What is the best way to save old pictures, old files? I have a one terabyte SATA HD, hundreds of thousands of files and digital images. Probably doomed in a few more years. Remember the Iomega Zips, the Bernoulli Box, the Laser disc, the floppies? All gone. I woke up from a nightmare last week — the world had moved on to new storage media overnight. All my writing, my photos, my memories were gone.
When we are gone, only the stories about us will be left. It is important for those stories to be told again and again. Otherwise all that we knew and all that we ever were, will fade away.
So it’s time to tell another story about my Dad.
It was the 1960s. Remember that.
His father gave him an old car, before he got married. A 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. My Dad said the design really dated back to the early 1940s. Because General Motors produced tanks and not cars during the war years, they sold pre-war cars in the post-war years.
I flew many bombing missions over Germany in that Chevrolet. The windshield looked exactly like a B-17 bomber’s windshield.
There was no internet, no big bookstores in Manila, few toys. I had only Twelve O’clock High, my beloved childhood TV series. When it rained, the big spattering raindrops on the windshield was murderous Messerschmitt machine gun fire. Flak rocked my Flying Fortress as we hit potholes on Aurora Boulevard.
My Dad and I were driving home from Cubao. I still remember exactly where we were, a few hundred meters from home.
The engine stopped.
We were surrounded by grass fields. I held the flashlight, and he lifted the hood. The engine bay of that old Chevy was HUGE. It was like diving down into the engine room of a ship, with the motor way down there.
The fuel line was blocked. Imagine that. In a couple of hours, in the dark, on the road, Dad had eliminated the breaker points, plugs, carburetor and fuel filter as causes.
He disconnected the fuel line and ran a long wire into the tiny pipe to push out whatever was blocking it. I was getting tired and sleepy.
He needed me to hold the flashlight. So he told stories, to keep me awake. While he worked with greasy tools on a tiny fuel line.
I remember exactly what he said.
In the future, Tonet, every home will have a computer. Some families will have more than one.
The computer will be an extension of the human mind just as the car is an extension of the human foot. It will be unthinkable for a family not to have one.
Ten years or so later, my Dad passed. I was in the UP College of Engineering, using the IBM 360 on time-share. The whole university was using that room-sized computer. Three years later, the first Altair, Tandy and Apple II computers came out. IBM quickly followed with the “PC” – the Personal Computer.
Suddenly, it was true – one man, one computer. Dad was right.
Today, my BlackBerry has more computing power than the IBM 360. Geez, even the remote of our LCD TV may have more computing power than the IBM 360.
Posted from Bangkok, September 2, 2012
He would have been 86 today.