Top 10 Things That Modern Technology Has Recently Made Completely Obsolete

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The good ol’ days weren’t as simple as the Boomers make them out to be. In many ways, they more cumbersome, convoluted, and just a bigger pain than they are today.  There were no computers, calculators, TV remote, or cable, and enormous microwave ovens were only for restaurants and the rich.  There were no such things as industrial computers or Windows — just goofy and esoteric computer languages cobbled together by demons from Hell that disguised themselves to look like harmless nerdy programmers.  We’re onto you, Satan.

If you never experienced any of the above, you cannot imagine the improvement of today over yesterday. So much technology of yesteryear has been replaced by newer stuff that, quite frankly, blows the old crap out of the water. Apologies to aficionados of the past, but your time was up long ago.

10. Propeller-Driven/Piston Engine Airliners

propeller-plane

Jets, with their greater speed, cheaper fuel, and greater hauling capacity, have made the old gas burners relics of the past.  When the 707 entered service in 1957. it became the first successful jet models, and spawned a cornucopia of modern jets.  Even the New York Titans of the American Football League became the Jets we know of today. Thankfully, real jets aren’t nearly as awkward, self-destructive, and horrible at their jobs as the football Jets are.

9. Carbon Paper

carbon-paper

Anybody remember how much fun it was to try to accurately line up the original, carbon, and copy papers, and keep them straight in the typewriter at all times? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Carbon paper was also useful for mussing up your hands, hair, and anything else you did not want black gunk on. However, it was kind of useful as night camouflage for burglars and other denizens of the dark, so that’s one point for the past anyhow.

Modern copy machines, on the other hand, spit out cheap and virtually perfect copies with little muss or fuss. Today’s school kids will never know the wonderful smell of a freshly printed pop quiz, but somehow you won’t hear too many of them complain about it.

8. Liquid Paper/Wite Out

wite-out

The brainchild of the mother of Monkee Michael Nesmith, this stuff actually came in various colors to match various shades of paper.  The first blow to this office icon was the little paper correction tape that you placed over the typo and then typed over. Next up came the roll of sticky backed white tape that you would roll right over the words to be deleted and broken off.  Electric typewriters then came out with self-contained correction ribbons, so that you could make corrections right on the machine as you typed. When word processors and computers became common use, and typewriters became obsolete, so did Liquid Paper.

7. The Typewriter

typewriter

Originally, there were only manual typewriters, with no fancy electric jobs in sight.  When electric typewriters with self-correcting ribbons became common, they were a great relief to typists everywhere.  Then word processors reared their heads, and the typing was on the wall. Once PCs and Macs became readily available, for both business and home use, they officially sounded the death knell of the typewriter. Outside of Santa giving the ironic hipster in your family the stocking stuffer of a lifetime, there is simply no longer a need for typewritten anything.

6. Cursive Writing

Cursive

Despite still being necessary to properly sign a document, cursive writing is almost never taught in school anymore. It is considered obsolete, as more and more work gets done via email, the Internet, or Word Doc and printer. Kids are still taught to print by hand, for those rare times they need to jot something down, but the beautiful flowing script of scholars past (or in the case of doctors and celebrities, unintelligible scribble) is just about long gone. Future crime fighters are simply going to have to learn how to analyze text messages if they want to track down those elusive super-villains.

5. Snail Mail

snail-mail

Letters, brochures, coupons, birthday cards, and just about anything else that used to be sent by mail can now be sent cheaper and more reliably by email or other electronic means. Even if you want to give five bucks to your nephew on his birthday, you could always just Paypal it to him, and save the stamp. Pen pals? Please; if you want to communicate with someone overseas you email, use Facebook, comment on their blog, or Tweet at them. Maybe all those soon-to-be-unemployed postal employees could be put to work recycling unneeded typewriters, carbon paper, and Wite-Out.

4. Pay Phones

pay-phones

Other than the occasional one gathering dust on the corner of the local 7-11, payphones are well and truly history. Cell phones have taken the country by storm. Even first graders feel deprived if they don’t have one, and parents feel helplessly out of contact with their kids if everybody does not have a cell phone with them at all times.

When cell phones were first proposed, and the incredible number of cell towers necessary to make the system viable was stated, most never believed it would happen. Well, it happened, and now cell towers are just about the most common tree in the country. Superman’s just gonna have to change in the bathroom now, like everybody else.

3. Just About Every Way To Play Music, Ever

record-player

Vinyl, eight-track, cassettes, and even CDs: all are either dead or dying, replaced by downloading songs onto computers, flash drives, and hand-held devices. Now that we have the ability to legally download MP3s of songs from Amazon and iTunes, and put thousands of them on a flash drive to play in our car using voice-activated commands, listening to music any other way just seems passe. It truly makes one wonder what could possibly top it down the line.

