Tuesday, 2016 May 31, 13:12 — bitterness, technology

hilarious title

On a private mailing list, a novelist asks for suggestions: what technological hobbies might a bright teenager have, in Oakland circa 1975? Chemistry sets were mentioned, among other things.

I may have had a chemistry set at age 8 or so; memory is spotty. A few years later we got an electronics kit, consisting of a collection of elements in Lego-like blocks. There was a booklet, starting with easy things like a light switch and an electromagnetic telegraph relay. (Maybe I thought the latter was easy because Dad and I had made one, about the same time as the possible chem kit).

Then on the next page was an oscillator or something. No explanation of why it was an oscillator. I thought, well, if I can’t see for myself why it’s an oscillator, evidently I’m not cut out for this stuff; so I quietly abandoned it.

My adolescence in a nutshell.

Of course it never occurred to me that perhaps there was no explanation because I was not expected to understand an explanation; I was expected to treat the oscillator as a black box. (Not that I had the concept of “black box”, either!)

Oh well.

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