Sooner or later this must be said, if only to remind our successors (e.g., children) how truly difficult we had it: it was an analog world in 1971.

In our time:

1) Cameras required film and needed to be focussed by hand. Automatic exposure control was a big deal in 1971 and not all cameras had it. Those that didn't had to have their shutter speeds and apertures set by hand, sometimes by guess if our (expensive) light meter was broken or we had lost it. Zoom lenses were heavy and lousy so cannon-like fixed-focal length telephoto lenses were what all the cool kids used.

2) The incremental cost of each picture we took was not zero! In today's terms, each shot probably cost between 75 cents and a dollar for the film, processing, and postage. We took pictures of things that "mattered" and, sadly, took too few pictures of each other.

3) Because processing was required, a trade-off determination was required at the end of each roll: a) send it home immediately and trust that the mail system would work, or b) carry the exposed film through a few more countries and hope that you didn't lose it and that it wouldn't get ruined by an X-ray machine. Some in our group had exposed film stolen. We generally didn't mail film home in India.

4) Digital audio: what's that? Real men used half-inch reel-to-reel analog tape (I recall that Jeff lugged a new big reel-to-reel tape deck home from Japan). For convenience there were cassettes (analog again), of which some of us tried to convince ourselves were close to audiophile quality. Light little headphones or ear buds? Didn't exist. CDs? Didn't exist. We bought vinyl records. We worked for our music. And we didn't listen to it on airplanes.

5) Computers? They were room-sized, required constant tending by priests and acolytes (who processed our "batch" jobs), and only communicated through punch cards and "printouts." (I could go on and on with this one. Remember the Wang?) No, every one of us (well, maybe not the Narum boys) learned how to use slide rules in high school and few of us, maybe none, had a calculator in college. (And if we did it was probably the 4-function kind.) The world-changing HP-35 "scientific" calculator came out 5 days after we returned home and, in today's dollars, cost three or four times what a good laptop costs today. Oh, and "laptops"? Forget it. Our journals were composed with pen and paper.

6) Internet? Cell phones? (Indeed, personal phones of any kind.) Science fiction in 1971.

7) International phone service was extremely difficult. I recall that one of our group managed to call home from India. The process was expensive and very time consuming (Step #1: find a telephone) and needed to be arranged in advance. Needless to say, digital switching was years away so the signal from the U.S. to India was analog all of the way.

8) Wristwatches were analog and not very accurate. The very expensive Accutron (which somehow used a tuning fork) advertised its accuracy at a minute a month! Many of us bought some awfully nice watches in Hong Kong but they were all analog. One of the big selling points for a watch in 1971 - and this is painful to admit today - was that it was self-winding.

It's amazing we survived at all.