2. Camera And Movie Film

camera-film

With digital cameras and movie recorders, the old super eight is headed for the super dump. Like with MP3s, the new stuff has completely obliterated anything that came before it. Recording via DVD and Blu-Ray are just so much more compact, easier, cheaper, and better, but even they have a shelf life. More and more, it seems recording via your computer or DVR is the wave of the future. And that’s fine by us.

1. VHS

VHS

The VHS played a major role in popularizing the video tape rental services of the ’80s and ’90s.  The introduction of the DVD in 1997, however, signaled the rapid decline of the VHS format.  More recently, the availability of On Demand and Netflix have further diminished the home video market.  Want an example? Blockbuster Video, at its peak, had over 9,000 stores.  Today, they’re down to 500, and by the time you’re done reading this sentence, three more have probably shut down for good. The convenience of renting movies through your computer, TV, or video game console is undeniable. Hey, if that means one less thing that gets buried under somebody’s bed, not to be found until Moving Day, then we are all for it.

By Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, author of Banned From The Internet


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15 Comments

  1. Regarding film for video cameras and especially music players, previous incarnations of these technologies are not obsolete.

    Many directors vastly prefer shooting on film to shooting digital. They get a different look, feel and effect.

    But far more prevellant is the record-buying crowd of audiophiles. MP3s have terrible sound quality and, while DVDs are better than CDs and CDs are better than casettes or 8-tracks, the real aural afficianado goes for the vinyl. If you have the cash, it does sound a lot better.

    • I second that. Many old recordings, especially classic rock from the 70’s, was engineered to sound best on vinyl or cassette. Undeniably, digital formats offer many advantages. Every playback sounds exactly the same as the last, copies are simple to make and move around, media players are tiny by any comparison, etc. But playing back an older song on its original media format offers deeper and more resonant sound. Tape hiss and the crackle of vinyl are part of the sound. The noise has been accounted for in the engineering process and put to its best uses.

      I still love recording Black Sabbath, Zepplin and even newer bands like the White Stripes and the Black Angels on cassette and listening to it in my car. The little deficiencies in the tapes ( crinkled up spots, the first few feet being stretched out, wowing, fluttering) all play an enjoyable part in my subconscious listening as well as the music itself.

      Stripped of background noise, every bit and byte maxed out for volume and way overproduced, digital music is a soulless shell.

    • MP3s sound lame to diehard audiophiles because they use lossy compression. There’s several types of audio format that use either no compression or lossless compression, like WAV or FLAC. The downside of course is that these types of files take up far more space than ones using lossy compression. I’ve got several FLAC files that I’ve made MP3 clones of for use on my Ipod, so I can compare the sizes. The MP3 version is around 3MB at 192kbps or thereabouts. The FLAC is 11MB, at 752kbps, and to my untrained ear doesn’t sound a lot different.

  2. I am, and have always been, a follower of vinyl. It gets more tempting to try some new music; when everything new is available digitally only, it sounds even worse to me.

    Wite-out isn’t necessarily obsolete, either. If you’re writing something by hand that needs to be presentable, which I’ve done recently, it’s still handy.

  3. Personally, i miss the days when there was only 4 tv channels.. Now we have THOUSANDS, and you can`t get free sport on normal telly anymore.. If Tyson had been around today, he`d have been on pay per view. The present Heavyweight champion is? I dunno..

  4. Snail mail is infinitely more secure than electronic mail. Not to mention that, if you live in hurricane land, you can lose power for days, and cell-towers get damaged, so your smart phone is pretty. Land-line is a very great need in times of trouble — and the mail is delivered within two days

  5. Cursive writing is beautiful. Love it and will always promote it to others. The fact it is no longer taught in school is part of the plan to “DUMB PEOPLE DOWN”.

    Read or Youtube Charlotte Iserbyt for the big picture.

  6. Retro gaming will never become obsolete either. I still buy and play nes, snes, genesis, N64, PS1, Dreamcast and then the newer stuff. Shoot, there are people still out there making brand new games for these systems. They are called “homebrews”. One that comes to mind is Battlekid on the nes. Check out retrozone.com for information on it. It’s hard to acquire since it’s done independently, but it’s soooooo freakin’ worth it. The game is crazy hard, old school, and nostalgic. Dang, and I just pre-ordered a new game coming out for the dreamcast as well. And it’s a shmup!

  7. This article is only accurate if you’re one of those “It’s new? I’m all over it!”-types who blindly gets into whatever is the latest tech even if it is unnecessary.

    How exactly is liquid paper going to be obsolete unless paper itself becomes obsolete?

    Oh how silly!

  8. Cursive isn’t taught often?
    Most US schools still teach it, It bites kids who didn’t pay attention in the ass during high school/middle school when the teacher suddenly requests an essay be written in cursive.

  9. Also one thing that will be on the list soon is cable television, we’re probably going to be getting TV via internet in the near future, if cable television is a thing of the past in 10 years I won’t be surprised.

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