Back when I was a cub reporter, I managed to convince my editor to send me on a road trip to Jackson, Tenn. to cover SFU women’s basketball team competing at the NAIA national championships. It was a big deal for my paper (the Tri-City News), which rarely sent a reporter outside of the GVRD on assignment.
They made sure I was well equipped with the latest technology, a TRS 80 laptop by Radio Shack and a 300 baud dial-up modem that required a small suitcase to carry all the parts. I felt like a big shot because sending stories through the phone lines was something no other reporter in our company had ever done.
But being on the cutting edge of technology proved to be a headache. For starters, with the TRS 80 (also known as the Trash 80) you could only read eight lines at a time. It weighed four pounds and had a power unit that was just as heavy.
It took about 10 attempts to send each story, since the modem used acoustic couplers that you attached to the phone. As a result, I ended up with a $100 phone bill from the hotel I was staying at.
So why am I dredging up the past? I came across this video the other day that reminded me of just how far we’ve come. View this video of online journalism in 1981.