Hank stood up and switched off the new color set, which has been working perfectly since the repairman replaced that valve. He wondered how he ever got on with black and white. He stepped into the hallway just as Rita was putting the phone receiver back in its cradle. The AT&T man had only just installed it last week. Bright, shiny white plastic, replacing the old black Bakelite. Rita had bought a new mahogany telephone table with a built-in seat so she could make her calls in comfort.
“I’m off for my evening shift at the data center,” said Hank, kissing his wife on the cheek. As he walked through the door, he could hear the rapid click, click, click, click, click, … of Rita dialing her mother.
He stopped off at the gas station along the way. He was getting a little short of cash so he only asked for two gallons. At least it was payday tomorrow. Flicking the attendant a dollar bill, he bought a soda with the change.
Arriving at work, he entered the clean-air room, admiring the dozens of bright metal cabinets of the IBM. He could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the printer, running out the end of day accounts and the buzz and the whirring of the tape decks. He took a minute to check out the newly installed 16 kbit memory module, flashing away in its twin cabinets to indicate it was ticking over happily.
“32 kbits of memory,” he thought to himself, “that should get things moving.” He opened one of the cabinet doors, as if to count the gold pins wrapped in silvery threads of wiring. Satisfied, he closed it, a great smile of wonder on his face at how far computer technology had moved along in the past few years. They had even installed a device that that could translate computer code into audible tones for sending over the telephone line. He could hear it working right now and looked over to see the receiver cradled in its muffled acoustic coupler, sending data at hundreds of bits per minute to their other data center in Atlanta. There was even talk of renting dedicated lines to connect all three data centers, creating a kind of private computer network. It was all very exciting.