1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009, 2019

Christmas holidays and I realized that time passes by. Everyone else is getting older and older, while I stay young and alert. The year 1969 is soon 50 years ago. 1969 is not my year of birth, but a picture caught my eye and triggered me to make a short decade-jumping journey from 1969 to 2019.

As usual, some of these pictures might be associated with a copyright or so. I have done my best (?) to note the source of the picture to the best of my (google’s) knowledge.


While dry-browsing away a few hours in the morning in my cottage looking out over the Baltic Sea I came across this picture from the Woodstock festival. Obviously taken back in the days.

Information hub at the Woodstock festival, 1969.

The picture shows the communication method to and from the Woodstock festival area. Preliminary phone “boots” and desks for journalists, and others, to compose messages. Look at the guy in the foreground writing up a tweet. To the right some people working on their laptops and the guys standing behind, probably trying to help solving a software issue. By the phones, one lady is trying to get good 4G coverage. Or maybe not at all. In the background two guys chill out, or maybe they’re governmental agents. After all, this is during the Vietnam war.

Seeing the picture above, I still wonder how they pulled things off back in those days? How were you able to organize a 400.000-attendee rock concert? Without e-mail and web pages?

On the other hand, this picture is snapped pretty exactly 20 days after the first humans danced on the moon which turned out pretty well too.


During 1979 I was alive (yes, I had a home computer). During 1969 I was not even considered. In 1979 the famous Sony Walkman was released and was more or less an instant success. Close to 350 Million units were sold worldwide. The picture below, though, is from 1980 (April). I borrowed the picture from this blog (Modern Mechanix): http://blog.modernmechanix.com/whats-new-in-electronics-sony-walkman/ and the picture is URL-referred to its source. It is not hard to see the connection between the 1979 Sony Walkman and the iPods of the 2010s. A new way, not just physically, to listen to music was offered. Also check the elegant TV set with the not-so-elegant VCR on top. Design was not the key thing here. Why wasn’t the VCR integrated with the rest of the furniture.

In 1979, the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes reached Jupiter.


1989 is an important date as it sort of marks the end of the cold war. If one wants to, one could also argue that it is the end of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. But that’s just my playman observation. The more time that passes, it is hard to see the two great wars on European soil in the 20th century to be two separate conflicts. Nevertheless, in 1989 Voyager 2 reached Neptune.

In 1989 the Game Boy was released and rocketed into most children’s hands. (Well, they sold approximately 120 million units and I guess there are more children in the world, but anyway…) So, it was shown that small, handheld electronical devices were sort of popular. Especially when they also could offer games. Sounds almost like it would make sense to merge games (1989), communication units (1969), and music (1979) into one single unit… hmm? The picture (which is from 1990) below is found on several places on the internet.


Wikipedia compiles 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Year_of_Older_Persons) and that sets the pace of what happened that year. Voyager 1 becomes in 1999 the human-made object that has reached farthest away from Earth. Bill Gates becomes the richest person on Earth indicating that one can make money on computers.

In February 1999, the Japanese company NTT Docomo offered their customers i-Mode, i.e., the first commercially availabe mobile internet. Within a year’s time they had 20 Million subscribers using i-Mode for e-mail, surf, etc. Obviously, a starting point for the wireless internet. Back in Sweden we had to fiddle around with WAP on Ericsson R380s (which, by the way, was a pretty cool phone back then, I’ve kept mine…) and similar phones. Who remembers the Nokia Communicator?

Godzilla 2000 : Milennium. From IMDB. Wireless Internet – here we come!


2009 is only 10 years ago, sounds like yesterday. Could anything have happened since then? In such a short period of time?

Voyager 2 passes the heliosheath, the solar bubble, and sort of leaves our solar system. In Christmas time 2009, the LTE communication standard is commercially launched in Sweden and decent data rates can now be obtained. The standard enables the arrival of smarter phones that can be used to eat up all the bandwidth you didn’t know you needed.

The HTC Dream, the first phone with the android operating system, was launched in late 2008 and was globally available in 2009. I guess, back then more important, was the release of the iPhone 3GS in Q3 2008 reaching large volumes in 2009. Somehow we had released all those functions from above: games, surf, communication, Yo!-apps, etc.

Apple 3GS commercial from CNN business. https://money.cnn.com/gallery/technology/2015/05/14/history-of-apple-com/22.html


2019 hasn’t happened yet (as far as I know). What is promised, however, is that 5G will be launched. 5G will be commercially available for customers in South Korea. In fact, it is already available since December 1, 2018. But the large impact will happen next year. Higher data rates and more apps that will eat up that budget, etc. Self-driving cars, smart homes, wireless sensor networks, energy harvesting, etc. Loads of buzz words. It will be interesting to see.

The Voyager 2 probe has now completely left our solar system and entered interstellar space. In another 40000 years it will have left the Oort cloud. Interestingly, we still receive daily messages from them. From some 20 billion kms away….

And thinking about it – where will we be 2069? What will happen 2029? 2039? 2049? 2059?


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