Monthly Archives: January 2013

In response to this feature on Mashable, here is my take on that list. Keep in mind that I’m too young to have known about many of the things that were supposedly replaced by modern technology.

1. Call theaters to get accurate movie times

I’m not much of a movie person, but if there was something I did want to see, I’d check my newspaper’s entertainment section. Can’t say I miss it, though, due to the convenience of being able to access the information online.

2. Visit a travel agent’s office to research vacations

I’m definitely too young to remember that, but I still sometimes go to travel agents to book flights.

3. Record your favorite programs using VHS recorder

I honestly didn’t know you could do that until well after VCRs became obsolete.

4. Dial directory assistance to find out someone’s number

Apparently, the phone exchange operator (the one that you connect to by dialing “0”) doesn’t help with that anymore. That sucks, but I didn’t use operator assistance much back when it was available anyway.

5. Use public telephones

I didn’t get a cell phone until freshman year of college. Before then, it had become frustrating for me to see payphones being taken down everywhere at such a rapid rate.

6. Book tickets for events using the phone

I don’t really book tickets for events much, but when I do, there’s a thing called the box office.

7. Print photographs

Don’t really see the point of this one, since a studio can do it fairly cheaply with much better results. The ink and paper (not to mention a decent printer) required cost a small fortune.

8. Put a classified ad in a store window

People don’t do that anymore? But what about the bulletin boards on bus shelters, telephone poles and community centers?

9. Call the 24-hour operator to get the exact time

Sounds really cool, but not something I would actually use.

10. Carry portable cassette or CD players

Never had one.

11. Handwritten letters

I’m kind of conflicted on this one. I think real letters are awesome. But while I love the concept of a real object making a journey over physical distance to its destination, I can’t help but appreciate the convenience of email. Also, my awful handwriting meant that I wasn’t much of a letter writer. I can still see myself typing out a letter, printing it and then mailing it, though.

12. Buy disposable cameras

I never really understood the point of this one, and still don’t. I’m pretty sure pocket cameras have been around for at least several decades now.

13. Take plenty of change for pay phones

See 5.

14. Make mix tapes

Not enough of a music aficionado to do this.

15. Pay bills at the post office

I thought that before the days of internet billing, you made pre-authorized payments for your bills?

16. Use an address book

I kept a few addresses in a document on my computer, but never used a physical book for it.

17. Check a map before or during a road trip or vacation

I love navigating with maps. GPS satnav devices are great for long stretches, but nothing beats a good old map for finding your way around a neighborhood. I try to avoid Google Maps if I can help it.

18. Reverse charges in payphones, collect calls

Never used it before. You can still make collect calls, can’t you?

19. Go into your bank to conduct your business

Depends on what kind of business. There are still things that I have to go to the bank to get done.

20. Buy TV listings

Again (see 1.), isn’t that what newspapers are for?

21. Own an encyclopedia

While I would love to, those things are just too expensive and bulky to be practical for a nomadic college student.

22. Renewing your car registration by visiting your DMV

Last time I checked, people still did that here.

23. Develop and send off film for photographs

While holding physical photographs is a pretty cool reward for your work, digital photos are just more convenient and cheaper in the long run, not to mention safer.

24. Read a hard copy of the Yellow Pages

I love phone books (White Pages more than Yellow) and still use them when I can. I just hope the author/artist/person who made that list didn’t mean reading one in its entirety.

25. Look up something in dictionary

As with encyclopedias, I really have no room in my stuff to carry around a full-fledged dictionary. I have the full edition of Webster’s unabridged dictionary on my phone, though, and use that instead of or other online dictionaries. I have to say, though, that one reason I really appreciate dictionary software is that I’m terrible at recalling alphabetical order.

26. Remember phone numbers

Funny story: of my two best friends in elementary school, I had no problem remembering one’s phone number (I still remember it, even though he changed it a while back) but could never remember the other’s (still can’t, even though it’s never changed). But overall, I’m pretty bad at memorizing phone numbers.

27. Watch videos, DVD and VCR

Not VCR, but I still pop in the occasional DVD when at (my family’s) home.

28. Have pen pals. Write letters

My entire sixth grade class was assigned pen pals from Italy. It was pretty cool, I’ll admit. I wouldn’t mind having one again.

29. Use a telephone book

See 24.

30. Use pagers

To this day, I still don’t quite understand what they were for or how they worked.

31. Fax documents

I’ve still had to do it occasionally.

32. Buy CDs/have a CD collection


33. Pay by paper check

Still plenty of uses for checks. I wouldn’t call them phased out yet.

34. Make a photo album

My family used to do that all the time. We still do that, just with digital photos.

35. Watch TV shows at the time they are shown

To me, this just feels better than watching a recording.

36. Warm drinks on the stove

Considering that the microwave oven’s been around since the 70s, I’d say I’m definitely young enough to have grown up with it.

37. Dial *69 to find out who called you last


38. Try on shoes at the mall

How else would you do it?

39. Hand wash clothes

Oh boy. This is getting into REALLY old-fashioned territory. However, since I don’t have enough clothes to warrant going to a laundromat when traveling, I do hand wash them.

40. Advertise in newspapers

This one’s far from dead.

41. Send love letters


42. Hand write essays and school work

I’m only three years removed from high school, but it never ceases to amaze me how much more technology they integrate now. Only three years ago, we had no course website, mark updates were posted on the classroom door or the back wall, and teachers didn’t use Facebook to communicate with students. Students most certainly did not submit assignments online. My awful handwriting once again means that I don’t really miss hand-writing assignments, but I could certainly do without the online classroom portals and stuff. High school is supposed to be a simple time in one’s life.

43. Buy flowers from a florist

…as opposed to what? I’ve never had to, so I don’t know.

44. Use a dictionary to find out how to spell something

I suck at alphabetical order (see 25.), so electronic dictionaries are a godsend to me.

45. Keep a personal diary

I do sometimes wish I could pour my heart out in a little notebook which nobody else could see, but overall I’m not much of a diary person.

46. Send post cards

I occasionally buy postcards as cheap souvenirs, but there are better ways of communicating with people back home now.

47. Buy newspapers

If I could motivate myself to actually take time to read them, I definitely would. I used to love reading the paper, but never get around to it anymore.

48. Hang out laundry to dry on clotheslines

I’m sure plenty of people still do this. Dryers aren’t exactly cheap to buy or maintain.

49. Keep printed bills or bank statements

Moving around as often as I do, I appreciate the convenience of online billing.

50. Visit yard sales and flea markets

I still try to take some time to browse around whenever I come across one, and sometimes when I’m free and feel like it, I actively seek out one around the neighborhood.

Most of these things really haven’t been replaced by modern technology, just made more accessible. A lot of them still exist in their original forms, albeit enhanced by modern technology, of course. The Internet, smartphones and other devices can potentially be very useful utilities, but sometimes the old-fashioned way just works best.