Proof That Old, Outdated, Technologically Inept Things Can Still Be Totally Awesome



The iPhone 5S has a 64bit architecture, making it faster than many computers from just a few years back.  Google Glass will put a tiny, location based  computer right in front of our eyes.  Toys can fly, record video, see in the dark and respond to voice commands.  We live in a time of incredibly fast advancing technology.  Quick, where is your old flip phone from  8 years ago?  Yep, sitting in a box collecting dust.  All of which makes it even more incredible that a “gadget” with .000004 times the memory of the cheapest iPhone and an 8 track tape recorder for data collection, just did something that has never been done before!

Safe Journeys Voyager 1, You Are The Coolest Old Technology Ever

Amazingly, the Voyager 1 spaceship has just left our solar system.  This makes Voyager 1 the first spaceship to leave our solar system and continue to parts unknown.  The young folks out there may not be familiar with Voyager 1 as it was launched in 1977.  Yes, 1977, the year Star Wars was released and when the value of the entire S&P 500 was about $623 Billion.  In 2012, Apple was worth $651 Billion alone.  This is exactly why I find this story so refreshing – old technology does good!

11.7 Billion Miles From Earth and Still Sending Back Data

Voyager 1 was designed to go on a 4 year mission to Saturn, and here it is 36 years later still going strong.  We live in a world where we tend to expect instantaneous results and immediate feedback.  If a project can’t show results in the first 6 months, something must be wrong.  At best we talk about a 5 year plan.  However, what the Voyager 1 shows us is that when it comes to space, we need to take the long view.

Hey Red Bull Chugging Coders, Watch Out, Lawrence Zottarelli Is Coming Through

Coding when you have gigabytes to play with is easy, but what do you do if you have a 1977 spaceship that has mere bits of room for code on its 8 track recorder?  You call in 77 year-old, coding stud – Lawrence Zottarelli.  Mr. Zottarelli was able to upload new code to the 8 track players on the Voyager 1 that allowed it to record more data as it exited the solar system.  Score one for old time coders!

You Don’t Always Need Shiny New Technology To Accomplish Incredible Things

I love this story and think it is a great life lesson for the kids.  We live in an age where the focus is on constantly shrinking technology while greatly increasing the computing power.  This is fantastic on one level, but the flip side of ever expanding technology is that we make the mistake of thinking that “outdated” technology is useless.  We tend to rely too much on the tools and thinking that we need to keep producing a better mousetrap.  The Voyager 1 clearly shows that old, outdated technology can achieve new and groundbreaking things…you just need to give it some time.

More Information:

Read the Excellent NYT Piece on the Voyager 1

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