10-4, Good Buddy!
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
October 4 was “10-4” or National CB Radio Day. What is a CB (Citizens Band) radio? It’s a mobile radio system that lets people communicate across relatively short distances and for me, it was my “Internet” back in 1974 and for several years beyond. (See the photo of young Jack above.)
Technology marches on and I started thinking back on all of the innovations and devices that pushed the envelope of technology. They brought the world closer together, made doing business easier and more efficient, and they helped us get information faster.
When I started working, my boss gave me a beeper. Recently, I was telling my daughter about it and she laughed almost thinking I was making it up. With a beeper, a person looking for you would call a number that made your device beep and then you would call into the office. Back in the day, doctors had them and so did pinball mechanics. I looked so important.
A newer version I got required the person looking for you to call an answering service and tell the operator to “page unit c-909” or whatever your number was. I would then call the answering service and the operator would give me the message. Of course, that was only once I found a working payphone.
An even later version had the caller dial a number and speak the message which was immediately broadcast on the pager so the recipient could hear it. Sometimes there was no need to call in so that feature was a big step forward. Once I was shopping and my wife asked me to get olive oil. A lady in the store aisle near me looked at me as if I was a spaceman from another planet. (She told me that she’d have to get one of those for her husband!)
In 1980, I had a mobile phone in my car. It was a huge box mounted in the trunk of my car with wires to a handset in the front and an antenna mounted on the rear car deck. I would pick up the handset and sometimes wait a half hour for a dial tone. At that time in New York City, only 24 mobile phone calls could take place at the same time. I was among the titans of industry, politicians and a few well-connected radio enthusiasts!
I had various models of mobile and eventually “cell” phones through the years. In 1991, my Mitsubishi 99x was a big breakthrough. That was eventually followed by a different version, BlackBerry devices and the wonder of iPhone. Not that they are worth anything to anyone except me, I pretty much have every beeper, pager, cell phone and CB radio that I’ve ever owned! (See the photo lower left.)
Just think of how many typewriters, calculators, digital watches, fax machines, computers, laptops, hard drives, thumb drives, Kindles and iPads we all went through. But surprisingly, some of us never adopted a smartphone or dealt with social media platforms and apps. Even so, technology continues to march on. From generation to generation, innovations and inventions continue to change the world we live in.
As I write this on Oct. 5, the day after National CB Radio Day, I’m reflecting on how it’s already been 10 years since we lost Steve Jobs. He definitely put a ding in the universe and set a standard for dreaming dreams, inventing the future, innovating and inventing. So, do your part and see what’s new at IAAPA and help push our future forward.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.