The Huffington Post recently had a slideshow about 20 items that have become obsolete in the past decade. Here is my take on a few of them:
VCRs/VHS tapes – Okay, so I understand they’re not up to today’s technological standards, but I still have one VCR in the house. We mostly use it to watch kids’ tapes we borrow from the library. However, I will admit we still don’t have a DVR, or TiVo (do people still have that?) or whatever other methods are out there to record off of TV. So, if we need to record a show, our trusty ole VCR comes to the rescue. (That said, most shows we miss can be watched later via OnDemand.)
Bookstores – Well, this one hits close to home as I am a bookworm. (Read about my feelings on books versus e-books here.) Bookstores are just wonderful places. Steven’s and my favorite date is to peruse some bookstores – used and new! No, they are not obsolete. I hope they never become obsolete. However, Amazon is killing the local bookstore. It’s even starting to kill the big-name ones, too. I recently unsubscribed to my Borders weekly emails. They asked me to pick a reason, and I picked “I buy my books elsewhere.” I like Borders, but “elsewhere” is Amazon. I use Amazon because it’s prices are low, I get free shipping if I spend $25, they have pretty much any book you’re looking for, and I can find used books if I want also. In theory, this book-lover believes in supporting bookstores, and I do when I can. However, even I’ve been sucked into the Amazon trap.
Watches – Yes. Obsolete. Ask ten people what time it is and nine of them will pull their cell phones out. The problem is that as a teacher I don’t carry my cell phone around at all times, so I need a watch! Seriously. I better go buy one soon.
Paper maps – Sigh. I really like maps. I love looking at cool old maps. But I must agree. Who uses a paper map anymore? We have mapquest and googlemaps and gps. We used to plan trips with our hands. Unfolding the map. Tracing the route. Using a ruler to figure mileage. Writing down exit numbers. It was a tangible, tactile part of the anticipation of a trip. Now we just plan with our fingertips. Sigh.
Calling – This one made me laugh out loud (mostly because of the hilarious picture they have of an old guy talking on a huge 80s-looking mobile phone). I guess texting has become our primary means of phone communication! There are still some old-timers out there who don’t text – like my dad and my grandmother. They like to hear the sound of a loved one’s voice (as do I), and they don’t want to pay for texts! No, calling is not extinct, but much of America’s population is quite skilled at talking with their thumbs!
Encyclopedias – Agreed. Obsolete. Extinct. Collecting dust. I had a beautiful set of Britannicas growing up, which I used for school reports, but also to try to beat our Carmen Sandiego computer game! I don’t miss them too much, but the disadvantage of their un-use is today’s students don’t know how to look something up using alphabetical order, and they don’t know which internet sources are considered appropriate source documents.
Catalogs – Considering the huge amount of junk mail I acquire each year, I can personally attest that catalogs do exist in abundance and somehow find their way to me even when I do not subscribe – even when I move homes and don’t notify them!
Handwritten Letters – A thing of the past, sadly. I think receiving a handwritten letter from someone would be such a delight, a reminder of a time when people actually labored to write something, a time when writing was crisp smell of paper, ink staining the fingertips, and a licked envelope.
My favorite of the list: Forgetting. Really? The argument is that forgetting is impossible because of the wealth of information we have on the web. My argument: I’m pretty sure I lost brain cells with each pregnancy. I tend to forget something about 10 seconds after I’ve remembered it. Not things I can find on the web. Things like, What was I going to take to the office to photocopy? Or, Where did I put my daughter’s tooth after I played tooth fairy? Forgetting most definitely still exists. (Edit: for example, I forgot to title this post initially!)
To see the entire list of items, click here.