I told a friend the other day about being in a thrift store recently, overhearing two boys of around 14 discussing an 8mm cine projector that was on the shelf.
“So how do you record on it?” one said to the other, who had no answer.
Of course, 8mm projectors didn’t work like that.
You “recorded” by shooting a reel of film, then sent it away for processing.
No way was I making fun of them, though.
Actually I was over the moon to eavesdrop on a conversation founded on pure curiosity.
A couple of young men growing up in Silicon Valley, with a hunger to learn about any technology, even one that went out of fashion years before they were born.
I write often about this kind of appetite with good reason, because learning something new can be a dependable way to build happiness.
But there’s a twist in this tale of tired technology.
You see, yesterday I was back in the same thrift store, mooching through the electrical equipment, only to spot that very same projector.
(It hadn’t exactly flown off the shelf.)
Here’s the thing, though.
When I examined it, er, it did actually have a panel labelled Record, and exploring it further, I discovered that there clearly used to be a type of 8mm film which came with a magnetic strip alongside the movie frames, allowing you to add your own soundtrack, albeit after you’d filmed your epic production.
Serves me right for chuckling at the two boys in the first place with my ha-ha-I-was-there kind of assumption.
However, I genuinely got a real kick out of finding out I was wrong.
For me, it was an amusing demonstration of the way we all (come on, it’s not just me) make assumptions that are sometimes wrong.
And it was a first-hand experience of the fun of learning something new.
See if you can find opportunities to do either of these today.
Catch yourself jumping to erroneous conclusions.
Discover something you didn’t know before.
Even better if both come in the same package.