst. If anything stuck in my mind as the epitome of time-recording nonsense in the VCR age, I would have to say it was Daylight Savings Time. All I wanted to do was record my program after 12:00 A.M.. Nothing complicated. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Huh, did I have a lot to learn. It wasn’t until later years that I learned the phrase “spring forward, fall back.” Before then, I was at the mercy of the programming lords of the universe.

For instance in Canada, DST doesn’t kick in until 2:00 A.M. I chuckle knowing the pain this caused. Every Spring and Autumn I was all over that timer. I was always an hour either late or early. Could never figure it out. Of course because it was late at night the programs recorded were less than appropriate for family consumption. The next day, I’d find things on my tape like catching the start of Buxom Bikini Babes from Biloxi staring at me. Believe me, not fun when your mom’s in the same room waiting for a classic movie.

Good golly, thank goodness we now have the internet where we can stream anything we want whenever we want. I don’t know how I survived the early days.


Do you have a technology mishap you’d like to share? Any other memorable moments?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

16 thoughts on “Technology Love

  1. I used to tape my favorite soap opera and had just enough room for a week’s worth of episodes… Unless my brother taped some superhero thing in the middle. Then Friday’s episode would be cut off just in time for the cliffhanger!!! Ugh! Running out of tape was the WORST!! These kids today have it so easy with their fancy DVRs and “on demand” watching!

  2. My life is one big technology mishap. *nods*

    Why, only this week both my laptop AND my Kindle perished. The former for reasons that escape me, the latter because my son was climbing on the bed and put his knee into the screen. I have loved having Kindles, but books ARE more

  3. When I look back, I don’t remember frustration like that, I think we worked and lived within our limitations. The one thing I am particularly grateful for is the mobile phone! Not that I really want to be in touch with work 24/7 🙂

  4. I feel your frustration. We had about the same or the tape would break and there would be unravelled tape everywhere not good.

  5. We had an aerial antenna on the right outside my parent’s window upstairs. Many nights watching TV were spent turning the antenna until there was some sort of image on the TV. This was always more exciting during rain.
    I grew up with many random movies and shows recorded off of TV. I now associate Wizard of Oz with an old M&M commercial – that’s the magic you lose with DVR. It’s fun to see these commercials 10 years later.

    1. Funny, I associate Rocky II with an old Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial I have on tape along with some late night news updates. Weird seeing those years later remembering how simple life was back then.

  6. Remember those machines strictly for rewinding VHS tapes? And rentals with a sticker on them pleading, “Be Kind, Please Rewind”?

    It’s crazy to think that VHS tapes/players will be ancient relics to my kids. I can hear the questions now.
    “But mom, where are the bonus features?”
    “What did you DO without scene selection!?”
    “There was no director’s commentary?!”
    “You mean you had to watch shows when they were actually on TV??”

    Yes, kids. Yes. Times were tough.

    1. Ha, I had one of those machines. It stood next to the VCR, so when I was done with the movie I could have easily rewound it while I watched something else.

      “You mean you couldn’t pause your video without tracking lines?”
      “No Easter eggs?”
      “Sounds like you grew up in the stone age.”

  7. I’m so used to my pvr these days that I don’t even want to think how I’d cope if we had to return to the days of the VCR. It wouldn’t be pretty, that’s for sure!

  8. Really interesting post! Easy to relate to and quite thought provoking! 😀 I had the exact same trouble happen to me back in the days of the VCR, before the blessed internet and Amazon, et al. Although this happened often, the biggest tragedy that stands out in my mind is the music program Live at the Chapel. Each episode was aired twice, and a couple of them I initially missed, and when the re-runs were aired I was ecstatic – also not so much since they were run in the dead of night. One band I was really into at the time (it’s embarrassing to think about now, hence not mentioning their name); I went to record their show, and I incidentally recorded the wrong station – two hours of an ancient Japaneses action feature. I was, well, I was beyond anything that words could possibly describe. I eventually managed to get over it. Lots of therapy though (might be joking about the therapy).
    Additionally, another problem I used to suffer from involved my aerial. Whenever there was a bad storm during one of my programs, the blasted thing would fail to pick up a proper connection and my picture would drop out, turn to snow and do everything but properly broadcast. Might be one of the reasons why I swore off TV. Funny thing (not so much actually), my neighbor at the time, purchased one of the cheapest kinds of aerials you could possibly imagine – never had a bad signal in his life! Really hated that guy!
    I could keep writing in this comment box, but, no, I think I’ll go find a solution to my technology problems in the bottom of a bottle. Cheers!

    1. My dad had one of those aerials, I could never figure out how to use the thing. At times the picture came in perfect, other times, I needed a coat hanger to extend it’s range. Sad really what we had to put up with in the Eighties.

      And nothing wrong with long comments!

  9. I live “off concrete” so our internet connection is cellular. Lately, our provider either has been having serious problems or someone on my cell tower got a new internet account and is downloading movies all day. If I get up early, I can still get online. Geez, I didn’t realize I was so addicted. : /

    1. I think it’s time to call your provider asking them to run a full diagnostic on your line. Sounds like what you described might be true. Unfortunately, everyone in the neighborhood suffers because of their selfishness. I’m surprised your provider doesn’t have bandwidth throttling in place. That would surely cut the big downloaders to a small size.

  10. We had the same kind of frustration with our vcr too! Not sure I can agree with the Hogan’s Heros, I wasn’t a fan back then. Perhaps I was too young to get the jokes : ) I think I may have to see if I can find an espisode and watch it now to see if it’s funny now. But Kit was a cool car.

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