Saturday, March 20, 2010

When Was the Last Time...?

We have become almost immune to the introduction  of new technology in our lives.  New cellphone?  Ho-hum.  New laptop?  So 90's.  New television?  Is it a flat-screen? 3D?  No?  How yesterday.  We may not pay much attention to when new technologies arrive in our lives, but I think we pay even less attention to when they disappear.

I was thinking about some of the technology that I used to take for granted but are now so very, very gone.  So here's a short list to prompt your thinking.  Make your own list for fun.

When was the last time you:

  1. Rolled down a window in your car with a crank?
  2. Used a rotary-dial telephone?
  3. Placed a call from a free-standing phone booth?
  4. Changed channels on a television by turning a clicking knob?
  5. Adjusted the picture quality on the tv by rotating the tv antenna?
  6. Played a newly-minted lp record on your turntable?
  7. Took the film from your camera to get snapshots developed?
  8. Replaced the muffler on your car?
  9. Had a car with a vinyl top?
  10. Put a floppy disk in your computer's drive?
My point is only that technologies often fade away quietly.  We don't miss them unless it is from some sense of nostalgia.  In fact, you can probably still do all of the things on the list but they are just no longer the norm.  

Part of what got me thinking about this was a post I saw on Mashable that had a post about ten gadgets with retro styling.  The one I liked the best was the USB drive that comes in an old cassette tape box, complete with the writable labels (just like the original).  Now, instead of putting together a bunch of songs on tape, you put them together on the USB drive.  Neat, but for this to seem cool you have to remember what a cassette tape was.  You do remember tapes... don't you?

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