Inventions Wanted 001 – The Memory Bank

    In our age of technology new inventions flood the market daily, but the pace still isn’t fast enough for me. I can always think of new things I wished I owned or services that I wished existed. Here’s an example. I’d like an internet company where people could register photos by date and location, for sharing. I’m obsessed with memory, probably because I have such a bad one, and it would be great to go to such a photo database and ask if there are any photos of Maine Avenue, at Homestead Air Force Base, in Homestead, Florida from 1961-63? Or Air Base Elementary from the same time and place.

    If I had known how bad my memory would become when I got older, I would have taken one photo a day when I was a kid to document all the places where I lived and grew up. I lived in a lot of places and met a lot of people and I’d really, really love to see them now. Are there enough people who think like to me to start such a business?

    Imagine being able to input an address and get a list of photos taken near that address over a range of years. Or enter a person’s name and the name of a school and location and get a screen of thumbnails to click on. Even more fantastic is if such a photo database could be combined with a Virtual Reality viewer and I could walk from my old home to my old school via a series of stitched together images wearing VR glasses and then see a collection of mug shots of my fifth and sixth grade classmates. Cooler yet, would be the ability to click on a face and then see a series of photos showing that person growing old.

    Of course, back in the 1960s people didn’t take photos like they do now. There’s a chance that nobody took a photo of Maine Avenue back then, or even inside the classrooms at Air Base Elementary. My family tended to take pictures on special occasions, usually at Christmas.

    My parents would have me and my sister Becky walk outside where the light was good and snap a single shot of us in our new Easter outfits and then not finish the roll for three years. What I’d love to see now is pictures of houses, cars, streets, school rooms, stores, and all those places we hung out in daily or pictures of people not in my family that we used to know.

    Using the same system, users could register film and video clips, sound recordings and any other clues about the past. I even have a name for this hypothetical company: The Memory Bank.

    By the way, I tried to go back to Maine Avenue a few years ago. My old neighborhood was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew and bulldozed away. All that’s left is a vast close cropped field patterned with flat black streets that I imagined looked like a printed circuit board from the sky. Like a dummy, I didn’t take a picture that day. I wished I had.


2 thoughts on “Inventions Wanted 001 – The Memory Bank”

  1. I have over 3,000 vinyl LP records which I have no intention of thinning out, as I still love the look and feel of those big, easily readable album covers with awesome artwork and inbteresting liner notes. In fact, I still purchase some LPs for the same reason, when they are available. I bought Dylan’s first six LPs on vinyl a couple of years ago, because nothing can duplicate the feel of opening a record album for the first time! I also recently found some Last Poets albums online (also brand new). I also have an ever-growing collection of CDs now (probably 200-300), and around 200 cassette tapes that I want to burn to CD one of these days. Oh, yeah – I recently got rid of my non-functioning jukebox, so I can now look forward to finding time to burn around 150 45 RPM records to CD! I suppose it’s just nostalgia, but I don’t really listen to music as ambient sound, preferring the aural company of NPR shows and/or podcasts these days as background when working, driving or riding my bike. To me, digitizing my music is not a priority whatsoever, because the joy of listening – REALLY LISTENING – to music is still reserved for those moments when I am sitting down in front of my turntable, CD or cassette player and totally absorbed in what I am hearing. Oh, I will occasionally crank up an old record or new CD as background music in my house or car, but that is becoming a rare moment, usually reserved for when I am alone and can REALLY crank it up – just like in the old days!

  2. Lee, I don’t blame you – you are a lover of vinyl! I’m giving my LPs to a LP/78 collector so they will have a good home. I know lots of people like collecting. I’ll miss the big covers, but I won’t miss playing records. I’ve gotten so lazy about playing music that even finding a CD and putting it on the player is too much work. Digital has spoiled my lazy ass.

    I do like to listen to music when I program. It seems to inspire my neurons, but I mostly prefer to listen and do nothing. I used to have friends that came over and we’d just listen to music with the same attention people use watch a movie in a theater, but that doesn’t happen anymore.

    I like kicking back in my La-Z-Boy and listening to music – it stimulates me like a drug. Music awakens memories and emotions that are normally supressed during normal consciousness. I love music, and getting rid of the physical media that music was stored on doesn’t mean I giving up my passion.


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