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Ts: Guelph Family Lives Like It's 1986


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Guelph family lives like it's 1986

 

GUELPH - If you ever need to know who was the prime minister in 1960 and you’re willing to wait 10 minutes for the answer, Blair McMillan is your man.

 

He’ll take his time carefully thumbing through a volume of his vintage encyclopaedia set, donated by a bewildered soul who probably wondered why the 26-year-old father of two couldn’t just get an Internet connection.

 

The thing is, Blair and his girlfriend Morgan, 27, are pretending it’s 1986.

 

And they’re doing it because their kids – Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 – wouldn’t look up from their parents’ iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around the backyard.

 

That’s why their house has banned any technology post-1986, the year the couple was born.

 

No computers, no tablets, no smart phones, no fancy coffee machines, no Internet, no cable, and – from the point of view of many tech-dependent folks – no life.

 

“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair said.

 

They do their banking in person instead of online. They develop rolls of film for $20 each instead of Instagramming their sons’ antics.

 

They recently traveled across the United States using paper maps and entertaining their screaming kids with colouring books and stickers, passing car after car with TVs embedded in the headrests and content infants seated in the back.

 

The plan is to continue living like it’s 1986 until April 2014. The only exception to their downgraded lifestyle is their car, which remains a 2010 Kia minus a GPS.

 

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i don't see how they're doing the kids any favors.

technology is here. it expands their horizons. if their noses are buried too deeply in it, then pull their noses out. Depriving them of the advantage technology can bring is pointless.

I'd love to see the reaction of their teachers when they get a report written from a 25 year old encyclopedia.

 

~Bang

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My step-brother is a major league geek..  total computer guy from the get go. 

the first internet i recall was his phone hookup, which was this shoeshine box sized thing that he had to put the phone on after dialing into the connection. It was maybe 1985-86. He would tell us it was hooked up, and it took more than half a day for him to download an ascii image of a paper that he could then print.
 

He never went to school, always messing with his Amiga. 

When he was about 19 he was headhunted by Microsoft, and he is one of the original development team of Access.

He's worth a few million now. Living alright.

 

~Bang

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i don't see how they're doing the kids any favors.

technology is here. it expands their horizons. if their noses are buried too deeply in it, then pull their noses out. Depriving them of the advantage technology can bring is pointless.

I'd love to see the reaction of their teachers when they get a report written from a 25 year old encyclopedia.

 

~Bang

I agree it is extreme, but there are some useful skills. Even writing a paper, the act of going through an encyclopedia or other published sources versus online sources, I feel, brings a different level to research. I was on the cusp of the information age in college and there was a lot of sifting through books because you didn't know where the piece of information you're looking for was. But in the process one could find, serendipitously, other info that could be useful for that paper or others. 

 

Internet searches just serve up specifically what you're looking for and the veracity can be very questionable. But in the modern age, that's a different skill altogether—have to identify valid sources from bad hits. 

 

They talk about reading a map as an archaic skill. In the age of GPS you won't need it much, but when you do need it it's a good skill. 

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I could see doing that for a weekend, or for a 3-day camping vacation.  Something like that.  Keep a mobile phone in your car and secretly check it twice a day to make sure there are no emergencies with friends or family.

 

But for a year?  Yeah, not so much.

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I can't even remember how I survived before cell phones. Did I really leave the house without a high-speed connection to every person I've ever known? It seems preposterous.

 

What did I do when I was at the grocery store and didn't know if I was supposed to get yellow mustard or dijon? Guess? Buy both? It must have been utter chaos.

 

I vaguely remember pushing 10-10-321 on a silver and black box. I think that was my first DVD player?

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That was funny, mistertim!  I remember my husband flipping out years ago about his internet being down & his daughter needed to write a paper, blah, blah...I said, "Ever heard of a library?  Yes, it means you're gonna have to put pants on & drive her over there...does she know anything about the card catalog?  Can she even find a book?"  He laughed it all off a the time, but I meant it as a serious challenge.  Part of research is knowing how to research.

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