News 8 Throwback: San Diego on the cutting edge of technology in - The CW San Diego - News 8

News 8 Throwback: San Diego on the cutting edge of technology in the 1970s, ‘80s, & ‘90s

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — To say that technology has changed a lot in the past several decades would be an understatement. While most of us are now reliant on smart phones in our pockets, computers in every room of the house and numerous other gadgets, technology wasn’t always so accessible – or small.  

Searching through our News 8 archives – without the help of CTRL + F – we found several clips that showcase the burgeoning technology of the time.  

As people have since traded “video window” for FaceTime and payphones for pocket phones, it’s amazing to see the progress over the past 40-plus years.  

In 1975, News 8's Cathy Clark reported on a unique project, which allowed students from two San Diego junior high schools to communicate via telephone and live television. "Video Window" was the brainchild of both Taft and Memorial Junior high schools' principals. It utilized a $32,000 microwave setup to send sound and images between the two schools. While kids today are well-accustomed to video chat, kids 44 years ago were just getting used to their new "toy." They loved using it and getting to know one another. "That's what we want, to create greater friendships," one educator said of the project. 

 In 1978, News 8 reporter Doug McAllister visited a San Diego man to learn about personal home computers. The model showcased consisted of a micro-computer under a keyboard, a viewer and a cassette player - with the entire unit only being one of about a half a dozen on the market, according to Doug. 15 years before, the computer alone would have cost $1-million and taken up an entire room. Tape cassettes for the computer came with stock market data, recipe conversations and games. The program manual for the system was written by Dr. David Lean - the dean of vocational education at Grossmont College. Dr. Lean told Doug he believed we were on the edge of a Industrial Revolution. Wonder what he thinks about the advances in computer technology 40+ years later!  

News 8's Jim Gordon took a look at advances to home television and video systems in early 1979. While home TVs were commonplace by the late 70s, Jim's report focused on the Video Tape Recorder or VTR - 400,000 of which he said were sold in 1978.  There were two VTR formats to choose from including Sony's Beta tapes and the VHS - the larger four-hour cassette. Jim also showcased a "sophisticated microprocessor" by Magnovox that took game cassettes. He even tried his hand at playing a basketball "video game."  

This News 8 report from 1980 looks at the prominence of pay phones around San Diego. Jim Gordon reported that the county had about 11,500 coin-operated phones as of that time with 1,000 more coming on line each year. Jim also found some unique pay phone locations around town at antique stores, restaurants like Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Victoria Station, and the Half Moon Inn. 

In the summer of 1997, News 8 experiences its own technological progress and launched its first website. "We're so close to the cutting edge it's scary," said reporter Bob Hansen of the news site. Using a cable modem and the resources of the news room, the site was intended to "translate the city's number one station into a cyberspace adventure." Much like now, the News 8 website included news of the day, weather, sports and aimed to keep it local. And if you bookmarked us in 1997, the website address we used back then, KFMBTV8.com, still works! 

 Click here to see more News 8 Throwback videos.

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